Now and Then: Don River at Queen Street

The Don River is a defining part of our neighbourhoods and our history. It separates the east end from the rest of the city, and was an obstacle for the early city builders to overcome. In the late 1800s the lower Don was channeled and straightened in an attempt to allow large boats to navigate the river and support the growing industry along the river. Crossings were built at Queen, Dundas, Gerrard and eventually the Prince Edward Viaduct in 1918 allowing the eastern neighbourhoods to flourish. The Don Valley Parkway was built alongside the river in the 50s. Now the Don is one of Canada’s most urban watersheds.

The rains and resulting flooding last night reminded us that we can never fully control nature. Below are some photos looking at the same section of the Don river, north of Queen Street, in 1918, 1979 and earlier this year.

Don River flooding in 1918

Don River flooding in 1918

Don River north of Queen Street, 1979

Don River north of Queen Street, 1979

Don River north of Queen Street, 2014

Don River north of Queen Street, early spring 2014