Toronto Islands residents reach 'tipping point' as flooding continues

While most who live on Toronto’s flooding Islands are not ready to bail just yet, one feathery fellow resident has already flown the coop.


This peacock saw the water levels and high-tailed it out of there.

“He took off from the farm on Centre Island and everybody has been looking for him,” islander Michelle Cliffe said on Thursday. “I just came home from sandbagging and there he was, sitting on my house.”

“We have nicknamed him Poseidon the Peacock,” Cliffe said.

He and all the other islanders are having quite an adventure.

Just how high is the water over there?

“It’s more than a foot high and rising” at the Queen City Yacht Club, Cliffe said.

Some areas have no water and the flowers are blooming. Other areas? Water up at people’s knees, says Cliffe, a Ward’s Island resident and owner of A Good Fork, which organizers weddings and other events in spots were you now need a canoe to get to.

She’s in the process of moving her business operation to the mainland as she and her clients frantically try to sort out just what in the heck to do.

“Please be patient as we navigate these waters!” she said in an email to clients.

The problem over on Ward’s, Algonquin and even Centre Island is, it changes by the hour. On Thursday as the rain fell, more and more sidewalks turned into rivers and more and more pools turned into mini lakes.

“Who knows what it’s going to look like on the weekend, with all the rain coming into the lake from the rivers and creeks,” she said.

It’s a minute-by-minute situation. Just when they get some water pumped out of areas that are flooding crawl spaces, a wind will come up and move more water in.

Just when they get a sandbag wall fortified, the water finds a way over it.

“We are at a tipping point,” Cliffe said.

Everybody knows the gritty islanders are never going to want to leave their beloved village away from it all because of some water surrounding them. Heck, that’s why they are there in the first place.

But there’s more water than usual. And more coming.

With that in mind, the question that needs to be asked is at what point does the city have to say ‘sorry, but it’s time to evacuate?’”

So far, the city is saying as long as the electrical, water, sewer and emergency services systems hold up and homes are not floating away, everything remains status quo.

“Some island roads have been flooded, however, emergency services are still able to operate effectively; they are monitoring conditions closely,” said City of Toronto spokesperson Wynna Brown.

I was wondering, is there a danger or possibility people could get electrocuted due to the deteriorating situation there?

Said Brown: “With respect to hydro, there are no reported customer impacts - we are advised Hydro is monitoring their infrastructure closely.”

If there is ever a risk to residents, you can be sure that’s when they will pull the plug.

From his pen over on Centre Island, Poseidon the Peacock already has.

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