Saturday, August 22, 2015

Quicksand under Keele Street?

Photos by Barry Wallace
Last week I ran some photos in this space of the old King City Garage, on the west side of Keele Street just south of the King Road, being demolished.   The demolition involved taking down the building and excavating the foundation.   One King City good ol' boy commented to me: "it would be interesting to see what they found down there?" I assumed he was referring to old oil and lubrication and chemical materials.   When  I sought clarification, he replied that there was an underground stream under the old garage and under Keele Street, as well as the Anglican Church on the east side of the street.   I wasn't surprised.   After all, King City was once called Springhill, and for good reason.   Land in and about King City has always had wet spots, many of which ultimately drained northward before trickling into the East Humber River.   In the book which All Saints' Anglican Church published in 1982, on the 125th anniversary of the church, mention of 'quicksand' is mentioned, as follows: "William Bennett was the architect chosen to draw up the blueprints for the new church.   An estimate of $190,950, excluding the cost of furniture and organ, was arrived at by William Stephenson and Sons Ltd., the general contractor.   However, a totally unexpected snag arose.   When excavation began ... a spongelike subsoil comparable to quicksand was discovered.   This necessitated additional reinforcing work which upped the estimate to over $205,000".   Presumably, a drainage of some sort was created to deal with the 'quicksand'   The cornerstone of the new church was laid on November 22, 1959.   Now, after almost 56 years, the 'spongelike subsoil' is being described as a stream under the church, the road, and the old garage.   Has last week's excavation revealed an old stream?   It seems not.   I spoke with all three workers on the site, the excavator and two assistants.   None of them had seen water during the excavation.   But one suggested there could be water a little further down. For now, it's the end of the story.   What is to be constructed on the site is a new chapter however.   We shall see what we shall see.

   Please comment if you wish.
 Barry Wallace

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