Crothers Woods - Beechwood Wetland

Slab City

City workers and local stewards call it "Slab City," a discarded collection of concrete and rebar scattered along two-hundred meters of land by the banks of the Don River in Cottonwood Flats. While the mass of rubble is thought to be the remnants of an old bridge, no one seems exactly certain where it came from, how it got here, or when. Consensus seems to be that it likely arrived between the early 1940s and early 1960s, when Cottonwood Flats played host to a commercial rock wool factory.

The slabs have always enjoyed a fair bit of popularity. In the not-so-distant past, they were a bit of a landmark for cruising activity in Toronto's gay community. More recently, sunbathers and playful kids have adopted them. The TRCA took the initiative to rearrange some of the slabs, and cut or remove any dangerous rebar they found poking out, for the sake of public safety.

There was some discussion of removing the debris in preparation for the excavation of a new wetland at the southern tip of Cottonwood Flats. But humans are not the only creatures who enjoy Slab City - the stones provide shelter, warrens and hibernacula for Eastern cottontails, gartersnakes, and a few species of butterflies - so the slabs will be left in place during wetland construction.

Posted on: June 19, 2015