Toronto beach floods threaten 2 historic landmarks

Storms have pushed waves higher onto Ashbridges Bay Beach and Woodbine Beach than the city has seen in decades. Now crews are working to make sure the high water can't reach nearby homes and buildings.

97-year-old Leuty Lifeguard Station and famed boardwalk threatened by high water

The city was forced to take quick action after water levels came dangerously close to the historic Leuty Lifeguard Station and nearby infrastructure, such as homes and the famous boardwalk. (John Badcock/CBC)

Crews are working Wednesday to save two east Toronto landmarks after a series of intense rain storms forced waves "further on to Woodbine Beach and Ashbridges Bay than we have seen in decades," according to Toronto Parks, Forestry and Recreation.

The rising water levels are threatening the 97-year-old Leuty Lifeguard Station, a beloved but aging darling of the The Beach neighbourhood, as well as the three-kilometre boardwalk that runs from Woodbine Beach to Balmy Beach.

The floodwater has also covered about a third of the volleyball courts and the beaches as well, says Matthew Cutler, a spokesman for Parks, Forestry and Recreation. 

In an effort to ensure the short-term safety of the lifeguard station and boardwalk, city staff and the Toronto and Region Conversation Authority are using heavy equipment to build sand berms and to install armour stones, piles of large rocks that protect against wave action and prevent erosion.

Leuty Lifeguard Station was constructed in the 1920s and has heritage status. Crews worked urgently on Wednesday to prevent it from heavy wave action. (John Badcock/CBC)

Cutler said that the current floods are the most intense in the last half century, but that the city is "constantly monitoring and adapting to manage the waterfront."

"Our shorelines are complex natural ecological systems that evolve and change over time," he adds. "Break walls, dredging, and strategic planting all play a role in minimizing drastic changes in the shoreline."

Officials have asked the public to avoid closed areas of the beach.