Opened in 1963 and closed in 1990, this iron mine stretched over 4,000 acres of land, and featured six open pits. The deepest of these pits was 600 ft. The largest pit was almost a mile in length.
This site was also the centre of heated debate when it was suggested that Toronto send its garbage as landfill in these excavated pits. Plans for this were already being drawn up as early as 1989, before the mine had even closed.
On April 2, 1991, the Minister of the Environment stated that the provincial government would not allow this to happen. In 1995, the project was formally rejected by the city of Toronto for financial and environmental reasons.
In 1996, the mine's owner tried again through the private sector, taking advantage of the easing of restrictions by the Harris government. On June 19, 1998, the Environmental Assessment Board approved the project.
An appeal was filed for judicial review, and was rejected in July, 1999, by the Divisional Court of Ontario, and in October, 1999, by the Court of Appeal for Ontario.
Toronto City Council approved the project on August 3, 2000, but in the face of enormous opposition, they voted it down in October, 2000.
Reading through the history of this site, one notes the emphasis placed on the landfill controversy. I can certainly understand this, as it appears that Mike Harris, our former Premier, certainly did everything in his power to make the deal happen, benefiting his friends and co-workers if not also himself.
But putting all of that aside, as I walked through the various rooms of the main building, especially where the men stored their gear and cleaned up to go home, you don't see a failed landfill. You see a place where many earned their living, working hard to support their families.
This is a really fascinating site to visit, and plan to spend at least a few hours looking around.