What happens to the rubble from such large-scale demolitions as Regent Park? —Robin Tully, Yorkville
Toronto has a long and dishonourable tradition of dumping stuff into Lake Ontario. The waterfront was once at Front Street, until a century’s worth of landfill pushed it to its current position. Further east, subsoil, bedrock and rubble from Toronto’s growth spurt in the ’60s and ’70s—when the Bloor-Danforth subway was built and the downtown skyscrapers first rose—created the Leslie Street Spit. But dumping is so 20th century. The first part of the Regent Park demolition adhered to the LEED program (that’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), meaning the Toronto Community Housing Corporation stripped the buildings of anything that might be of value—from filing cabinets to windows to doorknobs—before demolition got under way. The detritus was carefully sorted: appliances were either sold for refurbishment or scrap; bricks were crushed for use as road beds and concrete blocks made into waterfront breakwaters; steel beams were sent to scrappers and wood was mulched into compost and animal bedding. What little asbestos there was went to hazardous waste facilities. In the end, more than 90 per cent of the buildings was reused.