Toronto Basement Waterproofing Company Finds Privy Pits Loaded With Antique Glass Bottles

When downtown Toronto was growing up in the late 1800s, the engineers buried all the little creeks and streams that used to course across the land.  They just filled them in with whatever was handy, and quite often that was garbage – two dozen wagon loads of smelly household trash could be easily diverted from regular pickup to fill a ravine and plug up a creek on the outskirts of town. Finding those plugs is what keeps Dumpdiggers awake at night…

I did a story on a Lost Creek in Toronto and showed how property developers removed rusty metal and glass from the bottom of their excavation at King and St. Lawrence, and how they unlocked a small stream that soon made a large pond on the bottom of the pit. The condo building that exists there today has installed permanent pumps to drain the water away from the north wall and into the storm sewers on the south side of the property.

To the right is a detail from P.A. Gross’ Lithographic Bird’s Eye View
of Toronto (1876), showing Garrison Creek a decade before it was buried
by urban developers. 

Garrison Creek is a famous example of a water system that was forced underground, and you can see here on Vanishing Point Garrison Creek history website that it runs inside a brick lined sewer tunnel under or near the basements of hundreds of homes and under two dozen streets, all the way from its origins near Lawrence and Weston Rd, down old Keele, down through the College and Dufferin area, all the way down to Lake Ontario.

Basement Waterproofing Contractors Thrive in Toronto’s Garrison Creek Flood Plane

The water flow in the city is much different now than it was when creeks were on the surface of the land. Today the autumn rain and melting snow in the spring seems to find little pockets of houses where it floods basements. A reputable basement waterproofing contractor in Toronto can make a killing in the Garrison Creek flood plane.
 
Right up until the 1970s Canadian home builders really didn’t have the technology or available products to offer a cost effective basement waterproofing solution. The best  home builders did some ‘damp proofing’, and Victorian era landscape architects are famous for making drainage contours and berms to avert a flash flood water courses, but basement waterproofing was heretofore unknown.

Today the accepted practice is to dig trenches and drain the excess moisture away from the cement walls from the outside using specially perforated plastic pipe that has capacity to rapidly drain the water from soil.

The basement waterproofing contractor has a hard job that is filled with back breaking labour, because he or she is usually digging so close to the walls of the structure the work really cannot be mechanized to any great extent. However this discomfort is quite often remedied by numerous discoveries of coins and small bottles and many other valuable things that accumulate near walls over the years.

Coins are commonly found when digging foundation walls at the sides of houses and barns. That’s because the wall has been there for a long time and it has always been handy for leaning against or even sitting up against in any season, and inverted pockets dump coins. Ask any archeologists and they will tell you that they find coins on both sides of any wall with equal frequency.

Bottles are uncovered in privy pits dug below latrines which once existed up against the side of the house. Before there was indoor plumbing, whole families used outdoor facilities and these holes were also the most commonly used trash receptacle for nonburnable refuse like old bottles, broken stoneware crocks, porcelain dolls, tools and dead pets.

Here’s the excavation team showing off their best finds to the homeowner – they were uncovering bottles that were discarded over a hundred years ago.

These guys don’t know they’re digging out a pioneer family’s privy pits, but not that it matters much, as that was over a hundred years ago and the chemical structure of the soil around the bottles has changed as much as the structures on top of the land above.

Post by on Mar 18, 2013

Herb Atkinson plans for Antiques Fair in April

Herb Atkinson manages a not-so-busy antiques store at Queen and Roncesvalles in Toronto, Ont Canada. Sedate Antiques at 1703 Queen St. West specializes in vintage kitchen and bathroom fixtures. The store is stuffed full of bargains, and only lacks customers. But Herb doesn’t care – that’s because he’s really an interior designer, and the antiques store is just a cover, a place to ‘store’ all his junk. Yesterday Dumpdiggers learned that Mr. Atkinson will be heading south to Chicago on 25-28 April 2008 to attend The Merchandise Mart International Antiques Fair™ . This is surprising, because that place/event is huge.
Dumpdiggers asked ‘Why would you shop for bargains there?’ To which Herb replied ‘For me the trip is not about securing merchandise, it’s about gaining wisdom.’ and Herb is already a wise old man. He says, ‘Antique objects are rare and beautiful, but they should be functional too – even when they do nothing.’ Known as the premier antiques fair in the Midwest, the Merchandise Mart International Antiques Fair provides collectors, designers and the general public an intimate environment to see a broad range of antiques. This is the kind of place where experts conduct seminars and dispense their wisdom to thousands of eager listeners. One hundred and thirty antiques and fine art dealers will display the finest in 20th Century Design – Barometers, Ceramics, Coins, Decorative Arts, Folk Art, Furniture, Glass, Jewelry, Paintings, Posters, Prints, Rare Books and Maps, Sculpture, Silver, Textiles, and even Tribal Art will be displayed. This year’s event will also feature the return of dealers from the famed Marche aux Puces in Paris and members of LAPADA, Britain’s hallmark of quality antiques dealers.