Queen’s Wharf Wood

The Queen’s Wharf is the third and largest of the military-built wharves. It offered many uses, including connection to the railways. As a result, it was a busy industrial dock used by tall ships, schooners, and steamers. In fact, it connected the flow of goods from the Great Lakes waterways to the railways of the Toronto, Grey, and Bruce. It is a symbol of the naval importance of Fort York and New Fort. Furthermore, it was a symbol of importance of controlling access to Toronto Harbour.

Construction and unburying of the Queen's Wharf in Toronto.
Construction and unburying in Toronto

This wharf, constructed in 1833, was the eighth to be constructed on the original city’s shoreline, and the third wharf built by the military. Its name in history varies from “The New Wharf”, to “The King’s Wharf”, and finally “The Queen’s Wharf”. The pier measured 12 feet wide and 42 feet long, extending out into water 15 feet in depth. At that time, the shoreline was weedy and muddy. The Garrison Creek, which ran along the east side of the old fort, emptied into the lake on the east side of the pier. Then, it was extended in 1837. By the 1870s, it had been substantially enlarged and a wide platform had been increased at the south, or lake, side.

Toronto Harbour Commission decided to begin closing the Western Gap of the harbour. As a result, the Wharf was buried in 1917. That year, infilling of the majority of the shoreline began in this area. Additionally, the old lighthouse, built in 1855, was relocated. It is now marooned on a boulevard amidst a tangle of fast-moving city traffic.

Present Day…

In the summer of 2006, construction crews at the foot of Toronto’s Bathurst Street unearthed a significant part of Toronto’s early waterfront. An immense interlocking pier was revealed while digging the base of the Malibu Condo Project. This discovery hints at Toronto’s original waterfront; they had unearthed the original Queen’s Wharf.

Wood timbers reclaimed from this wharf have unique textures and deeper colour tones, generated over the years on the waterfront followed by years buried in Toronto soil.  The wood found in the wharf include elm, pine and hemlock. Antique wood flooring made from these wharf woods produce unique floors that whisper their history.

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