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Rosie DiManno: Amid the marshy mess, the Islanders, a hardy lot, soldier on

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31.05.2019

Ducks flapping their wings to rise vertically out of the water, joyful-like, then diving and submerging, ass-up.

Birdsong.

Fish swimming across what was pebble-covered road just a few days ago.

Idyllic, really, the Toronto Islands, even when sodden.

Maybe especially when drenched to the gills, metre-high in some places, water spilling over the berms, the gigantic sandbags, the bladder aqua damn — a thick rubber tube snaking along the embankment.

A gentle gust of wind rippling the lake sends water sloshing down pathways, cresting mini levees, slapdash bulwarks, turning grassy expanses into lagoons and bayous.

Heavy winds had been forecast for overnight.

It is urgent.

Lake Ontario rose Thursday to its highest recorded levels: 76.03 metres above sea level.

This is higher even than the peak 75.93 recorded in the storm summer of 2017, which left sections of the Islands awash and closed off for months.

Local Councillor Joe Cressy Councilor put out a chicken-little bulletin mid-afternoon, tying nature’s wrath on the Islands to an accelerating “climate crisis,” which may or may not be true. He certainly doesn’t know it for a fact.

But Cressy, all the time, has his hair on fire.

Maybe because I covered the wreckage of Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Rita and love the misty grey fug that envelops Venice during aqua alta winter months, but I don’t share the current hysteria, wrung for all its worth.

Neither, from what I saw yesterday, do the imperturbable residents of Ward’s and Algonquin Islands, as they continued to stroll and walk their dogs and cycle and bird-watch and take tea on the porch of their pretty flower-bedecked cottages, having done the best they can, with a huge helping hand from the city, to organize for the alarmist worst. Volunteer groups and parks employees have battened down the Islands with 24,000 sand bags, while 30 generator-powered pumps belch out excess water, redirecting it towards the lake.

Water in.

Water out.

All of a frenetic piece to........

© Toronto Star