Leslie Street Spit

Leslie Street Spit

Leslie Street Spit

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The Leslie Street Spit, or officially the Outer Harbour East Headland, is a man-made headland in Toronto, Ontario, extending from the city's east end in a roughly southwesterly direction into Lake Ontario. It is about 5 km long.

Its common name is technically incorrect, since it is not truly a spit, but Torontonians almost never use the official name. The road running along the peninsula is a southern extension of Leslie Street, hence the popular nickname.

Construction and evolution

The former Toronto Harbour Commission (THC)(known as the Toronto Port Authority since 1999) began construction of the peninsula in the late 1950s. Its originally foreseen purpose was to provide a breakwater for Toronto's Outer Harbour, which itself was expected to be necessary to handle the increase in shipping on the Great Lakes after the Saint Lawrence Seaway opened in 1959. However, owing to the containerization revolution of the 1960s, the need for an outer harbour never arose, and all cargo ships calling at Toronto still use the Inner Harbour, while the Outer Harbour sees only pleasure boat traffic.

The need for the headland, however, did not disappear. In the 1960s and 1970s, development in Toronto proceeded rapidly, and the Leslie Street Spit was a convenient place to dump the endless supply of rubble and earth generated by all the building projects in the city. Originally a long, slender finger of bare land stretching out into the lake, the headland eventually developed several...
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