‘Pothole protest’: Tomato garden planted in neglected Toronto sinkhole

Click to play video: 'Tomato garden planted in sinkhole that has been plaguing residents' Tomato garden planted in sinkhole that has been plaguing residents
WATCH: It’s unclear if it was a form of protest or not, but someone decided to grow some vegetables in a large sinkhole in the middle of a Toronto street and now it’s getting all sorts of attention. Kamil Karamali reports – Aug 16, 2018

Call it what you want: vegetation frustration, a plant-based protest, or a sinkhole salad; but a tomato garden growing in a large concrete cavity in the middle of the road at Poplar Plains Crescent is getting a lot of attention.

And residents say it’s about time.

“The sinkhole has been here for many months,” said Samantha Steeves, who lives along the same street.

“The city has kind of neglected it and now someone has taken advantage and did something good with it.”

People who live in the area said the sinkhole has been plaguing residents since late last year when it was just a small pothole. Residents said City of Toronto staff visited the area to assess the hole and told them it was caused by a water-main break.

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“[The hole] had been growing slowly and steadily over that time,” said Dan Mousseau, who cycles along Poplar Plain Crescent almost daily. “It was just weeds that were growing in it for at least a couple of months.”

With only enough room left for one car to pass through at a time, the sinkhole has also become an issue for pedestrians.

READ MORE: Frustrated Toronto homeowner wants sinkhole fixed after weeks of calling 311

“It’s hard because you have to walk all the way around and then you’re walking into traffic,” said neighborhood resident Taylor Peterson.

Then, all of a sudden, people started noticing a different kind of greenery growing in the pothole and it didn’t look like weeds.

“This is the first time I’ve seen the tomatoes, which is pretty impressive,” said Mousseau.

“They’ve got to the point where the steel wiring is necessary now which is pretty funny.”

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Garden wire encompasses a few of the smaller tomatoes while a couple of the vegetables are almost fully grown. Cherry tomatoes also are growing in abundance in what has now unofficially become dubbed the ‘sinkhole garden.’

“I think the community is really embracing our sinkhole,” said Mousseau.

“It’s like a real garden. Someone is really investing their time in this, like ‘it’s going to stay, so I have to make it pretty.'”

But others are hoping the vegetation will draw the attention of the City of Toronto. City workers were already spotted putting up yellow tape and construction barrels around the sinkhole, residents said.

In a statement to Global News the City of Toronto said they first investigated the hole as a water-main break.

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“The City first investigated a possible water-main break at this location and determined there was no evidence of a leak,” the statement said.

There was no sinkhole at the time and the area that was excavated was back-filled with stone pending further investigation. The sinkhole has developed since the original investigation. Toronto Staff will return to this site to investigate the case further and prepare for temporary restoration if appropriate,” it continued.

READ MORE: Sinkhole opens up near Don Mills Road and Highway 401

The City didn’t specify when it would return to the site to investigate further or when it would attempt to fix the issue.

But now, some residents have grown attached to the garden and are hoping crews hold off before filling in the hole.

“We’re waiting for [the tomatoes] to turn red,” said Steeves.
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“They’re just starting to flourish,” added Mousseau.

“I’ll have to pick the tomatoes when they’re good and see if anyone will spot me.”

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