Johns-Mansville before 1992

The Johns-Manville plant used to be located west of Port Union Rd. south of Lawrence.

In May 1948, big industry came to Port Union on the historic Dixon farm land. For a relatively poor township, this was good news at the time. The company employed 350 people and created much needed tax dollars. When people complained of the linseed oil smell from the rock wool manufacturing process, a new 200 foot poured concrete smoke stack was built in 1949 to replace the 50 foot metal one. At the time, environment protection was a concern to Johns-Manville. The one million gallons of water used daily in manufacturing was returned to the lake purer than when they took it in. What Johns-Manville did was environmentally acceptable and within the limits of the legislation at the time they conducted their operations. They also exceeded government standards due to sophisticated emission and dust control procedures.

In the 1960’s, Johns-Manville manufactured and stored transite pipe was at this facility.  Transite is the name trademarked by Johns-Manville and was the only manufacturer who could use the term. 

Transite Pipe is made with asbestos and concrete and is commonly used as water main pipe. Many industrial complexes and city sewer systems have this pipe to this day. The transite pipe plant was the first of its kind in Canada and the facility held seven transite pipe production plants. Over 600,000 miles of transite pipe was installed in the 1960s with much of it having been made at the Port Union Johns-Manville pipe plant. The pipe plant continued to operate until  Johns-Manville declared bankruptcy in 1982.

The Johns-Manville Port Union plant site was also used as an asbestos disposal site when the company built a dike system into the wetlands at the mouth of Highland Creek where it meets Centennial Creek. Former Johns-Manville employees have reported using bulldozers to push pipe fragments and other asbestos debris into Lake Ontario when the asbestos disposal site was full. The Ministry of the Environment approved, as part of the decommissioning plan related to this site, that all remaining asbestos waste would be placed in the settling ponds and capped with clay. The site has been designated as a waste disposal site.

John Dempsey, CCRA President and representing Centennial residents addressed City of Toronto council. He requested identification of a process that is private and/or public that will ensure the early and safe demolition of the existing industrial building on the Manson property located on Port Union Road and Lawrence Avenue East in Scarborough, and also to address the issues of site remediation and future land use.

The CCRA monitored the cleanup of asbestos waste on the Johns-Manville site which is now considered remediated. It is now a residential community called Port Union Village.