Living in a Flood Vulnerable Area: Oak Ridges

Use the information on this page to help you understand and prepare for flooding if you live near Lake Wilcox in Richmond Hill.


The Lake Wilcox neighbourhood is located within the community of Oak Ridges in the Town of Richmond Hill.

A portion of the community, extending from Lake Wilcox in the East to Humber River at Bathurst Street the west, lies in the floodplain and is in a Flood Vulnerable Area.

Do You Live in an Area at Risk of Riverine Flooding?


If you’re not sure whether your home is in a floodplain, use TRCA’s map viewer to find out. Just enter your address in the search bar. If your home lies within the shaded areas, you could be at risk of flooding.

Oak Ridges floodplain map

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Understanding Flood Risk in Oak Ridges


Flood Vulnerable Cluster: An area within the floodplain with a high concentration of buildings and roads that could be impacted by riverine flooding.

Special Policy Area (SPA): An area within a community that has historically existed in the floodplain and where site-specific Provincial policies are intended to provide for the continued viability of existing uses.

The Oak Ridges cluster is subject to flooding because the East Humber River is not fully able to carry all flows through the openings of culverts and bridges.

The height of the shoreline around the Lake Wilcox also plays a major part in the risk of flooding. During high lake levels, water will also spill out of the lake by a lower-lying area, around the north shore.

The Oak Ridges cluster is part of the Special Policy Area, or SPA (see SPA definition above) and includes areas that flood from the river.

Learn more from TRCA about flood risk in general HERE.
Learn more about TRCA’s flood control infrastructure HERE.

What Types of Flooding* Can Affect Residents?

  1. Riverine flooding, which occurs when the water levels of rivers rise, overflowing their banks. Reducing riverine flood risk is under the mandate of Conservation Authorities like Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA).
  2. Urban or pluvial flooding consists of street flooding, basement flooding and flooding of other low-lying areas due to the overflow of local drainage systems. Municipalities are responsible for managing this type of flooding.

*Did you know that there are several types of flooding? Different levels of government are responsible for different types of flooding. To find out who to contact during a flood, see BE PREPARED.

Flooding Can Happen at Any Time of Year

winter icon WINTER: Ice jams have historically occurred due to blocked culverts in the vicinity of Lake Wilcox ending at King Road, west of Yonge Street.
spring icon SPRING: The East Humber River can experience high flows in the spring as the winter snowpack melts.
summer icon SUMMER: Though typically more of an issue for smaller creeks and urban flooding, summer thunderstorms can raise water levels quickly.
fall icon FALL: Hurricane remnants (like Hurricane Hazel in 1954) can bring large amounts of rainfall to our river systems.

How Will I Know If Flooding Is Forecasted?

  • TRCA Operates a Flood Forecasting and Warning Program. If flooding is possible or about to occur, TRCA issues flood messages to designated individuals within municipalities, local agencies, school boards, the media, and members of the public who self-subscribe. LEARN MORE

Floods Happen graphics

  • TRCA maintains a network of river and rainfall gauges. You can get real-time gauging information HERE.



When it comes to flood preparedness, everyone — homeowners, landlords, renters, and condo owners — has a role to play. You can take steps to prepare; just select a category below to find out more.

Get more preparedness tips from TRCA HERE.


Use the following sources to stay informed during a flood:

• Check your local weather online, radio or television before you leave the house
• Check Environment Canada’s public weather alerts
• Sign up to receive TRCA flood messages
• Check your local municipal and public transit social media links (below).

Social Media Alerts and Notices

• TRCA Flood Risk Management
• City of Richmond Hill    
• York Region
• York Region Transit
• GO Transit

Additional Resources

Emergency Management Ontario
• Ontario’s Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act: Disaster Recovery Assistance for Ontarians
• Public Safety Canada: Flood ReadyTips for overland flooding and first steps to prepare your home
Flood Smart CanadaCreated in partnership with the Insurance Bureau of Canada, this resource is designed to help Canadians better prepare for flooding.
• Intact Centre on Climate Adaptation: Flood Protection Resources
• Electrical Safety Authority:
Flood Safety Information

Information About Flood Insurance