DiManno: Body in barrel among grim discoveries this weekend

Toronto Marine Unit divers acting on information from Toronto homicide detectives located a steel barrel in the harbour with what they believe to contain a body encased in cement, just off of the new Sugar Beach east of Redpath's Sugar on Queen's Quay around noon on Sunday.

Body in a cement-filled drum found in Toronto harbour; two sets of human remains found in cottage country

As the boom on a Marine Police launch cranked up its winch, the rusty oil drum broke the surface of the grease-slicked water.

Girded with thick ropes and belts, the steel barrel hung suspended and dripping while a dive officer in his unzipped wet suit carefully maneouvred to place it on the boat’s stern platform. Open on one end, the drum appeared packed with gravel and sediment.

It could have been a scene from The Sopranos and certainly had the fingerprints of mob body disposal all over it, though homicide detectives refused to speculate on their gruesome discovery, lassoed up from some 20 feet down in the murk of Lake Ontario.

There were definitely human remains inside, as police later confirmed, after the haul was moved to the Marine detachment and from there transferred to the coroner’s office. The body is believed to be encased in cement.

The 45-gallon barrel was fished out from just alongside the retaining wall at the foot of Jarvis Street around 1 p.m., after police received specific information that kicked the search and retrieval operation into full throttle on a sun-dappled Sunday morning in the city. Cops knew exactly where to look.

Cyclists and promenaders enjoying the holiday weekend hardly cast a curious eye toward the odd activity along a stretch of the lake’s shoreline that will soon open to the public as Canada’s Sugar Beach, landscaping almost completed just east of the sickly-sweet smelling Redpath sugar refinery, long a waterfront industrial behemoth.

Two police divers had gone into the unpleasant water around 11 a.m., summoned for the job by Det. Justin Vander Heyden of the Toronto homicide unit. A high-speed police Zodiac boat bobbed nearby the Marine cruiser.

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