A walk along the Don River.

The Don Valley Brick Works (or Evergreen Brickworks) is an old clay quarry and brick factory that operated between 1889 and 1984.  Today the site consists of 16 heritage buildings and an adjacent 16-hectare public park known as Weston Family Quarry Garden that includes wetlands, hiking trails, and wildflower meadows.

below: Interior of the kiln building.  Some of the kilns have been removed to create a larger open area and year round event space.

large ceiling pipes, exhaust system for old brickworks kilns, some of the old kilns as well

below: anser faces on the exterior yellow brick wall.

yellow brick wall with two large blue anser faces on it, as well as part of the word Toronto in yellow bricks

below: The Brickworks “living map” of Toronto is looking very healthy.  It is “Watershed Consciousness” by Ferruccio Sardella and it depicts the rivers and ravines in the city.    Some of the greens are looking a little tall (like they don’t belong there? a few strays?).

a pink chair and a yellow chair sit in front of a sculpture that is a metal relief map of Toronto, green plants grow in the areas of the map that are ravines and green spaces in the city

below: Bullrushes growing in the wetland area around the pond.

narrow brown bullrushes growing amongst the reeds in the wetlands at brickworks

below:  Ideas!  I’ve been meaning to find the end of this bridge and walk at least part of it – if I do, I’ll let you know!  It’s the bridge that you see beside the Brickworks.  It was built in 1928 and is 335m long.   It is part of the Don Branch of the CPR and it ran from Leaside Junction to the downtown core until the line was closed in 2007.

two people walk across an unused railway bridge

After a short visit at the Brickworks, including a quick bite to eat at the Farmers Market, we headed south.  The first part of the walk was back along Bayview to Pottery Road since Brickworks is on the west side of the Don River and the trail is on the east side.  I didn’t take any pictures – walking along a major road that doesn’t have a sidewalk needs all of your attention.   There is a bike path that parallels Bayview on the east side but getting to it was either a long detour or a dash across the road and over a barrier.   We made the decision to stay on the west side and cross with the lights at Pottery Road.

below: Although the path is through the ravine and it runs beside the Don River, it also runs adjacent to the Don Valley Parkway.  There are only a few places on the trail where you can see the highway but there is a constant rumbling noise from the cars passing by.

cyclist on a path, riding away from the camera, fence to the left of him/her, green signs on the Don Valley Parkway to the far left. exit sign for Bayview and Bloor.

below: This is the same railway line as the bridge shown above but farther down the valley.  A very makeshift bike crossing.

two cyclists walk their bikes across loose pieces of plywood over unused railway tracks

below: Standing at the same spot as the above photo, but turned around 180 degrees… You can see how overgrown the old tracks are.

looking along an abandoned railway line, overgrown tracks, trees on either side, apartment buildings far away in the distance

below: Two different railway lines run down the Don River Valley.   The line shown here, the CN Bala subdivision line,  is very active including use by GO trains that service the Oriole, Richmond Hill, and Newmarket route.   The Bala subdivision tracks continue all the way to Sudbury.

a cyclist walks his bike over a gravel travel under a bridge that has just been renovated, another bike rider is dismounting

below: A quiet spot by the abandoned tracks.

an old rusted side of a railway trestle bridge, lots of greenery from the trees growing around it, a man is standing at one end of the bridge, unused tracks
below: There are a few spots along the trail where there was damage from the high water levels in the spring.  Most if the problems are with the banks od the river.  The trail itself is in good shape.

an orange plastic fence runs between wooden stakes, danger, marking the parts of a riverside trail that got washed away or damaged in high water in the spring

below: Kayaking on the river.

a yellow kayak with two people in it passes under an old railway bridge that has graffiti on it. Don River

below: Keeping an eye on the water level.

surveillance camera on a tall pole, aimed at rulers and markers on the far side of a river, keeping an eye on the water level

cyclists on a path through the trees, a bridge support is beside the path

a big white happy face graffiti on a bridge support

below: Does anyone know what the 6 drum shaped things are?

two boys ride bikes past the Mill Street Junction hydro station, fenced in area with danger signs,

below: Standing on the old metal bridge across the Don River at Eastern Avenue, looking south.  When the Don Valley Parkway was built, it cut through Eastern Avenue.  Eastern was rerouted, swinging north a bit before crossing over the DVP and splitting into Richmond, Adelaide, and Eastern. (depending in which direction you’re travelling).   If you stand on the bridge and look directly east, there is still a road there that dead ends at the highway.  It is now Sunlight Park Road and it is provides access to the BMW dealership that you can see as you drive past on the DVP.

metal work of the side of a bridge frames the view of a river and trees and city buildings, Don River, abandoned bridge

I couldn’t see any park in that area so I decided that if there is a Sunlight Park it’s teensy tiny.  Luckily I didn’t stop there – I did some research and discovered that Sunlight Park was actually the first baseball stadium built in Toronto.   It was built in 1886 and was first known as the Toronto Baseball Grounds – four storeys, wood, and the home of the Toronto baseball team from 1886 to 1897.   And where is Sunlight in all this?  The stadium became known as Sunlight Park after the Sunlight Soap factory that was built by the Lever Brothers in 1900/01 in the same area.   The stadium was demolished in 1913.

below: The building in the background was the Lever Brothers (the Unilever) soap factory.  There is now a sign on the building that says firstgulf.com – they are the development company that owns the site.  NOW magazine published an interesting story about the building as it looks at the moment (with lots of great pictures!).  The path through the striped underpass joins the Don River Trail to Corktown Commons.

two men walk through a park towards an underpass under a railway track, factory in the background.

 Stay safe.  Protect the plants (and the humans!)

altered sign. Instead of saying Protect the Plants it now says Protect the humans.

Comments
  1. icelandpenny says:

    Boy the plants in the Evergreen watershed map have really grown — fascinating to see the map’s plant evolution year over year.

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