Archive for the ‘nature’ Category

…at the Forks of the Don

If you’ve driven on the Don Valley Parkway you’ve probably seen them, the big grey structures that look like teeth.  They are just south of Don Mills Road, on both sides of the DVP.  Over the years, the trees and shrubs have been growing around them so they don’t stand out as much as they did when they were first installed in 1998.

below: On the west side of the Parkway

an old and rusted city street sign, maximum 30 km/h begins, with elevated wetlands sculptures behind

The structures were designed by Noel Harding (1945-2016) and are constructed out of recycled polystyrene and acrylic. Financing was provided by a group from the Canadian Plastics Industry Association.

large concrete containers, planters, on a small hill with small trees, winter,

Their purpose is to help purify polluted water from the Don River watershed.

below: On the west side, the third planter stands alone, looking a bit like the back end of an elephant.

large grey planter for wetlands water purification, looks like the back end of an elephant, with four stumpy legs

large container on right with spout to concrete planter on the left, in the background, seen between the two concrete planters, an old cement bridge and a highrise apartment in the distance

below: The three concrete structures form a line on the east side of the DVP.

looking across traffic on the Don Valley Parkway to the other set of elevated wetlands sculptures

They can be accessed by following the trail that goes under the highway and follows Taylor Massey Creek.  If you follow this route, you end up walking generally east and you can walk for miles through the ravine system that runs under O’Connor Drive, through Taylor Creek Park and on to Warden Woods Park.

roadway curves to the right and passes under the Don Valley Parkway, traffic crossing over the bridge, winter time, snow on the ground, Forks of the Don where Taylor Massey Creek joins the Don River

Forks of the Don – where rivers come together, trails go in all directions, and even the railway passes through.

below: Stairs up to Don Mills Road and Gateway Blvd,

stairs leading up, to an apartment building, trees, winter

below: Or take the ramp that passes under Don Mills Road beside the tracks.

blue sign on a concrete pillar that says Don Mills Road, beside a metal ramp walkway under a bridge, Lower Don Trail

below: Looking southbound towards Union Station.

vehicle on train tracks approaching an underpass, where Don Mills Road crosses the tracks

below: From here the tracks follow the Don Valley east and then north.  They pass under Don Mills Road once more, just south of York Mills Road, before heading to Oriole GO station.

looking through gaps in a chainlink fence, a railway vehicle on the tracks below, looking eastward from Don Mills Road, apartment buildings in the background

below: This part of the Lower Don Trail really is a nexus, or hub, in the ravine path system.  Trails also lead northwest to the Science Center and Wilket Creek Park.

three people walking across a snow covered park towards highrise buildings

below: Choose kindness

colorful sticker on metal railing, lots of one eyed faces with big teeth on the back of a van with words choose kindness

heart painted on metal rail, graffiti, left side is red and right side is blue

a car drives over an old semi circular concrete bridge over the Don River, Gateway Blvd apartment building in the background

road bridge, concrete, above a river with a parth beside the river. Rusted metal railings on both sides of the path, green metal beams under the bridge, winter, sone snow, no leaves on the trees, Lower Don Trail, under Don Mills Road

below: “Passage”, an art installation by Labspace Studio under the Don Mills Bridge – part of the PanAm Path project.

public art under a bridge, halves of red canoes appear to come out of the wall, 8 of them in a line

below: Southward on the Lower Don Trail where you can walk all the way to Lake Ontario.

lower don trail, looking south, with DVP on one side and trees on the other, apartment building in the background.

below: If you are interested, this is a map of the PanAm Path, one of the projects from when the PanAm games were hosted here in Toronto in 2015.  The Forks of the Don is in the center by the pink X.  Something to consider exploring in the spring!?

city of Toronto map of the PanAm Path that crosses the city.

*****
plaque describing the elevated wetlands sculptures

“The elevated wetlands are functional sculptures, symbols of the integration of the plastics industry, art and environmental stewardship. The sculptures were developed through a partnership between the City of Toronto, the Canadian Plastics Industry Association, and artist Noel Harding.”

“The sculptures draw attention to the importance of wetlands as an ecosystem. A solar powered pump lifts water from the Don River into a series of raised “planters” where native wetland plants and trees naturally remove pollutants from the water. Recycled plastics are used as soil substitute to promote vegetative growth. From the smallest container, water is emptied into a natural land based wetland, and flows back in to the Don River. The surrounding area has been naturalized through volunteer tree plantings to create a natural buffer between the sculptures and the Don Valley Parkway. “

 

 

mural, blue letters on yellow, XOXO Downsview

below: Ulysses Curtis mural by Danilo Deluxo McCallum.  Curtis (1926-2013) played for the Toronto Argonauts football team in the 1950s.  He was considered to be the first black player on the team.

mural, black man with helmet and shoulder harness straps

The Downsview area and airplanes have been linked since the late 1920s when land here was being used for airfields—Barker Field, the Canadian Express Airport and the Toronto Flying Club.  In 1929 de Havilland Aircraft of Canada purchased 70 acres of farmland along Sheppard Avenue West.  In the mid-1950s de Havilland moved its operations to newly constructed modern facilities to the southeast.  De Havilland Canada was sold to Boeing in 1988 and then to Bombardier in 1992.

below: Bombardier facility and GO tracks on the east side of the park.   Downsview Park station at the north end of the park connects the GO system with the TTC’s Line 1.

Bombardier facility beside GO tracks in Downsview

In 2017, the Sesquicentennial Trail was developed on part of the site.  Sesquicentennial means 150 years, as in Canada was 150 years old in 2017.

below: The North Plaza of the trail features a semi-circular wall of rusted steel with cutout silhouettes of real historical photographs showing various people, buildings, and airplanes that was designed by John Dickson.

rusted metal art installation with sections of wall with cutout pictures, airplane windsock in front

part of an art installation, rusted metal with cut out pictures, cut out words that say danger low flying aircraft stop until clear

two pictures cutout of rusted metal

Small models of four of the aircraft built by DeHaviland ‘fly’ over the trail – the DH.60 Gipsy Moth, the Dash 8, the DHC-6 Twin Otter, and the Mosquito.   They cover years of both DeHaviland and aircraft history from the bi-winged Moth in the mid-1920’s to the turboprop Dash8. The later was developed in the early 1980s and is still in production today.

plaque describing 4 of the types of aircraft once produced in Downsview, DH.60 Gipsy Moth, the Dash 8, the DHC-6 Twin Otter, and the Mosquito

two model airplanes on pillars, look like they are flying above a pond, park, and new apartments under construction

below: High overhead, a DHC-Beaver, a bush plane developed in 1947 here at Downsview.

large metal flat silhouette of beaver airplane on tall metal poles as public art in a park

Grounded! But still great for child’s play.

playground at Downsview Park, yellow wood airplane on ground with pretend control tower

Hundreds, and probably thousands, of trees have been planted on the site.

two red muskoka chairs near the top of a hill, overlooking the trees in the valley below

below: Tulip tree

autumn colours on a tulip tree

below: Other areas have been set aside for native grasses and wildflowers such as milkweed, purple coneflower, and wild lupine.

plaque at donswview park describing tallgrass prairie and three of the plants that grow there

below: There is a large hill in the park and this is the view to the southwest from there.

Downsview view from hill in the park, looking southwest over a path, some apartment buildings, and rest of Toronto skyline

below: At the top of the hill stands an installation of blue flags along with two of the many red muskoka chairs scattered around the park.   This is “Wind Rose” by Future Simple Studio. This picture doesn’t show it very well but at the northwest corner, two of the flags are not blue – one is black and the other white (black for west and white for north).  These two flags, “The Turtle and the Traveller,” were designed by Mi’kmaq artists Chris and Greg Mitchell.   They are best seen when the wind is blowing!

blue flags hanging from poles, art installation at Downsview Park

maple leaves in autumn

small bird feeder on a tree, with a blue roof with red flower painted on the roof

Downsview has also been associated with the military.  In 1937, the Royal Canadian Air Forces expropriated portions of the site to establish the RCAF Station Downsview.  The site once had two residential areas with barracks – one for the enlisted soldiers and their families and another for the commissioned officers and their families.  Over the years the base expanded to include the original de Havilland lands.  In the 1960s, the military expropriated the lands adjacent to the Downsview Airport and closed 2.5 miles of Sheppard Avenue between Dufferin and Keele Streets.  That is why Sheppard Avenue swings north around what is now Downsview Park.

two small bird houses hanging against a tree, white round one with red conical shaped roof

In 1996 CFB Toronto officially closed.  Parc Downsview Park Inc. was established in 1999 to build and operate Downsview Park but administrative control over the land wasn’t transferred to the Park until 2006.

very red crimson maple leaves in fall

below: ArtworxTO Hub North with a mural by Mediah.  At the time, the site was being used by a film crew.

mediah mural at arthub at Downsview park

below: Another mural on the exterior of the ArtworxTO Hub building.  This one was painted by Kreecha.

mural at arthub at Downsview park

stickers on the back of a dark coloured car, robots shooting at stick figures, The Empire Doesn't Care about your stick figure family

below: The southwestern end of the Meadoway is at Thomson Memorial Park – it exits the park at McCowan just north of Lawrence and runs 16 km through Scarborough.  The goal is form one continuous linear urban park from downtown to the Rouge River.

large trees in autumn, lots of yellow and gold leaves on the trees and on the ground

below: The steeple of St. Andrews Bendale Church is just visible through the trees.  This church is adjacent to Thomson Memorial Park

steeple of St. Andrews Bendale shows through the trees at Thomason Memorial Park

below:   Springfield Farm House is also at McCowan and Lawrence.   It is the oldest brick house in Scarborough, built in 1840 by James Thomson.

springfield farm house near McCowan and Lawrence in Scarborough, built by Andrew Thomson

people on path

below: The Meadoway follows the Gatineau Corridor, a swath of land under hydro transmission lines.

a man pushes a child in a stroller along a path, the meadoway

below: Large sections are in the process of being “naturalized”, i.e. meadow restoration is underway.

meadoway sign

yellow headed bird on weeds

below: from left to right – New England Aster, Little Blue Stem, Common Milkweed, Switch Grass, Cup Plant, Bergamot, Big Blue Stem and False Sunflower.

close up of meadow restoration information sign showing which plants are growing there

wildflowers and other naturalized plants growing under hydro lines

meadoway in autumn, hydro lines and towers, a badminton net, path, bike path, grass,

people walking on a path through a park

a man walks along a path, through the Meadoway with autumn trees with yellow and gold colour leaves falling to the ground

rusty metal supports for transmission wires, with yellow autumn tree in the background

yellow sign warning cyclists that there is downhill section ahead

below: The Meadoway as it crosses Bellamy Road

meadoway crosses Bellamy Road

schoolyard under transmission lines

below: school access

gap in chainlink fence under hydro transmission lines, with path leading to a school

combination lock on a chainlink fence

below: Daventry Garden plots with highrises on Markham Road in the background.

autumn community garden in foreground, highrises in the background, on the meadoway
orange plastic fences around garden plots after the growing season is over, dead remains of vegetable gardens

string and wire make a fence around a community garden plot

community garden in the meadoway with back of houses in the background

There is a large gap from Scarborough Golf Club Road to Conlins (just east of Morningside). The Gatineau Corridor transmission lines cross the Highland Creek and the 401 where there is no path beneath the wires. The city has tried to make continuous bike routes and now Conlins, which runs north-south has bike lanes and crosses the 401.

bike path direction signs, route 79 to Rouge River Drive and route 26 to Gatineau Corridor

The northeast end of the Meadoway is still a bit bleak but at least the potential is there…. being November doesn’t help!

below: The Meadoway crosses diagonally through the intersection of Sheppard Ave East and Dean Park (just west of Meadowvale).

Meadoway path approaches the intersection of Sheppard Ave East and Dean Park with its hydro wires and towers

below: Looking southwest from near Sheppard and Dean Park

a woman walks on the path through the meadoway with transmission towers and hydro lines, November,

The trail ends shortly after at Meadowvale Road which is just beyond the Sheppard Transformer Station.

hydro transmission lines leading to Sheppard Transformer Station

below: Spindleberry tree (Euonymus europaeus)

spindle tree berries and autumn leaves

Development of the Meadoway is led by the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority with help from the city, Hydro One, the Weston Family Foundation, and the Toronto and Region Conservation Foundation.

For more information – Meadoway website
Some of these photos were taken in 2020.

 

Wilket Creek forms one of the many ravines in the city. The northern part has been buried; it surfaces just south of York Mills Road and flows south until it joins the West Don just north of Eglinton. Edwards Gardens is part of the park system along the creek and that is where I met a friend the other day.  It was her part of town and she was my guide for the day.  The magnolia trees were at peak bloom and the fragrance of their blossoms filled the air.

below: Magnolia

A white magnolia in full bloom in front of a house with chimney

below: Three magnolia buds ready to open up.
Three magenta magnolia buds ready to open up, grey fuzzy bottom part of the bud included

below: Other trees and shrubs were also laden with blossoms
Pink blossoms on a tree, spring

A man takes a picture of his wife and daughter in front of a tree full of pink blossoms at Edwards Gardens

below: Volunteers working in the Teaching Garden, preparing the beds for planting.
A woman with grey hair and a blue baseball cap is hoeing weeds out of a garden, orange yellow wheelbarrow beside her, Edwards Garden

below: Some of the different types of trees that grow here – three different bark colours.
Three different kinds of trees, with 3 different coloured trunks, including a birch tree

below: A willow tree by Wilket Creek
large tree on a grassy field beside a creek lined with rocks, early spring, willow leaves are just beginning to show, a pale green colour

below: Dawn Redwood tree (aka Metasequoia tree)
large dawn redwood tree, also called metasequoia, no leaves, very early spring

below: Parts of the gardens were closed for repairs to the banks of the creek and the path alongside it.
construction machinery on a path beside Wilket Creek, Edwards Gardens

Walking the ravine north from Edwards Gardens is impossible – unfortunately, that stretch of the ravine  is not open to the public.  A gap in the system. We rejoined the creek at Windfields Park.

Windfields Park

paved path, curves as it goes downhill, bench at the bottom of the hill, grass beside the path, trees on both sides, Windfields Park

A person in a red jacket sits on a fallen log in a forest beside a teepee shape structure made from tree branches, leaves are just beginning to open, late April

below: A rock stuck in a hard place, where rocks usually aren’t found.
A large granite boulder entangled in the roots of tree that has fallen over

below: Yellow wildflowers, Lesser Celandine which is apparently an invasive species.
A large patch of low yellow flowers and greenery in front of a tree that has fallen down, tree trunks in the background

below: A tennis ball in the wild.

orange tennis ball stuck in the V of a tree, between two branches, in a forest

below: Two birch trees, probably Silver Birch because of the brown bark of the younger tree that will soon shed to reveal the white bark below.

Two birch trees in a forest, one is younger and has just started shedding it's brownish bark, the other is older and had white bark

below: Yellow trout lily. The flashy red parts hang downwards so they are hidden close to the forest floor. The flowers are difficult to spot but the mottled green and brown leaves give them away.
wildflower on the ground in forest, a yellow trout lily
below: Bloodroot flowers
wildflower on forest floor, white bloodroot flower and leaves

With thanks to Iskuhi for walking with me and teaching me the names of some trees and wildflowers. … and for some playing with sunlight and shadows (because that’s what photographers do!).

A person holding a bloodroot plant in one hand and a camera phone in the other, trying to get a picture showing texture of veins in the leaf

As you probably know, Toronto is full of creeks, ravines, and trails. Most of the creeks are tributaries of the Humber, Don, or Rouge River. This week’s adventure was along the Don River starting at the south end of the Betty Sutherland Trail. The north part of this trail begins at Leslie and Sheppard, just behind North York General Hospital (where parking is difficult).  Even though early April is still brown and grey, there is always something to see.

below: Don River

Don River in early spring

below: Pussy willows – One of the first signs of spring

pussy willows in spring

below: As I walked along the trail, I encountered this guy. He started getting agitated as I got close to the the river, but there was a photo that I was after…..

a male mallard duck standing on the bank of a creek with back to photographer but turning head to look behind

below: I had spotted colours through the browns and greys of the trees… graffiti covered ruins on the other side of the river.

colorful graffiti on an old stone structure whose roof has collapsed, as seen from across a creek, with trees in the way, no leaves because April, too early in the spring

Of course I found my way across the river to explore them in more detail!

below: When I went looking online for information about this structure, I came across a blog post in Scenes from a City from 2013. It’s hard to see, but some of the graffiti remains unchanged 8 years later.

below: And right behind me I discovered a tunnel entrance built into the hillside

below: It was very dark inside so the quality of these photos is questionable, but I thought that the old rusty control boxes looked fascinating. How long have they been here?

The Betty Sutherland trail ends at Duncan Mill Road. I was trying to get as far south as possible, so rather than go up to street level, I went under Duncan Mill Road where my map showed that there was more green space.

below: Wishes were written on pieces of paper, folded, and tied to a tree with pink yarn.

pieces of white paper tied to small branches of a small tree with pink yarn

below: The tangled roots of a dead tree lie beside the Don River just south of Duncan Mill Road.

a large piece of driftwood from the roots of a large tree in the foreground with a river, trees, and an apartment building in the background

below: Blue and yellow rocks

many small stones painted blue and some painted yellow, on the ground, with weeds starting to grow up among them

below: It wouldn’t be a walk without a (or several!) used mask lying around but this one is cuter than most.

a pink covid mask lies on the ground, on top of dead leaves.  The mask has a picture of a peach on it.

below: Oh Oh

below: Bracket, or shelf, fungi on a dead tree trunk

below: Playing fields alongside Moatfield

Green space, playing field, beside a road with office buildings on it

below: Looking east towards Graydon Hall

playing field with soccer goal, apartment buildings of Graydon Hall in the background.

below: Now we are off the beaten track. That’s Don Mills Road with some graffiti on a pillar that beckons me forward. A few trees have been planted here but maintenance may be sporadic.

below: under the bridge
close up of a discarded can of spray paint lying on the ground.  Graffiti under a bridge is in the background but out of focus.

under a bridge over the Don River with graffiti on the concrete, metal girders overhead, water in the river

below: There was no problem getting under the bridge, but around the corner was an unexpected surprise – This appears to be the end of the line. Yes, it was green space but my map didn’t warn me that it was private! I didn’t have golf clubs with me so I wasn’t sure if I could sneak or bluff my way through – plus my car was behind me so it wasn’t worth the trouble to try.

sign saying private property no trespassing at the edge of a golf course, Donalda Golf course

blog_betty_sutherland_trail

“Betty Sutherland served thirteen years as an elected representative on North York Council until her retirement from politics in 1985. From 1979 to 1985, Mrs. Sutherland was a member of Metropolitan Toronto Council and the Metropolitan Toronto and Region Conservation Authority. Devoted to the improvement of recreational opportunities for citizens and visitors, Mrs. Sutherland was Chairman of Metropolitan Toronto Parks, Recreation, and Property Committee from 1982 to 1985 and a member of the Authority’s Don Valley Advisory Board from 1981 to 1984. The naming of this trail is a symbol of the significant contribution she made to Metropolitan Toronto’s regional parks.

A mild January turned into a frigid February but that shouldn’t slow us down should it?  So I bundled up and drove to Mimico to meet a friend – what? we haven’t seen each other for over a year?  2020 has taken its toll.   At least it’s easier wearing masks in cold weather!

Toronto street sign for Mimico village, Melrose street,, on the same pole is a banner above it that says happy holidays

below: Two murals by Jim Bravo. On the right, “Down Creek Way” 2012. On the left, “Morning Ice Harvest” 2014. Both are part of the Lakeshore Arts Project

two historical murals on the side of a building, one is boys ice fishing and the other is people swimming in the creek

below: A watery mural with a large duck bottom as it paddles by on the side of Birds and Beans Coffee Shop. Another Lakeshore Arts Project; it was designed by Alexa Hatanaka and Patrick Thompson and painted with the help of a crew of youth & community members coordinated by Paula McDines.

picture of a mural as seen from across a park, street scene as well. snow, winter,

below: Mural on the side of Calibreze Pizza on Lakeshore Blvd.

mural on the side of a two storey brick store on Lakeshore in Mimico, sign says Calibreze Pizza.

mural on the side of a building, cars parked in front of it

mural

The northern boundary is the Gardiner Expressway.  Here, stairs from the street running parallel to the Gardiner up to Royal York Road before it becomes a bridge over the expressway.

concrete retaining wall beside Royal York Rd, with stairs going up to road level, also a small tree

below: Signs on the outside

signs on the door of Jimmys coffee shop, wear a mask, wear it right, and other covid notices

below: … and old photos on the inside.  Jimmys Coffee, Royal York Road.  Hanging out inside was verboten but a few minutes of warmth was appreciated.

large photograph on a coffee shop wall of a welcome to mimico sign beside an old phone booth with someone inside it

inside Jimmys coffee, a sign on the bar that says our resolution drink more coffee damn it

below: Who can resist a unicorn poop cookie?

cookies for sale at a coffee shop, chocolate chip cookies and sugar cookies with pink sprinkles called unicorn poop cookies

below: Signs of Covid.  Prior to the most recent lockdown there was talk about “big box stores” being allowed to stay open while smaller businesses had to close.  At the moment, even “big box stores” are closed.

window of a tattoo shop, rattan blinds closed, painted on window is sign that says big box tattoo, wolves throne, can we open now?

below: Bag full of work.

traffic box on sidewalk painted as back of a person in a red and white striped shirt with a backpack on. outside of backpack are words bag full of work, Red van on road, and houses behind that, snow on the ground,

below: Moooooove me….  I’m tired of getting splattered with slush when cars get too close!

back cow sculpture, lifelike, beside the street, in front of a butcher shop in Mimico.

small blue boat on a trailer parked by garage in an alley behind multiplex houses 3 storeys high, red brick.

below: A cold and wet seat.

a chair in the driveway by an alley, in the snow, cars, chainlink fence behind the chair.

sign beside the red doors of Crossroads Christian fellowship church that says All welcome Sunday service and bible studies cancelled

below: Just out of the picture, and making a lot of noise, was the same dog that’s in this picture.

glass door and windows of storefront with signs and pictures. picture of a small dog,

below: Tibetan prayer flags adorn the fence. Each colour represents an element; white symbolizes air, red is fire., green is water, yellow is earth, and blue is wind. They also represent directions – North, South, East, West and Center. As the flags flutter in the wind, they emit positive spiritual vibrations enabling the wind to carry away the prayers and wishes. As the prayers drift away, the colours fade.

colourful Tibetan Buddhist prayer flags strung outside a store

two three storey apartment buildings side by side

houses on a residential street

four motorcycles under individual covers and parked outside in the snow

old square white building on Royal York Road, now a flower shop,

below: Mimico is home to a large GO facility, the Willowbrook Rail Maintenance Facility.  It didn’t look too inviting!  It might be worth some research so that on a warmer, sunnier day we could go exploring.

outer wall of Willowbrook GO facility in Mimico. Large walls,

below: It’s difficult to see, but the door on the left has a “women” sign on it.   His and hers.

two white port a potties beside a parked truck container back part

What had started as a sunny morning, turned into a grey low-light so we headed to the lake to see if we could find more sun, or at least better light.

below: Part of Humber College Lakeshore Campus.   These buildings were built in the late 1880s as “cottages”, part of the Mimico Asylum (later known as the Lakeshore Psychiatric Hospital).   Almost a hundred years later the site was shut down.  At that time, there were 280 patients, down from a peak of 1,390 in 1950.

from a distance, Humber college brick buildings, lakeshore campus, snow and bare trees

below: The site was leased to Humber in 1991 and since then these four buildings have been completely renovated to suit Humber’s needs.

Humber college brick buildings, lakeshore campus, snow and bare trees

below: Humber College is surrounded on three sides by Colonel Sam Smith park and one of the features of the park is an outdoor skating loop.  This year, online registration is needed for a time slot at all rinks – unless you’re lucky enough to arrive when others have cancelled or have been unable to show up.  (As an aside – they have a washroom for weary walkers in need!)

people at skating rink, outdoors. one is secutiy and others are waiting their turn to use the ice. pink letters on sidewalk that denote place for those with reservations to line up

two kids skating, one is pushing the other who is holding onto a blue plastic support

Another feature of the park are the waterfront trails along the shores of Lake Ontario.

two canada geese in the water, up close

below: Comfy sofa at the ready?

many mallards and canada geese in the water, trees on the shore, an old sofa is perched among the trees, facing the water, winter, snow,

mallard ducks with their heads down,m on Lake Ontario

ice and icicles on a fallen log on the rocks beside Lake Ontario, some snow and bare trees in the background

frozen pond with snow and bare trees

Toronto skyline from Colonel Sam Smith park, lake ontario in between

winter scene, beside Lake Ontario, bench in park facing the water, some bare trees around it

We never did find more light that morning.  But if you’re in the mood for hot chocolate bombs or other sweet goodies we might have found the place for you!

photographer taking a picture of a store window, masks, baking things, red hearts,

below: As I was driving home after the walk, I came across this scene:

a zamboni on the back of a tow truck, travlling on a toronto street

 

Howdy!

little metal character made of found objects and rusty metal, hat, fishing net, overalls,

There are rumours of a vaccine being available but at the rate at which people are being inoculated, we’re going to be living this socially distanced life for a few (many?) more months.  To help alleviate the feelings of isolation without jeopardizing anyone’s health, I have started walking with friends in their neighbourhoods.  My previous post, about Glendon College, was the result of a walk that I took with my mother and it was that afternoon that I decided to make a point of walking with friends more often.  The result of the first of these walks, near South Kingsway & Bloor, is what you see here.

yeard decorations of two small metal bikes, one blue and one yellow, in front of a house with Christmas wreath on the door and other Christmas greenery decorations too

stret of houses and large trees across from Rennie Park, single family homes, residential area, large trees, winter, no leaves, some snow on the ground.

bench in park, snow on ground, large tree, lots of long shadows,

a melting snowman with a blue and black plaid cloth around it, looks a bit like a large bid witha sharp curved beak

below: Rules of the rink for these Covid-19 times.

outdoor skating rink at Rennie Park, winter, with two signs regrding the rules for outdoor rinks during covid times, a few people are skating

outdoor skating rinkm some people getting ready to skate, enclosed rink for hockey etc with more natural rink beside it

child in red pants and blue winter coat pulling a sled across a park, houses and trees behind it

looking down a hill towards a park with a playground, backyards and houses beyond that. orange snow fence, railings of the stairs going down the hill

two adjacent two storey houses with lots of white statues and fountains in the front yards

white statues in front of a house

A little house!

older smaller house beside a larger newer one

older light grey stucco house on lot with grass and large trees

chainlink fence beside a path through the woods in early winter, no leaves on trees, some snow on the trail

below: Be careful where you walk!

wooden bridge over creek, ground at end of bridge has been flooded, hill onthe other side of the bridge with aprtment buildings (low rise) on top

below: Evidence of beaver activity!

beside a pond, thin layer of ice on the water, dead leaves on the ground, some medium sized tree trunks, one that a beaver has tried to take down

below: The muddy path beside Catfish Pond

path beside a pond that is muddy, boards placed on top of mud to make it passable

below: Morningside High Park Presbyterian church, built 1917.

front entrance and steeple of Morningside High Park, a stone church built in the Gothic style in 1917

below: In the distance, highrises near Bloor West and Keele

street curving downhill towards park, city skyline ion the background, a house or two beside the road

small white house behind a large pine tree and between two larger houses, on a small hill with stairs leading up to it

below: High Park

below: The very north end of Grenadier Pond.  Work is underway to remove invasive species of plants from this part of High Park and replace them with native vegetation.

a man is going down a long set of stairs towards a park, winter time,

and back up the stairs to Bloor West

older small apartment building from the 1920s, brick,with white wood trim and balconies

With thanks to Alice for being my tour guide.

a woman taking pictures in the woods, winter

The main entrance to Glendon College is via Lawrence Avenue on the west side of Bayview; here Lawrence becomes the driveway for the college.   The first building that you see is glass with the word welcome in several languages etched into it.   On the left is “boozhoo” which is Ojibwe, “she:kon” is Mohawk, and “tansi” is a greeting in Cree.

glass wall of newest Glendon college building, glass with the word welcome in different languages etched onto it, reflections in the glass

In 1924, Edward Rogers Wood (1866-1941) and Agnes Euphemia Smart (1868-1950) moved into the house that they had built on 84 acres of ravine land at the north end of Bayview Avenue,  in what was then suburban Toronto.

below: Glendon Hall now, on a grey winter day.

Glendon Hall, in winter, the old house on campus of Glendon College built in the 1920s

When Agnes Eupemia (Phemie) died in 1950, she left the estate to the University of Toronto to be used for a university botanical garden.  Ten years later U of T gave the site to the newly formed York University to use as their main campus.

below: Another of the older buildings at Glendon

old bungalow house on Glendon college campus, winter, green tile roof, white walls, black shutters,

below: Residence building being renovated.  They were built in the late 1960s.  Glendon College has just under 3000 students but the campus was very quiet (on a Sunday in January 2021).

residence building, Glendon College, three storey red brick building with windows

below: Lionel Thomas (Canadian,1915-2005), The Whole Person, 1961 metal mounted on the exterior of one of the buildings on the College campus.

metal 2 dimensional sculpture by Lionel Thomas mounted on a red brick wall, title is The Whole Person, a man is holding a burning lamp

below: Metal sculpture by Ray Spiers (b. Canada 1934), Untitled 1, 1975

metal boxes with open ends, sculpture on the ground, with snow, Glendon campus, by Ray Spiers in 1975

below: Sculpture of a more temporary nature.

small, partially melted snowman with stick arms,

residence building, Glendon College, winter, path, large trees

The main part of the campus is up high, above the ravine formed by the west branch of the Don River.  At the bottom of the hill is the pool and tennis courts as well as access to trails along the river.

below: Athletic Center and bridge over the Don River

single lane bridge with wide sidewalk and bright red metal barricades on side, brick building in the background, trees, winter,

 

path in woods in winter, with orange snow fence lining the walkway

2 dogs on a snow covered path in the woods

below: The end of Lawrence Avenue on the east side of Bayview.

the end of Lawrence Avenue at Bayview, the Bayview bridge crossing the ravine far above

below: Under the Bayview bridge which was originally built in 1929 with financing help from E.R. Wood, and expanded in the early 1960s.

concrete pillars with some graffit on them, holding up a bridge, over snowy ground

below: Before 1929 this is where traffic crossed the Don River.  The bridge, Watson’s Bridge, was built in 1895.   In the distance, you can see the Chedington condos; they sit where a house for Muriel Wood once stood.  E.R. Wood built the house (also called Chedington) for his daughter in 1927-28 but it was destroyed by fire in 2009.

single lane unpaved road through woods, and then over old bridge, winter

below: Watson bridge, built 1895

an old concrete bridge over the Don River by Bayview, some graffiti on it, seen through the woods in winter, no leaves on the trees, over the Don River,

below: Beyond Bayview the paths were very icy so we didn’t venture much farther that day.

ice on the path, beside creek, in woods,

More details about the history of the Bayview bridge can be found on a City of Toronto website.   They have lots of pictures!

 

 

row of stores and cafes on Danforth, covered with street art, the Only Cafe,

My walk the other day started with a coffee and a croissant from Broadview Espresso, just north of the Danforth. It was a bit chilly and damp to be eating & drinking outside but that’s the way of the world at the moment, at least in Toronto. At least walking helps keep you warm! Anyhow, just outside the coffee shop was a sidewalk unicorn painted by whatsvictorupto. There was one on each of the 4 corners of the intersection of Broadview and Pretoria. Here are two of them.

painting of a unicorn on the sidewalk, a blue unicorn surrounded by 4 blue hearts, all on a pink background, the work of whatsvictorupto

painting of a unicorn on the sidewalk, a brown unicorn head and neck with white mane and horn on a green background

whether you’re walking

upper part of a mural on the Danforth of a man walking on a map of the area, around two windows of the building on which it is painted.

Part of a mural by Monica on the Moon

or on a bike

on the side of a Chinese restaurant, a mural of a woman on a bike. She's holding the handle bars but her legs are straight out behind her. She's wearing a red dress and has long black hair. There are three signs on the restaurant, First, Indian Hakka Chinese Food, second, 7 dim sum, and third, we deliver

there’s always something to see along the Danforth or behind in its alleys.

a utility pole on the street decorated for Greektown, in blue and white vertical stripes and an oval with the words Greektown on the Danforth along with a Roman column

There are windows to look in

two shelves with head mannequins, wearing different wigs, covid masks, hats, and halloween masks

below: A great assortment of Covid masks

fabric covid masks for sale in the window of a store

below: Multilingual covid signs on the window of the Greek grocery – where shelves with oregano, tomato paste, pasta, coffee beans, grape juice, eggplant, and candy are all display.

the window of a Greek grocery store, with food, also signs re covid rules in Greek. for sale, oregano, Nescafe coffee, tomato paste,

There is more street art and graffiti to find, sometimes at your feet

below: Grounded Together, A painting by Caitlin Taguibao on the sidewalk

a painting on the sidewalk, a circle with words grounded together, pictures of women with plants and flowers, a dog chasing a bird.

and sometimes closer to eye level.

below: Skull and sticker

large dark blue stencil of a skull in profile on a blue newspaper box. There is also a sticker that says end white supremacy

Posters with social/political messages can also be found.

below: End White supremacy above, and now a poster re stats in Toronto “Black people in Toronto are 20 times more likely to be shot and killed by the police”. Source: from the Human Rights Commission, 2018.

a poster on a metal utility pole with a graphi to illustrate how black people are more likely to be shot and or killed by the Toronto police

In this case, wake up and see the climate crisis. A faded bee on pink juxtaposed with the black, red, and white butterfly painted on the street box.

2 posters on a utility pole plus a painted street box behind. One poster says climate crisis wake up disobey. The other poster has a pink bee

below: I get the no peeing part. I suspect that those aren’t eggs and this is a warning? or a threat?

wood fence, exterior light, and a sign, picture of man peeing with a red line through it, below that is picture of a pair of scissors and two eggs.

And then there is artwork of a different kind – on the front of St. Irene Chrisovalantoy Greek Orthodox Church built in 1974

2 pictures, exterior, front of Greek Church, white walls, with a Greek flag flying between the two of them

2 pictures, exterior, front of Greek Church, white walls,

stained glass over the front entrance, from the inside

stained glass window over the front entrance of Greek Church

Even on a grey day there are colours to be found, not just in the artwork and stained glass windows, but in the nature around us.

below: Some sunshine in bloom

a sunflower in bloom

below: autumn vines with a street art background

autumn coloured vine leaves cover a wall that has street art painted on it

below: This tree dominates with its abundance of red leaves. You may have also spotted the murals in the background.

Felstead Park, a tree with a lot of red leaves on it, as well as on the ground below it, dominates the picture

below: These are the murals in the second Butterfly Laneway project (2018). Check this link (metamorphosis in the lane) to see all the murals.

trees in autumn colours, with butterfly murals on the garages beyond the park

below: One of the murals is carefully put aside while work is done on the back of this house.

a house, seen from the back, being renovated, backyard is also being fixed up, fence between house and park has been removed, but garage door with mural on it has been preserved

below: More renovations. Apparently, people staying home because of covid = a boom in home renovations. Both Home Depot and Lowes reported increases in revenue for the second quarter of 2020, both were more than expected.

2 houses side by side, one with pale blue siding on upper floor, the other with yellow siding, both with porches in the front, the one n the right is being renovated and has a bin out the front

old car and old garage in front of a large new modern house

below: The unusual roofline and trim on these two houses caught my eye. I also love the fact that they are attached yet have a distinct character of their own. Brick vs stone, little peaked roof over the door vs. green and white metal awning, rectangular window vs bay window. Like identical twins trying to be their own person.

two adjacent houses with barn like rooflines, one in brick and the other in stone,

Danforth subway line, Donlands station. Ten years ago, it was decided that Donlands station needed a second exit and that it would be on the corner of Strathmore and Donlands, One building, 17 and 19 Dewhurst would have to be torn down to make way for the new exit. 19 Dewhurst was sold to the city in 2018 and just last year the property at 17 Dewhurst was expropriated.

through a chainlink gate, front yard is square concrete patio stones, yellow front door

front yward is overgrown, white railing on porch, dark porch and front door

Across the street at 14 Dewhurst, the old Temple Baptist Church (1925) is being redeveloped as condos, the Sunday School Lofts.

large old brick church, Temple Baptist church, is being redeveloped as residences, plus an addition added to one side of it

The home remodeling business may be doing well but the restaurants are hurting. As of the end of October, indoor dining in Toronto was prohibited.

below: Abyssinia restaurant. One of the many different ethnic restaurants along the Danforth. Although it is still referred to as Greektown, and the Greek influence is still strong, you can eat a wide range of foods from different cultures. As you move east along the Danforth, there is a strong African (especially Ethiopian) presence.

a man pushes a stroller along the sidewalk past a store and the Abyssinia restaurant on the Danforth

below: Did you know that gourmet cinnamon rolls was a thing? Did I run across the street to buy one? (Almost!!).

a woman walks past Cinnaholic, a store selling gourmet cinnamon rolls

below: The northwest corner of Danforth and Donlands. You can choose between halal chicken and pizza, or dim sum.

northwest corner of Danforth and Donlands, two storey brick

Other little graffiti stickers, posters, and paste-ups:

below: Another flying bicycle

stencil on paper on a utility pole, in orange and black, a girl riding a bike, with wings on her back

below: Mad Dog Wrecking Crew

2 graffiti stickers on a Canada Post box, the top ones says gewn snail, the bottom one is an abstract drawing in black and white

below: A very sad man

paper pasteup on a metal pole, sad man

below: Checkerboard sneaker and a big tooth-ed skull by mr. Toon.

two stickers. the bottom one is a skull by mr. toon and the top one is a no laces, slip on sneaker in black and white checks

below: The paper is torn but it is: “She clasped my face in her bones and kissed silence into my mouth” a quote by Amiri Bakara (I saw one exactly the same in Kensington last summer).

paper pasteup on a metal pole, top is a skull looking down, bottom is a man looking up, with words

below: With a car parked in its mouth

dripping paint in blue and red on a wall with a hole in it, two eyes drawn above the rectangular hole. A car is parked on the other side of hte wall and shows through the hole

below: Does the blue haired woman know whats lurking behind her?

two wig mannequin heads in a store window. the one in front has pale turquoise hair, the one in the back has black hair.

Happy November – let’s keep walking and see what we can see along the way…. and in case you need help…!

display of eye glasses in the window of a store

Back in the early spring of 2019, I wrote about accessing the East Don path from Moccasin Trail.

below: Last week, the view from the east side of the tunnel under the DVP leading to Moccasin Trail Park.

semi circular arch and tunnel under the DVP from the East Don trail, autumn with fall colours on the trees, paved path, grass beside,

Now, in a different year and a different season, I have explored more of that trail starting at the north end, near Lawrence Avenue and the Don Valley Parkway (DVP). Originally, Lawrence Avenue curved south down the east side of the ravine before it crossed the Don River. The remains of part of that road provide access to the East Don path at Charles Sauriol Conservation Area. Sauriol (1904-1995) was a Canadian naturalist who played a leading role in conserving many natural areas in the province including the Don Valley.

Here, the Alexander Milne family first settled in 1832. Over time, a woolen mill and a sawmill were built, other families moved in, and the village of Milneford Mills was born; it thrived until the early 1900’s. The old woolen mill remained derelict until it was demolished in 1946. Between Hurricane Hazel floods in 1954, and the expropriation of land to make way for the DVP construction, most traces of the village have disappeared.

below: All that remains is one house. It’s been behind chainlink and “under renovation” for MANY years. When I went searching for any kind of story about this house, I discovered a blog post from 2011 about Charles Sauriol Park and the house was fenced in then. Apparently it was covered in graffiti back in 2008/9. I’m not sure that Mr. Sauriol would be impressed.

old white house, built 1878, now in park, with metal fence around it because of renovations, autumn, with trees in golds and oranges

autumn colours in the leaves on the trees, oranges and golds, and some red sumach

below: The Rainbow Bridge from the north side.

the rainbow bridge on the east don trail, a semi circle arch tunnel painted like a rainbow

below: The trail passes underneath the Canadian Pacific (CP) tracks.

a man walks his dog along the path through the Don River ravine, autumn trees, and the path goes under the tall CN railway bridge with its metal girders

below: Footings for the CP bridge

concrete footings on a metal railway bridge over the Don River

below: As the trail crosses land owned by CP Rail, it is covered by a metal frame canopy. It’s difficult to see in this photo but there is a series of small laser-cut metal artworks between the grey railings. The whole structure is “A Walk in the Woods” and it is the creation of both Robert Sprachman and Arnaud Boutle.

a metal canopy over a path and under a metal railway bridge

gnarly old dead tree that looks like screaming face

a woman walks along a path at the bottom of a hill. the hill is covered with leaves that have fallen off the tall trees

2 people walk on the sandy river bank on the side of the Don River, autumn with leaves in different shades of red and gold

below: Farther down the trail is another railway bridge. This is the same line that goes north to Oriole GO station and beyond. The scaffolding under the bridge is for the construction of another canopy similar to one under the CP bridge (above) as well as an art installation.

workmen on a railway bridge

below: Part of art installation “High Water Mark” by Robert Sprachman that is almost complete. There are 15 rocks each with a year on them. The height of the rock on a metal pole represents the height of the flood water on the Don River that year (but is not an exact height). There are four rocks in this picture and from left to right are 1926, 1934, 1942, and obscured (the last is behind the wood. Ooops).

Artwork called High Water Mark, rocks at levels that match the flood levels of different years, on metal poles by a bridge beside the Don River

below: Oak leaves

leaves on a small oak tree have turned a rusty red colour around the edges

below: Backs of houses overlooking the park

a white house up on a hill behind autumn trees that are starting to lose their leaves

below: A chickadee holding onto a dead flower as it eats the seeds.

chicakdee holding onto dead flower as it eats the seeds

chicakdee holding onto dead flower as it eats the seeds

below: Fish. Yes there are fish in the Don River, about 21 species apparently. This one, salmon?, although large is unfortunately also dead. Over the past 30 years the Don River has received a lot of TLC which has helped to reduce the level of industrial pollution as well as the amount of litter and trash found along the banks.

a large dead fish has washed up onto the sandy shore of the Don River

below: We were told “It’s not the best time” when we asked if we could continue on the trail. South of here the trail is a construction zone. Eventually (soon? I may have visited a little too soon?) the path will join with those farther south so that there will be a continuous trail from Lawrence to the lake. In the meantime, this is Wynford. You can exit here, or retrace your steps back to Lawrence. Next time!

two people with their backs to the camera stand on a path and watch a digger in front of them, there is a bridge over the creek ahead and workmen have parked their truck on the bridge, autumn colours in the trees around them.

path through the woods, autumn

three dried berries on a shrub with one red leaf, autumn