Posts Tagged ‘path’

A trip to Toronto Islands on a sunny spring day.
Photos and stories – an eclectic mix of history and nature that resulted from wandering around the eastern portion of the islands.

below: From the ferry, looking toward the glass and steel of the city.

sail boats in Inner Harbour of Lake Ontario, in front of the Toronto skyline with highrises and skyscrapers also ship moored at Redpath Sugar refinery

Toronto Islands is a collection of at least 12 small islands.  In the early years the island archipelago was really a peninsula of sandbars and ponds; it was connected to the mainland by a narrow strip of sandy shoreline. This landform was created over centuries by the action of waves, winds and lake currents – washing away portions of the Scarborough Bluffs and depositing this material to the west in a five-mile-long hooked shape. This process of natural “landscaping” continued until the spring of 1858, when a particularly powerful hurricane created a channel four to five feet deep through the peninsula.  By June of that year, the Eastern Gap was a waterway, and the Toronto Islands came into being.

below: On the ferry between the city and Centre Island.

people lined up along the front railing of a ferry from Centre Island to the city of Toronto, looking at skyline and taking picture of it. Toronto is in the background.

The first buildings on the islands were the Blockhouse Bay garrison built in the 1794 by the British at Gibraltar Point – it included a blockhouse and storage structures.  A second blockhouse and a guard house were built soon after, only to be destroyed by the Americans in the Battle of York in April 1813.   The lighthouse at Gibraltar Point built in 1809 still stands (sorry, no photo).

In 1833 Michael O’Connor built a hotel on one the islands.  He used a horse-drawn boat to ferry customers across from the mainland to his hotel.  At that time, there was still access by road but it was a toll road.  In 1836 it cost sixpence for every four-wheeled carriage drawn by two horses.  Smaller ‘vehicles’ paid less.   In 1858 the hotel (now Quinns Hotel) was destroyed during the same hurricane that turned the peninsula into an island.  The hotels were destroyed but the islands remained popular.  With no road access, ferries were needed and many people ran private ferry services until they were bought out or amalgamated into the Toronto Ferry Company in 1892.  It was privately owned until 1926 when it was purchased by the City of Toronto for $337,500.

ferry, ceiling is full of orange life jackets, railings along edge, Lake Ontario, benches to sit on but no people

blue abstract from two blue doors with cut out where handle should be

Many houses and businesses, (hotels, restaurants, bowling alley, laundry, theatre etc) were established over the years from Hanlon’s Point in the west to Wards Island in the east.   Today, residences are only in the eastern section of Wards Island and on Algonquin Island.

The Ward’s Island community began in the 1880s as a settlement of tents. Up until then, that eastern end of the islands was mostly wetlands.  The first summer colony on Ward’s in 1899 consisted of just eight tenants, each of whom had paid a fee of $10 rent for the season. The number of tents grew each year.  In 1913, the city felt it necessary to organize the community into streets. The evolution from tents to cottage structures progressed in stages with the building of floors, the addition of kitchens and then porches, resulting in the creation of the homes.

two houses on Wards Island, small wood housses, one bright blue and the other is white

grey wood siding on house with white door and small porch. Two yellow and metal chairs on the porch

In 1953 the municipal government changed their policy toward the Toronto Islands landscape and its residents. Businesses were removed and the systematic demolition and burning of homes began.  More of the islands became parkland.    There are 262 houses on Wards and Algonquin Islands today, down from about 630 residences on all the islands.  The last of the Lakeshore houses was removed in 1968 but traces of them still remain.

wood boardwalk along the foreground of the photo with a concrete path leading away from it, into an overgrown area

part of old concrete breakwater, once there was house here, number 170 embedded in the concrete

below: The pier on the Lake Ontario side.

metal fence in the foreground, beach, pier and Lake Ontario in the middle and background

below: Sandbags along the shore.  Last spring there was a lot of flooding here and the island was closed to visitors – sort of.  Ferries didn’t run and the park facilities were closed.  The islands are very flat and low so it doesn’t take much extra water to flood.

large white sandbags along the shore, beach on the other side, Lake Ontario in background with a row of rocks as breakwater a short distance from the shore, sign on the beach

sign fallen over and under water, surrounded by rocks, Lake Ontario

below: There is a small amusement park, Centreville, on Centre Island.

CN tower in the background, people on the Skyline ride at Centre Island passing over water, with large boats docked farther up the river

below: Island transport that can be rented if you don’t want to walk.

people cycling in 2 quadricycles, a four wheeled bicycle like vehicle, on paths,

the orange and white wall tile pattern of Pizza Pizza with a red bike parked in front of it.

below: Boats moored QCYC (Queen City Yacht Club), one of the three yacht clubs on the islands.

sailboats moored at a wood dock, QCYC

below: Sakura trees in bloom.   The trees were donated by the Sakura Project.  The aim of this project was to strengthen Japanese Canadian relations by planting cherry trees in visible locations across Ontario.   Between 2000 and 2012,  3,082 trees were planted at 58 locations.  The trees on Centre Island were planted in 2011.

path, sakura (cherry) trees on either side with their pink and white blossoms, other large trees around them with pale green of new leaves

below: Catkins from a red alder tree.  They almost look like raspberries packed tight together.

red fuzzy blossoms droop from the end of a tree branch

new yellowish green flowers on a tree, also leaf buds just opening,

ants in the bud on a tree

below: An early family of Canada geese.

family of Canada geese, 2 adults and 7 or 8 fluffy little goslings swimming in the water

below: The pier at the eastern end of Wards Island is bad need of repair.  To the right is the entry into the Eastern Channel (or Eastern Gap).

broken concrete pier into Inner Harbour of Lake Ontario, with Toronto skyline and CN Tower in the distance

below: Looking over to Algonquin Island.  Once upon a time this island was just a sandbar.

waterway, orange life ring and ladder on one side of the river, houses and docks, and boats on the other. r

two people standing on the shore of Center Island, looking at the Toronto skyline and taking pictures of it.

and back to the mainland.

people exiting a ferry, from above

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.

They aren’t easily seen from any street but there are now 20 colourful figures leaping and dancing their way along the west side of Bridgepoint Hospital.   You will encounter them if you walk on the path that runs between Gerrard East and Riverdale Park.

below:  Perched high above the Don Valley, they run, jump, leap, dance and celebrate movement of the human form.  They are sculptures by Canadian artist Bill Lishman (with help from Richard Vanheuvelan).

brightly coloured sculptures of figures in various active poses, made of loosely woven metal, a purple woman leaping, an orange man on his back about to catch of blue woman who is leaping head first through the air, and others as well, along the side of a building, the DVP runs beside in the background and the Bloor Viaduct bridge across the valley is in the distance

below: A yellow goggle-wearing snowboarder leaping over the bushes is the first sculpture you come across if you are walking up the path from Riverdale Park.

yellow metal sculpture of a young man in goggles

below: Two of the twenty different figures form ‘The Lambada’ (a dance style originating in Brazil in the 1980’s) by Richard Vanheuvelan.

a purple male figure in metal sculpture is dancing with a woman made of red metal, she is bending backwards while he supports her.

below: More dance, this time ballet in red, blue and purple.   Strength and grace.

sculptures of three figures in ballet poses, one in blue metal, one in red metal and one in purple. Dancing in a garden outdoors

below: ‘The Three Muses’ pose overlooking the city.

outdoor sculptures of three women dancing, one is red metal, one is orange metal and the last is yellow metal. Downtown TOronto skyline is in the distance

top part of a blue metal sculpture of a man, showing his head, with long hair flowing out behind, one arm raised. The glass windows of a building are behind him, outdoors,

The sculptures were a generous gift from the Tauba and Solomon Spiro Foundation and were originally designed in memory of businessman and philanthropist, Max Tanenbaum (1909-1983).

 

 

More art under another bridge over the Humber Recreational Trail, this time as the trail passes under St. Phillips Road (near Weston Rd and the 401).

Painted by Gabriel Specter and Dan Bergeron, it represents the energy of a hurricane.  Sixty years ago Hurricane Hazel was responsible for flooding of the Humber River that killed people and destroyed many homes.

below:  A purple graphic representation of a cyclone beside swirling water is the backdrop for the red slinky-like spiraling energy of the hurricane.

Mural of swirling water and a tangled spiral shape in red representing a hurrican rising from the eye of the storm upwards to the underside of the road

This spiral crosses under the road and connects the two side murals.

Mural on a concrete support of a bridge over a trail.  rocks on blue, with a tangled spiral shape in red representing a hurricane rising from the rocks (or ending at the rocks) and passing upwards to the under side of the road above.

part of a mural under a bridge -  a tangled spiral shape in red representing a hurrican rising from the eye of the storm upwards to the underside of the road

Fourteen murals are planned along the route of the Pan Am Path, a trail that will connect Brampton to Pickering running south along the Humber River and then east along Lake Ontario.

signs along the HUmber Recreational trail indicating the name of the trail, the cycle path number that it is, the fact that it is also the Pan Am Path, and lastly a sign that says dogs must be on a leash.

All bridges have a character of their own including the Glen Road bridge.

below: Looking east toward Glen Road from the Beltline Trail that follows the Yellow Creek.  Photo taken a couple of weeks ago just before the leaves started growing.

trail beside a creek in a ravine with lots of trees in early spring before there are any leaves on the trees.  A woman is walking two dogs on the trail and in the distance there is a bridge over the ravine.

The following photos were taken under the north side of the bridge. On the day that I was there, it was impossible to cross the creek – something to do in the future!

graffiti on the concrete supports under a bridge - words 'power to the creative people"
graffiti on the concrete supports under a bridge - large symbol with eye, yellow sun and serpent like shapes, high on a pillar up near the green metal girders of the bridge

graffiti on the concrete supports under a bridge - looking up from under the bridge - some graffiti on the concrete pillars but they are hidden behind the green metal girders.

graffiti on the concrete supports under a bridge - stencil of a little green alien and the words, "I want to believe"

graffiti on the concrete supports under a bridge - along the back wall, mostly tags, one picture of a man's face that has a big grey X through it.  On the ground in a corner is a mattress covered with a blanket or sleeping bag.

graffiti on the concrete supports under a bridge - tags around the base of the pillars

whos yo daddy? graffiti

graffiti under a bridge

graffiti on the concrete supports under a bridge - colourful tags.  Some are older and are starting to peel

graffiti on the concrete supports under a bridge - a pile of trash beside graffiti covered sections of the bridge

St. Clair Ave East passes over a ravine just east of Yonge St. 

a view of the bridge from a path in the ravine from a short distance away.  It is winter so there is some snow and ice on the path and the trees have no leaves.

Looking south towards St. Clair

The Yellow Creek flows through this ravine.
To the north, the creek is underground until the south side of Mount Pleasant cemetery. 

A view under the bridge, looking from one side to the other across a creek.  The curved metal supports under the bridge are visible.  There is snow on the ground but the creek is not frozen.

The ground was slippery and the water in the creek was flowing quickly. 
  In other words, I didn’t cross over to the other side of the bridge.

At some point in the past year the graffiti that was under this bridge must have been “cleaned up”.  Since then, new tags have appeared.
Whether they are an improvement over what was there previously is a matter of opinion.

looking up towards the top of a bridge from a path along the ravine below.  two concrete supports are visible as well as part of the road way across the top of the bridge.  There is a graffiti tag on one of the supports.

southwest corner of the bridge

Two colourful tags on a concrete bridge support, each one is on a different side of the support

SORT and BEGIN

Graffiti tags under a bridge

Graffiti tags under a bridge

I ventured out to Etobicoke because I heard that Centennial Park had a conservatory and I was curious about what was there. Taking photos of flowers and plants is not my forte but it was an interesting place to experiment with colour, texture and composition. I do not know the names of most of the plants that I saw there, and very few were labelled. There were geraniums, anthuriums (red & white), bougainvillea, bamboo, lots of different cacti and succulents, to name a few.  The photos below represent only a sample of what was growing there today. 

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pink bouganvillea
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blog_plant_purple

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a greenhouse room full of different kinds of cacti
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blog_plant_hanging

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red geraniums

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blog_plant_new

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green and white jagged edged leaves.

blog_plant_red

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blog_plants_curls
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blog_plant_tree