Posts Tagged ‘river’

 

paved path through a park, grass on both sides, on the pavement is a large white arrow, hand drawn with white spray paint

I went east this afternoon, out to the boondocks. Whenever I think of the word ‘boondock’, I hear it sung to music. Billy Joe Royal sang the song ‘Down in the Boondocks” in 1965 (You can find it on youtube).   Boondock is one of the few words that English has borrowed from Tagalog where bundok = mountain.  Yo-yo is another.   I don’t mean to be derogatory but when you’re battling Toronto traffic, Bellamy and Lawrence seems like a long, long way.

I drove but as I subsequently walked along Lawrence Ave., I wondered about buses and public transit and all the talk about a subway to Scarborough.   The Sheppard East LRT will service Scarborough to the north of here but has it even been started yet?    For now there is the Lawrence West station on the Scarborough RT but there is also talk of replacing the Scarborough RT line – that plan is still on the Metrolinx website but does anyone know what’s really happening?

looking across the street to a bus shelter that is in front of a strip mall with cars parked in front of the stores

two large utility poles side by side beside a sidewalk and a bus shelter. Two people waiting for a bus

Perhaps you’ve been asking yourself, why Bellamy and Lawrence?  Recently I had heard about Taber Hill Park and a rock that sits on top of a hill.

a large rock wits on a stone and concrete platform on the top of a grassy hill, Taber Hill memorial

The plaque reads: “TABER HILL site of an ancient Indian ossuary of the Iroquois Nation, burials were made about 1250 A.D. This ossuary was uncovered when farm lands were developed into residential properties in 1956. This common grave contains the remains of approximately 472 persons. Dedicated as a historical site by the Township of Scarborough October 21, 1961.

below: You can even see the CN Tower from the top of the hill.

view from the top of a hill, street, houses, trees, and the CN Tower in the far distance

After Taber Hill I walked to Bendale Park which is just a bit west of Bellamy.

One of the first things that I saw in Bendale Park was a mural by elicser. It is on the walls of the bridge where Lawrence Avenue passes over the West Highland Creek. The mural is beside the path under the bridge. A better angle for a photo of the whole mural would have been from the other side of the creek but I couldn’t find any access – and I wasn’t about to take off my shoes and go wading!  Instead, here are four pictures of parts of the mural.

part of an elicser mural beside West Highland Creek, under Lawrence Ave., a man in a white t-shirt sitting beside a tree

part of an elicser mural beside West Highland Creek, under Lawrence Ave., an older man in a red shirt with a white beard and moustache, beside him is a girl reading (in the mural)

part of an elicser mural beside West Highland Creek, under Lawrence Ave., a young couple, she has a pink flower in her hair

part of an elicser mural beside West Highland Creek, under Lawrence Ave., a couple, she has long braids

Bendale Park merges with Thomson Memorial Park.  Immediately north of these parks is St. Andrews Bendale Presbyterian church (that I have mentioned in a previous blog post – see link).  This is one of the first areas of Scarborough to be settled; the original St. Andrews Church was built in 1818.

below: Lilac bush in bloom. Lilacs are not native to Canada and they don’t grow in the wild. If you see a lilac bush in places like this, or along the road, chances are someone once had a home here and they planted the lilac.

lilac bush

below: Another pink flower found in abundance in the ravines at this time of year is this one, Dame’s Rocket, or Hesperis matronalis.    There is also a white variety

pink wild flowers

small word path through long grass and between large leafy trees

below: Passing through here is the Gatineau Corridor which is a bike trail ….

bike trail direction signs, Gatineau Corridor, right turn to McCowan Ave and left turn to Brimley Rd

well, actually it is a hydro corridor which runs diagonally through the city from Leaside in the west to  Meadowvale and beyond in the east.  In the late 1920’s the Great Gatineau Power Station was built in Leaside as a transformer station to enable the city to use electricity generated in Quebec and delivered via this corridor to provide power to the city.  There is still a hydro substation at Millwood and Overlea (in Leaside)

This corridor is being turned into a park called the Meadoway.   Sections of the park and bike trail are finished including this part between Brimley and McCowan.  When it’s finished, this linear park will be 16 km long and will connect the Lower Don Trail to trails in Rouge Park at the city’s eastern boundary.

three very tall hydro poles with many electrical wires, in a park, man walking on path near them

below: Reflections in the West Highland Creek

reflections of green leaves and blue sky in water

below: I saw quite a few red wing blackbirds, especially around the bulrushes and reeds in the wetter places in the park.

a red wing blackbird sits on a branch

below: The last time I walked I saw a McLaren (next blog post), today it was these flashy bright gold things!

a red van parked beside a silver coloured car with bright gold coloured wheel rims

below: More car stuff, but this time it’s my car as I was driving home.

view out the passenger window of a car, of a large flatbed truck loaded with lumber, in the side mirror of the car is the reflection of a TTC bus

signoutside St. Rose de Lima Roman Catholic Church advertising Vietnamese Mass on Sunday afternoons

… but I’ll be back. There is a lot more to this part of the city that I want to explore, including this mosque just east of Midland Avenue.

a mosque

***

 

On the back of the rock on Taber Hill is another plaque which reads:

IROQUOIS PRAYER
O Great Spirit whose voice I hear in the winds and whose breath gives life to all the world, Hear me.
I am a man before you, one of your many children. I am small and weak. I need your strength and wisdom. Let me walk in beauty and make my eyes ever behold the red and purple sunsets. Make my hands respect the things you have made, my ears sharp to hear your voice. Make me wise so that I may know the things that you have hidden in every leaf and rock. I seek strength O Creator, not to be superior to my brothers but to be able to fight my creators enemies myself. Make me ever ready to come to you with clean hands and straight eye so that when life fades as the setting sunset my spirit may come to you without shame.
credit: White Cloud, Approved by Iroquois Council 2-2-60.

 

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.

street art painting of a blue fish on light blue background, stylized

Today I walked the southern part of the Lower Don River trail.  It’s not the most relaxing place to walk even though the path follows the river.  I have a habit of absentmindedly meandering and I didn’t want to meander right into a cyclist on the narrow shared path.   There was constant background noise from the cars and trucks on the nearby Don Valley Parkway but it was the GO trains that made the most noise as they rumbled right beside me.  Yes, you are correct, it’s not my favorite place to walk.  But I also knew that there was a reward near the end of the trail.

Near the ‘mouth of the Don River’ (in reality, where the Don River turns into the Keating Channel), there are some new murals on the bents supporting the ramps between the DVP and the Gardiner Expressway.  They are part of the Love Letter to the Great Lakes project.   A previous blog post, love letters in paint, concerned the murals from this project that were painted near Ossington and Queen West.

below: If you approach the area from the north, this is the first bent that you see.  All sides of it have been painted by Kirsten McCrea.  If you are driving south on the Don Valley Parkway and you exit to the Gardiner westbound, you drive right over this, and the next few, bents.  In case you haven’t guessed, a bent is that concrete support thingy holding up the road.

a bent supporting an offramp has been covered in a bright mural, grass and weeds grow in front, the river is behind, a small tree also in the picture

below: The other side of the McCrea mural is in the background, behind the bent that has been painted by PA System (Patrick Thompson and Alexa Hatanaka).  Amongst the swirly watery  shapes there is a face near the top.  Extra bit: The guy on the bike stopped to take a photo too.

A swirl of colours makes a mural of faces and hands and watery things, on a bent under the Don Valley Parkway

below: The other side of the PA System bent. A large fish fits perfectly in the upper portion while a hand reaches up from the vertical part.

A very large fish is painted across the top of a bent, and a hand is on the vertical part, with finger tips pointed upwards.

below: The work of MC Baldassari who is currently from Montreal.

concrete support, or bent, under a ramp has been painted with a mural based on a large dark blue triangle

below:  The other side of the above bent.  It looks like the woman has come through the pillar.

concrete support, or bent, under a ramp has been painted with a mural based on a woman's head coming through a large dark blue triangle

below: A woman with a mouse in her hand and a flower in her hair kneels beside the foxes,
a mural painted by EGR (Erica Balon).   In the background you can see a much taller bent that has been painted blue.   This bent is on a different ramp, the ramp that you would find yourself on if you were driving east on the Gardiner and then exiting to the DVP.  It has been painted by Jason Botkin and it includes the word Wonscotanach.  Apparently that was the First Nations name for the river before John Graves Simcoe came along in 1790 and decided to call it the Don River.

A mural on a bent in an underpass, a young woman is kneeling. She is holding a mouse in one hand. Two foxes stand beside her.

below: There are more animals on the other sides, along with a city lit up in the night in the background of the mural.   Raccoon, rabbit and a pink butterfly fluttering past.

2 bents covered with murals. In the foreground, the mural is dark blue, with a pink butterfly, a rabbit, a mouse and a raccoon.

woman holding a mouse in a mural on a bent in the foreground, with another bent in the background, a mural of water and topless red women walking or standing in the water

below: Rajni Perera‘s mural features red and yellow women walking or standing in the water.

part of a mural of water and topless red women either walking or standing in the water

below: Looking back

a cyclist rides past 4 bents under the Don Valley Parkway that have been painted with murals as part of the Love Letter to the Great Lakes project.

below: A collaborative effort by Jarus and Kwest beside the Don Valley trail, just north of the other murals.

large sea creature painted on a mural on a concrete wall.

below:  And one last photo before leaving the area… a quick note sprayed on a concrete support.

rough spray painted words 'Hi Love' on a concrete support on a railing by a river.

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.