Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Toronto Brickwords

I will be inter-mixing articles about Toronto with California locations as I go along.

When I arrived in Toronto the Toronto Brickworks was in the process of closing down and that area converted into an ecological center. The Brickworks had been there since Toronto was first founded - a hill near the back of the property was, more or less, composed of clay - the material from which bricks were created. That area is down in the Don Valley and on the west side of the river. It is well removed from the built up area so, except for the view of houses on top of the opposite bank and the hum from the freeway on the other side of the river, one could think that he/she is in the country.

 I live in the downtown area of the city and I can walk from my apartment to the brickworks in half an hour. The first part of the walk is along busy city streets until I arrive at a much used path leading down to the valley bottom. While the first one third of the walk is through the noise of constant traffic, the rest is through the forest with the dominant sound being that of birds. From the condition of the path, it is well used yet I rarely encounter others as I hike along.

Upon arriving at the bottom of the slope - and crossing another path that leads up to the city's major cemetery - the path turns north along an arterial route. A part of that route has been used as a landfill dumping site and there I encountered an anomaly - an iris in full bloom!

The Brickworks can be accessed by road or the trail that I use. There is a stairway that connects the walking path with the rear of what is now an ecological center. The international charity - 'Ecojustice' - is one of the organizations maintaining offices there.

First - the hill out back from which the clay was 'mined'.

 This pond is only one of a series - and they have been stocked with fish. I was amused on one visit when I saw a young family who had brought some bread. The children were tossing the pieces of bread out towards a pair of mallard ducks only to see each piece disappearing before the ducks could reach it. Upon going closer and peering into the murky water I saw a flash of reddish gold - large goldfish (carp) taking advantage of the largesse.

                        The hopeful pair of mallards - the carp are lurking just below the surface.

The property is laced by boardwalks and, from being an ugly brickyard, it has become a place of beauty.

 By looking at the above photo, one would not know that this is near the downtown core of a major city!

                                                      The Brickworks Eco-center

A creek runs along beside the path which passes just above the Eco-center

                         A pleasant way to spend a couple of hours on a nice afternoon.

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