Monday, 4 June 2012

Strolling Down the Don Valley

As mentioned before, there are four small rivers which flow through the City of Toronto and into Lake Ontario. All of these valleys are parkland basically and through them are paved bicycle/walking paths. The valley that is the closest to downtown Toronto is the Don which I have hiked many times - both up and down. The photos which I  am sharing here are from the north to the south. Toronto has a vast commuter system so, in order to reach a point to begin a walk (or to return from one) it means taking the subway and bus to the handiest access point.

Alighting from a city bus I was  across a street from the park entrance to what was known as Edwards Gardens (now it is named 'The Toronto Botanical Gardens').

A second formal garden.

Actually, the gardens are along Wilkett Creek - a tributary of the Don. In the foreground is the walking/bicycle path with the little arced bridge leading across to the far bank where a pathway leads one up to a residential street..

                                    Below the little bridge there were some mallard ducks.

Where the path left the formal gardens I looked back and saw this view.

The bicycle paths are beautiful to walk along - except for some cyclists who seem to be moving far too fast. Therefore, there are signs stating that the speed limit is 20 KMH - ignored by many of the younger set traveling on two wheels!

Just before the bicycle path enters the forest, there is a lovely stairway leading up to the greenhouses, tea room and amenities

Upon exiting the park the trail meanders through the woods along the creek bank to where it flows into the Don River (there the vegetation is mainly mowed lawns for picnicking and games).

This walk was in late summer and a young maple tree was exhibiting leaves that were changing color.

                                                Wilkett Creek flowing through the forest

                                        Wilkett Creek near where it joins the West Don River

The Don River begins its journey north of the city proper. While the Humber - a larger stream - flows through manicured parkland most of the way,  the Don River valley is not as developed. Actually, Wilkett Creek flows into the West Don River which joins the east branch where the Don Valley Parkway comes down into the valley and continues on to near the shore of Lake Ontario where the traffic turns west to the city core.

                                                                The West Don River

From the above point on to near the Parkway the route is through an area of mowed grass and, where the two parts of the Don flow into each other, the terrain returns to being natural vegetation.

Further down the valley there is a cloverleaf exit from the Parkway. On one hike I passed under the overpasses and continued on through a stretch where the river was on my immediate right. For a few hundred yards a view of the river was blocked by a thick growth of young trees and shrubs. Passing that, however, I was awed by seeing the river again and, on a sandbar, were two white tailed deer drinking river water. This was practically in the middle of the city! Unfortunately, I did not have my camera with me that time. Darn!

I was friends with a guy who owned a wonderful golden retriever. At that time Glenn was working at the Toolbox and, often, I would walk Napoleon while his human was away. One Sunday Glenn was working during the brunch period and, when the time was near for him to be off work, I collected Napoleon from the apartment and walked down the valley to meet Glenn (he would have walked a few blocks from the Toolbox to where Queen Street crossed the river and descend by a staircase to the bicycle path). Upon meeting I turned around and walked with Glenn to where we could access his neighborhood. As we walked Glenn and I were talking and, occasionally, stopping while we chatted. As far as Napoleon was concerned, the river was there as his private swimming pool. He became impatient with us so went into the river.

At that point the path climbs a slope up to the edge of the freeway and then descends again. When we were near the top Glenn whistled and Napoleon came running up the slope dripping water from his fur. We were deep in conversation about something or other and did not move on so Napoleon became impatient, turned around, and loped back down to the river bank. A moment later we heard him yelp and ran down the slope to investigate. Napoleon  met us and he was limping. Glenn examined him and found a wound in the dog's groin. I realized that, just before Napoleon yelped, I had heard a splash - there was a beaver in the river and, as it was spring, in all likelihood she had a litter of pups to which Napoleon was deemed to be a threat!

A beaver in the river only a few miles from the downtown core?

Glenn took Napoleon to the vet who examined him and determined that the wound was a superficial one. She treated it with antibiotics and sent him home.

Deer and a beaver in the middle of the city!

No comments:

Post a Comment