Thursday, 27 September 2012

Tommy Thompson Park (aka Leslie St. Spit) Toronto

I believe that the original 'Leslie Street Spit' has been in existence for a long time. However, over the past number of years it has become a 'dumping ground' for material excavated from new building sites in the downtown core. During the week (Monday to Friday) access to Tommy Thompson Park is restricted to dump trucks carrying excavated material but - on weekends and holidays - it is open to the public.

Tommy Thompson was a member of the much revered group of artists who painted up north in the Muskoka and Haliburton Districts becoming known as the 'Group of Seven'. He was from Toronto and his life ended in a murder which has never been solved.

I have been corrected - the park was NOT named after the artist but after another Tommy Thompson who was a Parks Commissioner for the City of Toronto.

There is a paved roadway extending about three-quarters of the way down the isthmus and there are well-used dirt paths following the shoreline. There are no formal gardens nor lawns but natural vegetation and the creatures who live in that sort of terrain. As I walked along I saw one of those creatures making slow progress across the roadway.
Yes - a snail. Often I have wondered if the creature made it safely to the opposite side - or was it annihilated by the wheels of a truck - or eaten by a predator stumbling upon it?

From material amongst the rubble left by the trucks some enterprising folk have created amateur 'inukshuks'. Interesting - but not as neat (to my eyes) as those created by the Inuit (Eskimo) people of the Far North.
The piece of land seen in the left background is a part of Ashbridge's Bay Park - also largely created from excavated material.

 I did notice a view that caught my eye - an interestingly shaped tree growing along the shoreline. If you click on the photo to enlarge it you will note a while speck at the end of one of the small branches. That was a seagull flying out over the lake presumably looking for something to eat.
During the hikes I witnessed one of the two animal phenomena that have not been received universally by the public. The first are cormorants - not naturally indigenous to this area - and a fish called 'alewives'. The latter are native to Africa and are suspected to have arrived here courtesy of bilge water being illegally dumped into the lake by a captain of a freighter. Cormorants love to catch and eat alewives but bring upon themselves the wrath of some people because they tend to strip the leaves off of the trees where they roost. The next photo is of a flock of cormorants flying in to land.
The following photo was taken across a marsh to a grove of trees where the cormorants were roosting. You will note that the branches of those trees are nearly denuded of leaves.
Continuing on my walk I came to a place where a small body of water nearly severs the spit. In that pond an industrious beaver had built its lodge.
As I continued my walk I noticed some great views of the downtown skyline.
This second view was taken further along near where the cormorants roosted.
Just as near the Brickworks, an iris bulb came along with a load of landfill and then took root.
Also, there was another blossom that must have 'hitched' a ride on a truck - I have just been informed that it is a zinnia!
These are wildflowers - and the white ones are - I believe - Queen Anne's lace.
The trail finishes at the end of the spit and at the foot of an abandoned lighthouse which is beginning to look quite derelict.
A closeup of the lighthouse.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Ernie I really enjoyed your blog. I never knew this piece of history re Tom Thompson. Re the flowers: iris, zinnia I believe, and definitely Queen Anne's Lace. Great blog. G.