Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Toronto's High Park

Most major cities seem to have at least one large signature park - in Toronto it is High Park in the west end of the city. Through much of the city, the terrain rises fairly gradually from the shore of Lake Ontario but, in the west, the topography is more rugged. Where High Park is located, it is separated from the shore of Lake Ontario by the Queen Elizabeth Parkway, Lakeshore Boulevard. and the railway tracks for the GO, passenger, and freight trains. The park is large and extends all the way from Lakeshore West to Bloor Street. Just north of Bloor is a station on the east/west Bloor/Danforth line and it is usually that station that I use when coming to and from the park. Upon entering - while the woods can be seen ahead and to the right and left - the immediate sight is of manicured lawns and flower beds.
It is April and these, of course, are tulips Nearby was another tulip bed with a weird sculpture planted at the edge of it.
While growing up I heard about the magnolia tree but only in relation to the South of the United States and it took a few years before I realized that the trees which I saw here with magnificent flowers for a short space of time in the spring were magnolias! I saw two such trees in High Park on that April visit and here is a photo of one of them.
This is a little one - a larger one was a few yards further on.
A little further on - and down in a little valley - is a small zoo. The current mayor wants to get rid of this zoo in his attempt to 'cut the gravy' but an outcry from citizens was loud and long (the main Toronto Zoo is miles away in the northeast area of the city) so this little zoo has been maintained. One criticism that I have is that the barrier fences are rather high and block some good photographic opportunities. However, I did take some photos.
Some members of the goat family but, unfortunately, I did not label the photo so to be able to identify them accurately.
A peacock
Mountain Sheep
A bison with her calf
Two Yaks
Not only were there tulips and magnolias in blossom - but forsythia as well.
A stream flowing past the new vegetation.
Near the southern edge of the park are cherry trees. As, in my mind, cherry blossoms are associated with Japan,. I felt that it was appropriate that I include this Oriental couple in the photo.
Beneath the cherry trees there was a fairly extensive patch of wildflowers growing in the lawn.
The three photos above are of a stream flowing through that part of the park and the vegetation growing beside the water.
Also seen around Toronto in the spring are these lovely trees - I have no idea as to the name.
An early arrival in Toronto - then named York - was a well-off English gentleman who built himself a fairly commodious house in what is now known as High Park. Upon his passing he willed his estate to the city to be maintained in perpetuity. The house is named 'Colborne Lodge'.
Another tulip bed.
More flowering trees and shrubs.
Almost the entire western side of High Park is occupied by Grenadier Pond. This is a great place to watch waterfowl - ducks, Canada geese and swans live there. I love it when I chance to witness some drama among the wildlife. For instance, a pair of swans had a nest among the reeds at the north end of the pond. While I watched, a gander swam over there only to be met by a very irate cob (male swan) who came charging out of the reeds with wings flapping, beak hissing and the water churning. Needless to say, the goose did not linger long!
Here is the swan after "Mission Accomplished" And, in a bush near where I took the last shown photo, was a red-wing blackbird
This is a photo of the marsh at the end of the pond - and one last photo of the vegetation reflected in the creek that appears to be the main source for the water in the pond.

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