Friday, 28 December 2012

West Humber River - Toronto

One day I dropped by the Information Desk in the rotunda of Toronto City Hall to ask if any more 'Discovery Walk' maps had been published. While chatting with the clerk I mentioned that I loved walking/hiking and exploring the city on foot. Upon hearing that she said, "Oh!" and grabbed some documents from another shelf. In that bundle of papers was a two-sided detailed map of all of the hiking and bicycle paths in the city. As this gave me many new options in planning hikes - I felt that  I had won the jackpot!

Already I was quite familiar with the hikes in the city core so I looked towards the boundaries for more ideas. Up in the northwest corner of the city is Humber College (one of numerous colleges which are strewn around the City and suburbs). It is above the valley which was carved by the West Humber River and the map showed a path extending all the way from Steeles Avenue West down to where it met the parent stream - Humber River - at Scarlett Road. That would be my next hike!

I took the subway west to Kipling Station where I transferred to the northbound Kipling Avenue bus for a long ride up to Steeles  Avenue and another transfer to that bus. After delays a bus finally arrived at Kipling and Steeles and, finally, I arrived at Humber College - only I alighted at the wrong stop and had blocks of suburbia to walk through before I finally reached the banks of the stream.

                      The West Humber River with the Steeles Avenue West bridge in the background.

I really do not like 'retracing steps' but that is what I had to do in order to hike along the river bank from top (that is - from where it crossed from York Region into the city proper) to bottom.

                                      The West Humber flowing under the Steeles Avenue bridge
                                           Looking back towards the bridge.

As you may have noted already - that is an area of natural vegetation so there were lots of wildflowers.

                                                                 More wildflowers

As many of you know, I lived in Australia for a number of years so, when I came upon this, I was quite bemused.

Well, Toronto is a multicultural city and that includes Australians!

The walk was a very pleasant one and the bicycle path wandered in and out of the forest. At one point I looked across the valley and could see some of the campus buildings.

The pathway did cross the stream from time to time and this is one of the bicycle/walking bridges. The red building that can be glimpsed over the trees and shrubs to the left is a part of the campus.

                                                            Bucolic beauty

                                                              More wildflowers.

                                                               The pathway that beckons

                                                The pathway meanders down the valley

At this spot I saw a groundhog/woodchuck but, by the time I got my camera ready, it had disappeared into its burrow under those shrubs.

                                       The river as seen through the bull rushes.

Ordinary 'spray can' graffiti leaves me cold but I am awed by the art created by folk with spray cans - and, usually, in underpasses. The next three photos are of the artwork created in the Islington Avenue underpass.

Lester B. Pearson International Airport is only a few miles west northwest of where I was so I found myself walking beneath the flight path for departing aircraft.

                       The Air Canada aircraft is about to fly past the jet trail left by another airplane.

                                                           To me - this is a beautiful vista!

I was not quite at the point which I was aiming for but I came upon a bus route so I caught the next one to the Wilson Subway Station and came home. One last view of the Humber West River.

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