Saturday, April 20, 2014
Islington Avenue and Finch Avenue.
It was a sunny morning around 3 degrees C. The first part of the hike was in the south-west corner of the intersection. This is a small area where there is fairly recent growth with lots of underbrush. We found an old culvert set in shale rocks in the brush. The roadway that passed over it would have run north-south parallel to Islington. Aside from the culvert, we saw plenty of deer tracks in the woods.
Crossing Finch, we hiked in the north-west corner of the intersection. Here there is an old roadway which has been closed off from its connection with Finch Ave. Research from the Toronto Archive aerial photographs shows this area was closed off between 1983 and 1992, likely when Finch was extended across the river.
A large deer, likely a buck was seen climbing the hill to the west of the old road. We didn’t see it again but there are lots of trails littered with piles of deer poop. We also saw the carcass of a dead animal, perhaps a beaver. Lots of birds were seen including woodpeckers, robins, ducks and geese. High up in the trees we could see that the buds were out but at ground level, there was still no sign of new growth.
1983 Aerial photo of Islington and Finch.
1992 Aerial photo of Islington and Finch
It has now been closed for about 25 years but it appears to be maintained at least enough that the broken trees from the Dec. 23, 2013 ice storm have been cleared away. On the south side of Finch all traces are lost except the culvert.
A little further along was found an older foot bridge across a side stream that runs through the ditch. This bridge is made of poured concrete with a layer of river rocks on the top which gives it its aged look.
An older pathway down from a school ground to the roadway has been totally overgrown. The lamp posts are all that mark the pathway.
(A return visit in October 2016, told the story of this site as the Country Hospital For Sick Children)
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