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Lakefront Promenade Park

Monday, February 17, 2019

Family Day in Ontario seemed like a good opportunity to get out and walk around Lakefront Promenade Park.  The park is operated by the City of Mississauga and Credit Valley Conservation Area.  It is 40 hectares in size and has marinas with slips for 170 boats.  Just to the east of the park was the Lakeview Generating Station.  It was commissioned in 1962 and operated for 43 years.  After it closed in 2005 it wasn’t long before it was demolished.  The four chimneys were known locally as the four sisters and they were demolished on June 12, 2006.  On June 28, 2007 the rest of the building was demolished.  The image below was taken from Wikipedia.


The site of the former generating station is now undergoing restoration which will eventually allow it to be developed.  A mixed use community is planned which could contain up to 20,000 people as well as having employment, commercial and parkland uses.


Barn swallows traditionally nested in caves but have adapted quite well to human built structures.  They became very common in barns throughout the province.  Now that the number of barns has been greatly reduced, the barn swallow has been listed as a species at risk.  The park has constructed these mini barns to encourage nesting because the swallows are important in controlling the mosquito population.



Lakefront Promenade Park has a splash pad for the children to enjoy on the warmer summer days.  It didn’t seem to be too popular on this sunny afternoon.  The water is activated when kids are under one of six play spouts and then is drained into a nearby wetland.  This allows the water to be filtered naturally before being released into the lake.


Waterfowl are far more likely to spend the winter in the GTA than they were twenty years ago.  The open water attracts swans, geese and several types of ducks.


Several times we observed  flocks of seagulls all in neat rows.  Of interest was the fact that they all stand facing the same direction to take advantage of the sun.  The seagulls in this picture are mostly asleep, their heads tucked up underneath their wings.



This flock of seagulls was standing on the end of the dock where Canada Customs operates an inspection station.  These birds had all been facing the same way and when they flew, they all took off in the same direction.


The trees around the shoreline were coated with a layer of ice from the spray coming off the lake.


Barn swallows build simple cup shaped nests out of mud.  They like to attach them to course wood surfaces.  These nests can take up to 1000 trips to build, carrying a small amount of mud in their beak each time.  All this work makes it practical for the birds to return to an old nest for another season.


Looking to the west you can see the Ridgetown, a ship which is partially sunk in the Port Credit harbour.  It forms the outer portion of the break wall at the mouth of the Credit River.  The story of the Ridgetown can be found at this link.


The walking was often tricky because there was a hard layer of ice below a couple of inches of loose snow.  We found a group of people taking advantage of a small slope to slide downhill on their boots.  Just past the final parking lot there is a short break wall that protects the marina.  As we approached the break wall we found a lady on the ground.  She had slipped, fallen and was convinced that her leg was broken.  Her husband was waiting in their vehicle and so my brother went first to retrieve him and then returned to the parking lot to direct the paramedics.  Meanwhile I waited with her and called 911.  Due to the ice underfoot it took all five of us to get her onto the stretcher.


The marina is being kept open by use of under water pipes that keep the water moving.  It keeps the water from freezing over and makes an interesting pattern on the surface.


The break wall that extends out from the east point is quite long compared to the western one and has a small light house on the end.


We watched a swan that was sitting on the ice in the bay.  As we watched it took flight and came toward us.  The cover photo shows the swan as it prepares to land.  The picture below is the very first point of contact as it touches down.


We often think that places we visit would be nice in another season so perhaps we’ll return to this one some day.

Google Maps link: Lakefront Promenade Park

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Graffiti Alley

Sunday, February 10, 2019

The idea of graffiti is not a new one.  When they uncovered Pompeii they found graffiti written on the walls from prior to the destrution of 79 A.D.  “Gaius was here, Oct. 3, 78 B.C.”, or at least the equivalent, was found as well as “Lucilla made money from her body”.  In modern urban centres it has been the bane of property owners who often pay to have it painted over only to find that they created a clean slate for the next vandal / artist.

One alley just south of Queen Street has become famous for the graffiti that runs for the entire length.  In 2011 the Queen Street West Business Association fought to have the stretch of alley between Spadina and Portland recognized as a legitimate street art exhibit.  A street sign on Spadina announces Graffiti Alley and the first painting lets you know you are at the start.


Every so often there is a 24-hour legal painting session held in the alley and the city has initiated a program called StART (Street ART Totonto) that is mapping legitimate street art.  The Islington Village Murals are a colourful example of community art projects.


Some of the paintings are quite a bit of fun like the lobster DJ below.


Some are a little more abstract and leave you wondering what the heck that guy is eating.  In other places along the alley we find people eating sandwiches, a popular motif in Toronto graffiti.


And then there is the pointless, like the blue circle around the window above the alley.  I guess the objective was to show it could be done.


Popular Toronto DJ Son of S.O.U.L. passed away in his sleep September 1, 2015, at the age of 44.  Toronto rapper King Reign died of a heart attack in 2016 at the age of 40.  The two of them are commemorated in the painting below.  The artist has asked for respect from others to keep from having it painted over.


These horses struck me as looking like carvings.  They seemed fitting as horses were originally the prime users of the lane way.  Shop keepers on Queen Street would keep their delivery wagons and teams in the alley behind their stores.


Once you cross Augusta Avenue the alley changes names and becomes Rush Lane.  Having grown up listening to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame band, I was hoping to see a portrait of Alex, Geddy and Neil but there wasn’t one.  The 1880 Goads Fire Insurance Map shows this as Rush Lane so I guess we can forget about it being in honour of the band.

Rush Lane

A little way down Rush Lane there was a colourful building painted with a full mural on one side.  Painting the building appears to be an effective deterrent as this building has not had recent tags.  The north face is painted in one large aquarium scene that extends across the window sashes and glazing bars.  The cover photo also shows this building.


The west end of the same structure contains a mural of Toronto.  There’s a lot of neat little things in this painting and a considerable amount of Canadian content.  I especially like the little Sam The Record Man sign.  Rob Ford features prominent in the mural as his name will be linked to graffiti in Toronto for a long time.  When Rob was the mayor he led a concerted effort to eliminate graffiti in the city.  The effort was, obviously, unsuccessful but it cost property owners a small fortune repainting their buildings to cover it up.


Parts of Rush Lane are less attractive, at least to me.  For some reason I have a hard time picking out the words in the typical graffiti writing style.


Mike Kennedy was a graffiti artist in Toronto until he passed away in September 2017.  His dog is featured in the mural as well.


I wonder how many cans of spray paint have been spent in this alleyway over the years.  It is too bad that some of the people who paint in this area end up leaving their dead spray cans on the ground.


Rush Lane ends at Portland Street which can be followed to Toronto’s oldest burial site which is hidden beneath Victoria Memorial Park.

Google Maps Link: Graffiti Alley

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Saturday, January 26, 2019

The community of Cedar Grove used to be home to seven mills.  To power the mills Little Rouge Creek was dammed in three places to create mill ponds.  In the winter, these ponds made potentially dangerous hockey rinks for the young men in town.  A suitable place for a land-based rink was identified on property belonging to Arthur Lapp who agreed to allow the local men to put up a set of boards.


The rink opened on January 29, 1927, with a hockey game.  Ten days later the town held a carnival to promote the rink and from there it became a popular place to spend winter days and evenings.  Adults could skate on Tuesday evenings from 7:30 until 10:00 and everyone was welcome on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights.  Sunday skating was held in the afternoons, from 1:00 until 4:00.


The clubhouse was built in the 1950’s and provided change rooms and washrooms.  Music was played for the skaters and the place always kept the nostalgic feeling with music from the 1940’s to the early 1960’s crooners.  Where Cedarena was once brightly lit at night, now the clubhouse has no bulbs left.  The lights still hang on overhead wires above the skating surface.


The Cedarena ice rink as seen from the deck of the clubhouse.


Ice was made using water pumped out of Little Rouge Creek.  Volunteers cut a hole in the ice when the creek was frozen.  In recent years there have been several problems with the ice due to warm spells that melt the ice causing the men to have to flood it again when the temperature drops.  In seasons where the road crews use a lot of salt, the creek can become very saline and the water won’t freeze properly to form the rink.  The pump house stands beside the creek, just outside of the windbreak.


Cedarena is one of the eeriest places we’ve visited because it is just like they packed up and never returned.  Nor did anyone else.  There is no graffiti, the buildings haven’t been broken into and there are no obvious signs of garbage thrown around.  The rakes that would be used to clear the leaves before the 2015 winter season still waiting for someone to come and make use of them.  Likewise, the brooms that kept the ice clean are collecting snow of their own.  Dog Strangling Vines have grown up the handles of the rakes and the push broom as the invaders start to take hold.  This place doesn’t deserve to be over-run or vandalized and so I’m not revealing the exact location other than to say it is private property.  Please respect it.


Gone are the days when the slap of hockey sticks on the ice preceded the smack of a frozen puck on the boards along the sides of the rink.  Naturally, some of these pucks would fly over the boards to be lost in the snow.  Someone has collected quite a few of them, perhaps in the summer of 2015, and left them along the outside edge so they could be used by future players.


Unfortunately, the rink is starting to show a need for repairs in at least one section of the northern wind fence.  The flooding and pumping systems are also in need of costly repairs and upgrades.  This highlights at least one of the issues that have led to the closure of the rink.  The land is owned by the Toronto Region Conservation Authority and the building is owned and operated by Cedar Grove Community Club.  The City of Markham is working with TRCA to try and bring Cedarena back into the control of the city.  At this point, no one wants to spend money on the rink because ownership is up in the air.


Meanwhile, trees and raspberries have taken over the space between the windscreen and the boards on the north side of the rink.  Goldenrod and other tall grasses are growing on the former skating surface.


Access from the parking lot was obtained by means of a short trail down the side of the ravine.


In 2008 Joyce Lapp was carrying on a family tradition having spent the previous 12 years collecting $5.00 from every adult and $2.00 from everyone 15 and under before letting them in.  It was common to see around 400 skaters on a nice day.  Once in the clubhouse benches were provided so you could put your skates on and a stove let you warm up after your skate.  Hot chocolate was for sale in the concession stand.


The entrance has been boarded over and the ticket window looks permanently closed.  The sign on the door says that Cedarena won’t be opening this season and that there were many factors involved in the decision.


Cedarena has been closed for the past four seasons with no hope for an opening any time soon.  There are no longer swarms of children buzzing around the ice surface, but from the looks of one of the old light sockets, the place is still a hive of activity.


Here’s hoping that one season soon Cedarena will once again be alive with the sounds of music playing and children laughing.

Here are the links to our two previous stories on Cedar Grove:

Cedar Grove – Ghost Towns of the GTA and Lapps Cider Mill

This is a link to a video shot at Cedarena.

Google Maps Link: Cedar Grove

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Cedar Grove – Ghost Towns of the GTA

Saturday, January 12, 2019

The area of Cedar Grove was first settled in 1790 but it really got going when the Reesor Family arrived and built the first mill on this part of Little Rouge Creek.  Within a few years Cedar Grove had four saw mills, two grist mills, a hotel, post office and general store and a blacksmith shop.  The community continued to prosper until the local wood supply was exhausted and the saw mills were closed down.  The hamlet was bypassed by the railway and a slow decline began.  Today Cedar Grove is part of Rouge National Urban Park and is specifically part of 470 acres known as Bob Hunter Memorial Park.  This park has several trails of which we chose the Reesor Trail.  The Monarch trail is 7.6 kilometres and will have to wait for another day to be explored. The Reesor Trail takes you along the Little Rouge Creek past the site of their mills.  Peter Reesor owned this property and his house was built of local field stone and was completed in 1832.


Little Rouge Creek was partly frozen and in some places the open sections were just starting to glaze over.  The thin ice looked like plastic wrap spread over the surface of the water.  Water that is flowing has its potential energy converted to heat energy and thus it resists freezing at the molecular level.


While walking through the trails it is easy to see why the area was named Cedar Grove.  With all the saw mills in the community they would have eventually exhausted the wood supply leading to the closing of the mills.  The areas along the creek have become reforested as their farming potential was limited.


One of the more unique features is this former ring of water.  The last remains of a set of stairs can be seen below where it crossed the ring of water to the large island in the middle.  Many farmers created ponds to water their animals, perhaps that was the purpose of this construct.  A large clay pipe appears to have fed water into the channel.


An old well sits a few feet away with a tin bucket that is rusted through.  The well has recently been boarded over.  A smoker or barbecue made of field stone sits a few feet farther along the trail.  Unfortunately, people have stuffed it full of garbage.  Perhaps that’s one of the reasons the well was closed off.


White Tailed Deer do quite well in the GTA.  Most weekends we will either see deer or at least signs of their passing.  A recent study of Rouge National Urban Park suggested a herd of 85 – 95 in the park.  They have several large predators including cougars, alligators, jaguars and wolves, none of which are common in the GTA.  Packs of coyotes have been known to prey on fawns or any animal that is sick or has been injured.  Some would say that this improves the stock, over-all but it doesn’t sound very nice.


Cedar Grove still retains plenty of remnants of the agricultural past.  Within the park area are two silos, the foundations for a barn and several old fence lines and roadways.


Cedar Grove had three schools over the years beginning with a log school house on Steeles Avenue which was built in 1820.  Around 1850 it was decided to build a larger school one concession north.  A frame building was constructed on the north side of 14th avenue but it was replaced in 1869 with a brick building across the road.  This school had a gallery inside where adults could come and sit in on the teaching so they could learn as well.  The school lasted almost 100 years but closed in June of 1966 and the building now serves as Cedar Grove Community Centre.  The original slate chalkboards and gallery have been left in place as part of the heritage of the building.


The community had several mills which have since disappeared.  One which survives in a couple of ways is Lapp’s Cider Mill.  The building is the last of the large industrial ones in town but the inner workings have been removed.  They are now in Markham Museum in their working cider mill.  The new mill is housed in the former Lapp drive shed that was on another of their properties south of the creek.  The Lapp blacksmith shop was also on this lot and has been moved to the Markham Museum as well.   There will be a separate mini-blog to feature more pictures and details of this heritage building.


Beside the mill is an example of Edwardian Classicism architecture.  These four-square houses had two bays on two floors.  The also typically had a large dormer with two small windows in the attic.  This home is also on Lapp property and was likely added after 1910 at a time when the mill was still prosperous.


The Cedar Grove Mennonite congregation officially formed in 1867 but they had been a presence in the community since Peter Reesor and family had arrived in 1804.  His mill lane ran from Reesor Road along the Little Rouge to the mills beside the creek and the house which still stands on the hill.  Samuel Reesor had erected the first building in 1861 but it was mostly used for funerals.  They were formally organized in 1912 and now have a newer building than the one shown below in which they house the Rouge Valley Mennonite Church.  In 1913 a deacon named Samuel G. Reesor died in the pulpit while praying


In 1824 the first burial took place in what would become Cedar Grove Cemetery.  Many of the early settlers that built the community lie here including many members of the Reesor family.  The wrought iron arch was donated in 1966 by Elsie and Ira Reesor in honour of their parents.


Across the street from the cemetery stands the skating rink known as Cedarena.  It continues to wait for skaters that haven’t shown up since it was closed four seasons ago.  More pictures and a detailed story can be found in our post Cedarena.


Bob Hunter Memorial Park and Cedar Grove combined to make an interesting hike and we never had the chance to check out the 7.6 kilometre Monarch Trail.  I guess we’ll likely be back some day.

Google Maps link: Cedar Grove

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Meadowvale Conservation Area

Saturday, January 5, 2019

Armed with the new camera I got for Christmas and the promise of a warm sunny day we set off for Meadowvale Conservation Area in Mississauga.  We have previously written about much of the history of the conservation area from the perspective of the various dams and berms associated with Silverthorne’s grist mill.  We won’t cover that again here and the link will be supplied again at the end of this story.  Today we were interested in the western side of the conservation area where the Guelph Radial Line used to run.  The Toronto Suburban Railway operated 5 electric commuter lines, including the one that ran up Yonge Street known as the Toronto & York Radial Railway   The line to Guelph was the longest in the system at 49 miles.  Stop 47 was a small station in Meadowvale after which the line crossed the Credit River and ran through the property that would become the conservation area.

When visiting the conservation area in the 1990’s there was quaint little suspension bridge that carried the pedestrian trail across the Credit River.  It was demolished in 2009 leaving only the metal posts on the river bank.  A decaying sign in the woods announces the removal of the bridge but it isn’t really needed any longer.  To see a picture of what the bridge looked like you can follow this link to a similar bridge in Warden Woods.


My new camera allows me to get much better shots of birds and the cardinal in the photo below was only a small red spot to the naked eye.  I think I’m going to like having it along.


The new bridge is a little farther south and considerably longer.  It crosses an area that is likely under water when the river is flooding.


From the west end of the bridge there is a line that can be seen running horizontal through the woods.  This is the right of way for the former radial line.  The official opening of the railway came on April 14, 1917 and soon trains were running between Lambton and Guelph every two hours.  The trip lasted two and half hours and was very popular until the early 1930’s.  Rising costs, poor profits and a string of accidents coupled with a new love of the automobile led to the line being closed in August of 1931.  The tracks were removed in 1936 and in many urban areas the line has been built over with housing developments.


The bridge that carries Old Derry Road over the Credit River was built in 1948.  It is known as a camelback truss bridge and is part of the Meadowvale Cultural Heritage District.


The tail race for the Silverthorne grist mill joined the river just north of the bridge.  The tail race was crossed by the radial line near the last house on Willow Lane.  Both of the abutments are crumbling after 100 years with no maintenance.  This picture was taken at the time we explored the side of the conservation area with the mill foundations in it.


The abutments for the crossing of the Credit River are still easy to locate a short distance north of the truss bridge.  The picture below shows the south abutment as seen from across the river.


The last house on Willow Lane is undergoing a restoration.  The south abutment can be seen in the lower corner of the picture and the abutments for the crossing of the tail race are basically in the front yard.  With frequent passenger and cargo service this must have been a great place for train enthusiasts or a noisy place for anyone else.


The abutment on the north side of the river has become completely overgrown with vines and must be all but hidden in the summer when the grass is full height.  Behind the vines the century old concrete is crumbling badly.


Where the radial line ran through the park there are still about ten of the old electric poles standing.  The poles supported an overhead caternary system that delivered 1500 volt DC to power the cars.  They can be picked out because of their straight lines and flat tops.  In several cases the pole has a blue slash on it as can be seen on the extreme left in the cover photo.


Fungus can still be found in the winter and it often adds colour and interesting patterns to what can be an otherwise drab landscape.  These turkey tail fungus entirely surrounded this old stump.


The intersection of the radial line with the active Canadian Pacific Railway appears to lie somewhere under the six lanes of the new Derry Road.  North of Derry, the Samuelson Circle Trail continues on the old right of way.  The berm can be identified in many places along here because it rises a couple feet above the surrounding land.  Culverts allowed drainage from one side of the berm to the other and one can be found in this section.


Cinnabar-red polypore can grow p to 14 centimetres in size and those pictured here are some of the larger specimens.  They grow all year and some will produce spores in the second and third years.  This fungus is not edible.


Meadowvale Conservation Area is full of interesting historical artifacts for those who like to look for such things in the area in which they are hiking.  Many of these are associated with the Silverthorne Grist Mill which we covered in detail in a previous blog. The Guelph Radial Line has left only a few clues to the former right of way as it passed through the GTA.  A ghostly set of piers that cross the old mill pond in Limehouse is one example of interesting place to visit.

Google Maps Link: Meadowvale Conservation Area

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Bruce Trail – Highway 10 to Brimstone

Saturday, December 15, 2018

Over the years we have covered large sections of the Bruce Trail without recording where or when we went hiking.  In the past four years Hiking the GTA has blogged about most of the Toronto Section as well as other parts of the trail.  We have started to look at the portions we need to visit in order to at least complete this one section of the 900 kilometre trail.  Today we decided to hike the trail north of the Forks of the Credit as far as Hurontario Street.  We parked one car near Dominion Street and took a second one to Escarpment Sideroad on the east side of Hurontario Street.  This property belonged to Mrs. Maxwell in 1877 when the county atlas was drawn.  Her house is circled in green and the trail we hiked is also marked in green on the map below.


Mrs. Maxwell owned this little story and a half Georgian style house.  This design of house was popular from the 1790’s until about 1875.  This house likely replaced an earlier log cabin and was built around 1855.


The Bruce Trail conveniently passes under the six lanes of Hurontario Street or Highway 10.


The trail follows Escarpment Sideroad for a half the concession before entering the bush on the north side of the road.  The view along the escarpment from here was enhanced by a low level air inversion that was holding fog along the side of the escarpment.  The fog makes the hills in the distance look like they are covered with snow.


The trail passes through private property and it is clearly marked requesting that you stay on the trail.  One reminder of recent farming activity is this old wind mill that once drew water for livestock.  An old metal crib near the windmill may have served as a feeder.  It has been awhile since farm animals grazed in this area and the forests are taking back over.


The trail follows the old road allowance and there is evidence of property lines marked with fences on either side.  The road allowance is one chain wide as per the original survey.  One chain is equal to 66 feet or 22 metres long.  The fences haven’t been maintained in a few years and there are many places where the trees have grown up around the wire.  Deer blinds in the trees indicate that the road is still used by the local wildlife.  The structure in the picture below was either an elaborate deer blind or a pretty cool tree fort.


Polypore mushrooms get their family name from the thousands of little pores that cover the underside of the caps.  Many of these fungi can survive over the winter and will grow on favourable days all year around.  Some species can live for several years.  These bell shaped ones pictured below have a white ring around the outer edge and may be Berkley’s Polypore.


Standing in the woods some distance off the trail is an old cottage which can only be seen during the winter months.  It looks like it has been out of use for awhile but we didn’t go near it.


Mushrooms are one of the few sources of colour in the plant world at this time of year.  This Stalkless Paxillus has bright yellow gills.


Pileated woodpeckers can dig large holes in a dead tree while they seek the bugs within.  The wood shavings on the ground in front of this tree reveal that the bird has been working here very recently.


Following the main trail when you get to the Forks of the Credit Provincial Park will take you on a loop around the ponds and near the old mill in the park.  Since we had previously covered this section in the blog linked above, we decided to cross the Dorothy Medhurst Side Trail off our list.  This is a 440 metre trail that makes a quick decent to Dominion Road where it joins the main trail again.  This cuts about 3.5 kilometres off the hike compared to following the main trail.


Following Dominion Road south will bring you through the hamlet of Brimstone.  This used to be a bustling community of quarry workers in the 19th century.  In those days Big Hill Quarry sent quarried rock to market by loading it on the Credit Valley Railway on the opposite side of the Credit River.  This was done using an aerial tramway.  The unloading end of the tramway was explored in our story on the Cox Property.  From the bridge on Dominion Road you can see the Forks of the Credit.  This is the opposite view from last week when we were at the point in the middle of the Forks of the Don.


We arrived back at the car looking up at The Devil’s Pulpit and the trail toward Old Base Line.  This section of the Bruce Trail proved to be interesting and we can’t wait to check out another section in the near future.

Google Maps Link: Highway 10

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E. T. Seton Park

Saturday, December, 8, 2018

E. T. Seton Park is named after Ernest Thomson Seton who was born in England but moved to Canada with his parents in 1866 at the age of 6.  His father was abusive and he spent much of his time in the Don Valley near the park.  He became famous as an author, painter and a founding member of The Boy Scouts of America.  The park that was named after him follows the West Don River south and features an archery range, disc golf and extensive trails.  We parked for free in the lot that is south of Eglinton accessed off of Leslie Street.  We roughly followed the orange trail on the Google Earth capture below as far as the Forks of the Don.


The north part of the park has a couple of ponds that sit in the valley below the Ontario Science Centre.  Originally the Science Centre was planned in 1961 with an opening in 1967 for the Canadian Centennial celebrations.  The three pods were designed to match the contours of the Don Valley that it was built along.  Opening was delayed until September 2, 1969.  The ice may be thin on the pond but this was no obstacle to the local coyote.


The fresh snow always looks so nice sitting on the tree branches.  As the morning progressed the brief periods of sunshine caused the snow to slide of the branches and created the occasional brief snow shower and even a nice dump of snow down the back of the neck just for laughs.


E. T. Seton Disc Golf Course is 18 holes long, each one a par 3.  The course winds along the river in both directions so that yo get to walk the length of the park as you play.  There are disc golf associations that play here but the course is open to everyone who wants to try.  Local rules require a spotter on holes 9 (two-way pedestrian traffic) and 10 (near the archery range) to avoid hitting someone from a tee shot.  The first disc golf course was built 1975 in California.  Today there are over 4,000 courses around the world with there being three free ones in Toronto.  The E. T. Seton Park course opened in 2001 but there is also a course on Toronto Islands and at Centennial Park.


An old bridge crosses the Don River near where the Upper Mill was in the Taylor Paper making empire.  The Lower Mill was located at Todmorden.  The large parking area just north of the bridge was the site of the paper mill for over 100 years.  The main trial is paved and continues along the east side of the river while a smaller bicycle trail follows the west side of the river.  It passes under the railway tracks.


Each of the major rivers in the GTA have a split or fork in them.  The West Don River flows through the heart of the park until it reaches the point where east meets west.  The East Don River was formerly known as the Middle Don.  At that time, Taylor-Massey Creek was known as the East Don.  The Forks of the Don can be explored from either side of the river but access to the middle of the forks is only possible by trespassing on the short but active railway bridge above and so we don’t suggest that you do this.


From the tracks you can see the bridge where Don Mills Road crosses the ravine with the railway in it.  Behind the road is the bridge that carried an old section of Don Mills Road that has been abandoned when the new section opened.


Two trails make their way up the west side of the West Don River.  The upper trail is known as Catalyst while Beaver Flats is the name of the lower one.  These trails appear to be primarily used by bicyclists and the sharp turns and sudden rises in the trail will require a sharp eye to avoid getting run over.


I’m not sure if this is intended to be a piece of artwork but we do get tired of seeing tires in our parks and ravines.  They are great places for still water to sit in the summer and create breeding grounds for mosquitoes.


The Canadian National Railway bridge spans the West Don River ravine in the distance.  This bridge sits on an old set of cut stone piers as well as a newer set that was made of poured concrete.



The CPR bridge is seen in this 1955 photo.  Of note is the system of wires that along the poles beside the trestle.  Today there are only one or two wires and all the accessible glass insulators have been removed.


The park continues to the south and links up with the Lower Don Trail as well as Taylor Creek Park.  There is plenty more to explore another day.

Google Maps Link: E. T. Seton Park

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