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 you 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.
Google Maps Link: E. T. Seton Park
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