Tag Archives: Giant Hogweed

Hiking the GTA #100- Pernicious Plants and Beautiful Blossoms

April 28, 2014 to July 18, 2015

Presented below is a gallery of plant, flower and fungi  pictures taken during the first 100 hikes on the journey called Hiking the GTA.  This post concludes our celebration of chapter one in this adventure.

On July 21, 2015 I published my 100th post in this blog under the title Hiking the GTA #100 – Greatest Treks.  That post presented the 15 most popular stories on the blog, so far.  I’ve posted a gallery of animal pictures from those first blogs under the title Hiking the GTA – Amazing Animals.  Ontario has many edible plants, some very beautiful ones and several really nasty ones.  The pictures below are in no particular order except that the three most common poisonous ones are presented first.

Giant Hogweed is one of the nastiest plants in Ontario.  It can cause severe burns and even blindness.  These picture shows last year’s stocks and this year’s white blossoms and was published in the Canada Day post on July 1, 2015.


Wild Parsnip is another plant with similar poisonous sap to the Giant Hogweed.  This picture was taken in Riverwood Part 1 – The Bird Property on June 28, 2014.


A third poisonous plant is Poison Ivy.  This patch was photographed at Barbertown on Aug. 23, 2014.


Burdocks have a tiny hook on the end of each stem that inspired velcro.  This one, complete with Lady Beetle, was photographed at The Winding Lane Bird Sanctuary on Oct. 11, 2014.


Coral Mushroom are one of the plants that although relatively rare can be eaten.  This fungi was discovered on Canada Day 2015.


Ontario’s provincial flower is the Trillium.  These were seen on our hike from Old Mill to Lambton Mills on May 17, 2014.


The Yellow Iris is an invasive species that takes over our wetlands and chokes out other plant life.  This patch was seen on June 14, 2014 near Raymore Drive.


Dog-Toothed Violets were seen on the hike where we discovered the Ovens Above Old Mill on May 10, 2014.


The Vipers Bugloss has a brilliant shade of blue.  We found this example during our hike at the Devil’s Pulpit on July 11, 2015.


We found young teasels growing at Glen Williams on June 27, 2015.


Jack-In-The-Pulpit plants can live up to 100 years.  We found this large plant growing in Palgrave on May 30, 2015.


Forget-Me-Nots were used in Newfoundland for their Remembrance Day celebrations before they joined confederation and adopted the poppy.  There were photographed near the Barber Paper Mills on June 6, 2015.


Coltsfoot is one of the first flowers seen in spring.  We found this patch at Churchville on April 3, 2015.


Canada Thistle isn’t native to Canada but appears on our Coat of Arms.  This bee was collecting pollen on a Canada Thistle near the Erindale Hydro Electric Dam on Oct. 19, 2014


Black Willow trees grow in wet areas and reach massive sizes.  This one is in Riverside Park in Streetsville where we visited on Sep. 6, 2014.


Trees suck the chlorophyll back out of the leaves and store it in the woody parts of the tree for re-use the next year.  These trees appear to be doing just that.  These were also photographed at The Winding Lane Bird Sanctuary on Oct. 11, 2014.


Our parks are full of a wide variety of plants which keep the woods alive with splashes of colour from early spring until late fall.  Watch out for the pernicious plants and enjoy the beautiful blossoms as you have your own adventures, Hiking the GTA.

Visit us at http://www.facebook.com/hikingthegta


Adamson Estate

Saturday Jan. 24, 2015,

Joseph Cawthra came to York in 1802 and was given 400 acres of land near Port Credit where Lotten – Cawthra House would eventually be built.  He was a prominent reformer working with the likes of William Lyon MacKenzie to bring responsible government to Upper Canada.  Like Robert Baldwin, of Spadina house, he was elected to the government where he sought to bring about change.  Cawthra street in Mississauga used to be his driveway.  When his daughter Mabel married Agar Adamson they were given the lakefront property and it became known as the Adamson Estate.  The property remained in the hands of their son Anthony until 1970.

cawthra map

It was minus 2 feeling like minus 6 with the odd snow flurry.  Parking off of the end of Hampton Street will place you just east of where Cooksville Creek empties into Lake Ontario.  As we walked along the waterfront we found many species of birds including Mute Swans which have made their home along the waterfront.


The icy waters of Cooksville Creek have been splashing off the branches along the creek edge creating an elaborate ice sculpture.


Right at the mouth of Cooksville Creek we spotted a Snowy Owl sitting on the ice.  These owls spend their summers north of the Arctic Circle hunting lemmings.  Each bird can consume up to 1600 lemmings per year.  It is normal for a few Snowy Owls to be seen in Southern Ontario each winter.  Last year they appeared in record numbers for the first time in about 15 years.  When large numbers of birds are found outside of their normal migration zones it is called an irruption.  If it happens a second year in a row, as it has this year, it is termed an echo.  We observed this female from both sides of the creek as well as on a rooftop where she flew when we got too close.  We also saw what was likely a second one in the park near our cars when we returned at the end of the hike.


My first encounter with a Snowy Owl came almost exactly 40 years ago in February 1975 when local band Rush released their album Fly by Night.


From the mouth of the Cooksville Creek looking west you can see an old freighter.  This is the Ridgetown and it guards the entrance to Port Credit harbour at the mouth of the Credit River. Built in Chicago in 1905 it became grounded in a storm on it’s maiden voyage and suffered $100,000 worth of damage.  In 1970 it was sunk at Nanticoke to form part of a temporary break wall while construction of the Ontario Power Plant was being completed.  Later it was raised and brought to Toronto where it was filled with stone and sunk on June 21, 1974 in it’s present location.


Giant Hogweed is a noxious plant that grows up to 10 feet tall and can cause severe burns and blindness.  There are many examples growing along the west bank of the Cooksville Creek.  If you hike here in the summer beware as the path leads right through a patch of them.


As you enter the Adamson Property there are two old tree stumps that have been carved with animal figures.  One has three squirrels carved into it while the one in the picture below features raccoons.


Built in 1932 by Anthony Adamson, son of Agar and Mabel, the Derry House sits on the east end of the Adamson property.   It’s “U” shaped construction frames a central fireplace and flagstone courtyard.  Anthony and his wife Augusta lived here until his mother passed away in December 1943.  After they moved into the family mansion this house was sold to the Derry family, whose name it bears today.  Anthony was awarded the Order of Canada for his contribution to Canadian architecture.


The barn dates to 1870 and is one of the oldest surviving agricultural structures in the region. It is built with a foundation of field stones and mortar and an upper portion of board and batten. The farm was known as “The Grove” due to the large grove of white pine trees that were reserved to be used as masts for ships by the Royal Navy.


The main house was built over the winter of 1919-1920 and it’s date stone is featured in the cover photo.  It replaced a summer cottage from 1866 that stood between it and the lake.  The site of the original log cabin from 1809 was identified in 1991 and stood close to the water front.  It appears that each time the family built a new home they moved a few feet further away from the lake.  This view is taken from the upstairs balcony below the bell on the gatehouse.


The gatehouse or “Folly” was built in 1904 and is one of only three of this design in Canada.  The other two are in Ottawa at the residence of the Prime Minister and the Governor General.  The upstairs served as a nursery for Anthony who was born in 1906.


The so-called orange room extends from the west end of the house and contains a unique rounded balcony and a small cupola.


Rhododendron gardens grow under the evergreen trees on the front lawns of the house.


By 1968 there were only 15 acres of the original property left that had not been sold off. Anthony applied to the city for permission to develop the site for apartment buildings and the city rezoned it for high rise in 1972.  After neighbours sent in 115 letters of objection the Credit Valley Conservation Authority stepped in and expropriated the land, buying out the Adamsons in 1975.

Like us at http://www.facebook.com/hikingthegta