Saturday, November 17, 2018
Rouge National Urban Park continues to grow with new properties being added to the park this fall. The park is currently about 63 square kilometres but will expand to include over 79 square kilometres when it is complete. There are over 12 kilometres of trails at the moment but this too is set to increase. The Vista Trail is a 1.0 kilometre loop with a 0.6 kilomtre tail that takes you out to Twyn Rivers Road near The Mast Trail and Maxwell’s Mill. We accessed the trail from Zoo Road where we were able to park. The historical atlas below has been rotated 90 degrees to make it easier to read and to fit better. The Vista Trail has been drawn in black between the Little Rouge and Big Rouge. The original location of the Pearse House has also been circled for reference.
In the 1830’s three Pearse brothers names James, John and George left England and moved to Toronto. James Pearse bought 200 acres at the intersection of today’s Meadowvale Road and Old Finch Avenue. The family grew and the 1869 farm house was enlarged until in 1893 it was rebuilt around them as they continued to live in the house. The brick veneer was decorated with ornate patterns and the picture below shows the date above the upstairs window. When the property was purchased for use as a new zoo in the early 1970’s The house was moved to the present location and restored for use as the visitor centre for Rouge Park. The coating of plain white paint that had been added over the years was removed to reveal the brickwork below.
Ontario Power Generation has been in partnership with the park since 2010 and was responsible for building a viewing platform along the trail. Rouge National Urban Park has over 1700 different species of plants, animals and fungi including all eight native species of bats.
From the top of the viewing platform you have a great view down to the Little Rouge. The vista from here would have been quite different a couple of weeks ago when the fall colours were still out. Today, you can pick out the oak trees easily due to the brown leaves that still cling to the trees.
The Vista Trail is well named because you get a view as you make your way along the ever narrowing strip of land. The slope on the right drops away toward the Rouge River while the one on the left leads to the Little Rouge.
Ferns growing along the side of the trail provide a splash of green among the dead leaves and snow. Christmas Ferns are evergreen and for that reason are often grown in winter gardens.
Having reached Twyn Rivers Road we made our way back up the hill to the point where the loop splits. This time we took the trail to the left keeping closer to the Rouge River. We find some odd things in the woods most weeks but one of the more unusual ones is the skeleton of a transport truck.
It would appear that there are many more explorations to be made in Rouge National Urban Park. Here again are the links to the Mast Trail and Maxwell’s Mill.
Google Maps Link: Vista Trail
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