Ontario boasts over 80,000 km in trails. Whether you're in downtown Toronto or North of Superior, we have a trail for you.
The Ontario Trails Council is a registered charity, led by volunteers who promote the development, management, use and conservation of Ontario's trails.
You'll find everything from gentle walking trails to rock faces for climbing and water routes to canoe and kayak.
Do you know about trail etiquette?
Sunday, December 21, 2014
Ontario Trails News - TRCA to develop sections of waterfront trail
Mimico Creek is Toronto’s most elusive waterway. More accurately, we’ve turned our back on it, weaving as it does between subdivisions, golf courses, industrial zones, and right through the massive Hwy. 401-427 interchange. The creek begins in Brampton and is without fanfare or much public access for most of its course, but it ends in much better shape.
The mouth of Mimico Creek is one of the rather nicer bits of the Toronto waterfront, with wetlands and abundant waterfowl, with the East and West Humber Bay Parks, deltas of human-made landfill that, from above, are reminiscent of Dubai’s artificial Palm Islands that were built out into the Persian Gulf.
Here, the single, leaning arch of the Mimico pedestrian and cycling bridge is a subtle but elegant sibling to more prominent Humber River Bridge further east. Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava had a hand in designing it, too, though he’s better known here for his soaring Brookfield Place atrium downtown. Opened in 1998, the bridge is proof that on occasion, Toronto can build nice things when it wants to.
Until recently, all of this was in an “in-between” bit of the city, not part of any established neighbourhood. Across Lake Shore Blvd. is the shuttered Mr. Christie plant, and the now demolished old Motel Strip was just east of here, but now a completely new neighbourhood is rising, home to thousands already, with thousands more coming.
North of Lake Shore, new condos have gone in on either side of the creek. One is called “South Beach.” Located as it is on the north shore of Lake Ontario, the South Beach is part of Toronto’s long tradition of naming residential buildings after places that are much warmer than Canada.
A sidewalk between this building and the Lakeshore rail corridor leads to the top of the Mimico ravine. Though the sidewalk dead-ends at the crest, there is a good view here of the work the Toronto Region Conservation Authority (TRCA) did to restore and replant the creek and ravine.
There’s no public trail here now, but the TRCA also has plans to create an accessible trail beginning at Lake Shore Blvd. and continuing north under the railway trestle, complete with three bridges that leapfrog the currently impassable curving creek.
Walking north under tracks along Park Lawn Rd. it’s possible to slip down to the creek again, taking a path from the service road beside the QEW. Here the creek is completely encased in concrete, a smaller version of the famously paved Los Angeles River; recalling the drag race scene in Grease, which was filmed there.
Though it’s about as unnatural as a creek can get, it’s a fantastic concrete landscape, with graffiti on the paved creek banks and on the pillars holding up the various QEW bridge spans. Concrete is about as heavy a building material there is, but in places the huge slabs have buckled and heaved as if a catastrophic earthquake occurred here, a testament to the power of fast-running Mimico water during storms.
North of the QEW, the creek returns to a semi-natural state. A path through a meadow adjacent to it runs up the Queensway. Seen from here, the brand new Mimico skyline is impressive: a wall of light and human beings where there wasn’t any until recently. This will be their near-wilderness.
When the path is completed, residents will have a direct connection to the shops and restaurants along the Queensway via a 10-minute creekside walk. Hopefully they’ll want the trails to continue north, revealing more of Mimico. One day, maybe we’ll be able to walk all of it.
Shawn Micallef writes every Friday about where and how we live in the GTA. Wander the streets with him on Twitter @shawnmicallef