Parks with purpose

This week, Three MORE Parks.

But first, about last week :

I longed for a cool lake breeze! We headed south to see new parks, places as yet undiscovered. And an old favourite.

Ireland Park is a memorial to Irish famine victims who arrived in Toronto by ship. A huge stone monument casts a shadow over a tiny treed park, just east of the Billy Bishop Airport Terminal (the shore-side entry to the tunnel under the lake). In the small park are several cast sculptures of famine victims. Slightly smaller than human size. It didn’t matter what nationality they were representing. They served as a sharp reminder and contrast: our world of plenty, and the needs of others around the world. Or arriving in our city. A young woman was meditating on the grass and that seemed fitting.

A little further west is the Toronto Inukshuk Park, on another small plot of green. If you drive along the Lakeshore, you may have seen the towering stone Inukshuk. But until noticing it on the map one day, I’d had no idea it was there. It’s a welcoming symbol of presence, of course. And also a reminder that our land has a long and rich history. And that we share it with many.

Not far from there, we easily found the brand new Trillium Park and William G. Davis Trail. An old Ontario Place parking lot was used to create this pretty lakeside retreat. Paths, hills, trees, a beach fire pit, a beautiful soaring sun-shade, carved walls. And: nice new bathrooms! That’s something we often miss, on our long walks! (Most parks will have a tough time measuring up!) Anyway, this smallish, meandering path-park is shiny and green and blooming, at the moment. I hope it is a harbinger of great things to come, on the rest of the (former) Ontario Place lands. Are they also scheduled for re-development? In the distant future? Only time and budget will tell.

As we reached the end of the Davis Trail, we were able to enter Ontario Place (plenty of folks were around, on foot, on bikes). At the moment, it is not locked. For me, it was definitely worth a wander. I worked there one summer, long ago. And before and after that, shared many family outings, concerts, picnics, films and more, on those little islands, in the Forum, and in the wonderful Cinesphere. It still looks wonderful. I do hope they take care of it. We shall see.

If you were a fan of Ontario Place, you should visit. Have a look around. The familiar buildings are still there. See if you can imagine what they might do with it! I certainly hope they keep the amazing structures. They were – and still are – a beautiful part of recent Toronto history.

We walked partway along the exit bridge, over to the CNE grounds and were treated to an excellent rain-shower! (Yes, some of us then grabbed transit home!)

And while we were walking in Toronto, Helena was walking in Gravenhurst. She kindly shared these photos of lake and forest – beautiful!

Click on any image in either gallery for larger files, in carousel slide-show.

Sunday, July 02, 2017

Happy Canada Day weekend! Meet at the Y at 9:00, as always. This week, three more small parks! And an outdoor photo exhibition. We’ll take transit to the Corktown neighbourhood to see the photos (Making Peace), then visit Corktown Common (we’ve walked past it once before, but much too quickly!), followed by a brief walk to Sherbourne Common (a really interesting installation and landscape), and then a quick visit to Sugar Beach (if the weather is nice… maybe we can sit under an umbrella!). Looks like we’ll have another warm and sunny morning to explore. After the parks, an iced tea break will definitely be in order! I won’t call this brunch (saving that for a couple of weeks!), but we may want to grab a cold beverage and a snack for our streetcar trip back.

Coming right up:

A repeat of something we’ve enjoyed in the past: The Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition. It’s pretty close so we’ll walk there and enjoy at our leisure. More on that, in a few days.

Our Guild Park theatre plans should be discussed. The play this year is Oliver Goldsmith’s She Stoops to Conquer. Interested? great! Curious? Look it up and see if it appeals. This is a ticketed event, and seats are on the grass (we’ll bring blankets and whatever… ) The Sunday dates are at 7:30 in the evening – not ideal for some of us (including me, alas!). So, when it gets a bit closer, I will see whether people would consider a mid-week matinée. Let me know your thoughts, on Sunday. A bit of individual planning involved for that.

We’ll continue to walk every Sunday morning! If it’s hot out, we’ll try to keep it brief. Or we’ll have plenty of core-coolers!

See you soon!

You’re just finding WestWalking for the first time?!

Welcome. You really should walk with us!
See you in the morning!

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One more week!

This weekend, I’ll be hiking on the shores of Georgian Bay.
I have a similar suggestion for you…

But first, about last week:

I had a most interesting, satisfying and happy trip to Montreal, and then went to Halifax and parts of rural and seashore Nova Scotia for a road trip with two dear friends. We visited parts of the country that I find particularly beautiful. I hope you walked somewhere beautiful, too, and enjoyed some of the summer heat and greenery. After all, we’ll be complaining about cold weather soon enough. So, get out for a walk and soak up some of this heat!

I gather that a few of you enjoyed some neighbourhood walking while I was away. So great to hear that!

My holiday walks were: long and short; urban and rural; along ocean shores with either sandy and/or rocky beaches; beside burbling and rushing rivers… or right in them! We also had a lovely stroll around a pretty lake. We had a great, long, cool swim in that lake, too. A very nice break from Toronto and work. Mind you, I was also quite happy to get back home to Toronto and work.

I thought you might like to see a few more walking photos. (Yes, there was quite a lot of walking.)

I’ll be very happy to talk about my walking holiday, and yours, on our next walk together!

NEXT UP: Sunday, July 31 2016:

Even though I’ll be away and hiking somewhere a bit less urban, I suggest YOU meet at the Y at 9:00 and go for an urban lake-walk. Maybe someone in the group will suggest another destination. If so (and if it appeals), great! Have fun! But if you want a suggestion, try this:

Walk south and east from the Y until you reach Strachan Avenue. Heading south on Ossington and then east on Queen will get you there, but zigzagging could be more interesting. You could cut through Trinity-Bellwoods Park, if you like. Strachan is right below it.

Walk all the way south on Strachan and carefully cross Lakeshore Blvd to visit The Toronto Inukshuk Park! (It’s tall – you’ll see it, no fear!)

Walk west out of that park along the Martin Goodman Trail. You’ll pass Ontario Place, marinas, the CNE on your right, some lovely parkland, and more… until you spy the small, new bridge that crosses the train corridor and Gardiner Expressway, at Dowling Avenue. This is a steel frame bridge, and looks very high tech. When last there, it was not well labelled, but there is nothing much like it! Just so you know what it looks like… here are some people you know, to show you!

Sharon and Jan head north across the new replacement (temporary) Dowling Avenue bridge, across the tracks.

Sharon & Jan cross new replacement (temporary) Dowling Avenue bridge, across the tracks.

Cross that bridge, going north. Continue north and east, zigzagging as you see fit. You’ll make your way back to the Y via lovely Parkdale and Queen West.

This is a long-ish walk. Count on at least two hours. More, if you stop for iced tea! Of course, you could just head back, after seeing Inukshuk Park. But if you happen to zigzag past the pretty intersection of Dunn Street and Springhurst Avenue on your way back, you’ll be glad that you did. Stop and have a look at the amazing plant shop, Dunn Milk. Flower photos: very welcome.

We’ve done some parts of this walk before, of course, but have never visited the Inukshuk Park (south of Lakeshore Blvd, east of Ontario Place Blvd). So, do let me know where you go, and send pix if you take them. I shall certainly share and credit all contributions, online. Thanks! I hope you have a wonderful long weekend. Notes on my slightly northern weekend hike… later!

Coming right up:

Next week, we’re going downtown! We have a third anniversary to celebrate, and I have a couple of ideas to help us do that. Stay tuned!

See you soon!

Are you just finding WestWalking for the first time?!

Welcome. You really should walk with us!
See you in the morning!

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