Tag Archives: toronto

Lower Don Mills

Lower Don mapThe Don River empties into Lake Ontario where The Don Valley Parkway joins The Gardiner Expressway and Lakeshore Boulevard. Or if you’re from England – a few miles east of downtown/the city centre. Around 9km (5.6 miles) upstream, The Taylor-Massey Creek joins The Don River. I walked much of the Taylor-Massey Creek a couple of weeks ago, and you can read about that here. North of confluence, The Don River splits into East and West branches. Those branches eventually lead to The Oak Ridges Moraine (a system formed during the previous ice age that I’ll maybe write about another time). This particular hike covers the area where I last finished off – where The Taylor-Massey Creek joins The Don, heading south to Lake Ontario. The blue dotted line in the map opposite.

Don River 1I decided to make the trek along the Don River on April 1st, which may indeed have been foolish, as according to the forecast the previous day, rain showers were forecast for around 2pm. I figured I could manage it by setting off at 8am, but the day turned grey pretty quickly.

The weather is my excuse for all the photos turning out kinda grey and miserable looking, but honestly, the Lower Don Trail is nothing like as nice as the one running through Taylor Creek Park. It is more urban and the trees seem to have sustained more damage from the Toronto Ice Storm of 2013. You’re also never too far from The Don Valley Parkway on this trail.

The Don River was named by Lt. Gov. Simcoe because it reminded him of The River Don in Yorkshire (he also named Scarborough under the same reasoning). In the late 19th Century, the river was heavily polluted by the industry that had built up along its banks, including a paper mill at Todmordon Mills and The Don Valley Brickworks, at one time both operated by the Taylor Family mentioned in my earlier post. The mill at Todmordon Mills was restored into a museum and arts centre and The Don Valley Brickworks is a park and community and cultural centre.

Lower Don River 2

Many trees remain damaged from The 2014 Ice Storm

There have been efforts to restore the quality of The Don River, and in areas where wetland habitat has been created, there were signs of life. A few Red-winged Blackbirds cheeped their territorial calls, and a couple of pairs of Northern Cardinals were engaged in a quarrel. I also heard the verse of several Song Sparrow. Although I didn’t have time to explore Crothers Woods, it is a designated sensitive natural area.

20150325_092508North Toronto Wastewater Treatment Plant (i.e. Sewarage works) releases water into The Don River as shown opposite. They must be doing a good job of filtering the water. A group of Mallards and a lonely Bufflehead seemed to enjoy swimming through it.

I began to speed up my walk as I passed the halfway mark and the time was approaching noon. A more recent weather prediction was calling for rain… anytime now. I didn’t really have a plan to escape the trail in the event of a downpour, and I didn’t really want to quit now.

Lover Don River 4The Prince Edward Viaduct System (a.k.a The Bloor Viaduct) is named after King Edward VIII (Price Edward at the time of naming). It carries traffic on top and the Bloor-Danforth subway line below that. It was another messy construction area as I passed, but just beyond it was a grass pasture filled with dozens of American Robins, scuttling around like children playing Grandmother’s Footsteps/Red Light, Green Light, (What Time is it Mr Wolf/What’s the Time, Mr Wolf). I then immediately entered a dank tunnel plastered in graffiti.

Lower Don River 5Progressing, as the rain began to spit down, the trail became increasingly urban. Foot and road bridges began spanning the river, including the arteries of Gerrard, Dundas and Queen, followed by Eastern Avenue. Due to the tidal effect on Lake Ontario, The Don appeared to be running in the opposite direction at this point. A pair of Mute Swans took advantage, ambling upstream. The CN Tower was never too far out of sight, now. I crossed some freight rail tracks/train tracks in increasingly heavy rain before the trail detoured due to, you guessed it, more construction.

Mouth of The Don River

For the last few hundred yards, I was forced on to the sidewalk/pavement and under the crumbling Gardiner Express, the rusty iron that once lived inside the concrete structure ominously visible. Finding my way back to the river, I saw (as Wikipedia aptly describes the scene) The Don River unceremoniously dumping itself into Lake Ontario, still a little frozen in places.

I took the TTC/bus back to the car… Looking for a brighter adventure next time!

Taylor-Massey Creek Trail

Spring is here and so my hiking escapades have begun. Last Wednesday, I took a walk along part of The Taylor Massey Creek. I used to live beside this creek when I first moved to Canada and lived with my Grandmother-in-law. The creek (stream) runs behind her house (and was excellent at helping to attract birds to the garden).

Taylor Massey MapThe Taylor-Massey Creek starts at Pharmacy, just south of the 401 where storm water run-off enters a couple of ponds. While still narrow, it runs mostly south along a hydro-corridor (government land that over-ground power-lines run through) before, unfortunately, disappearing through private land and then underground until it reappears around Eglinton Avenue, through Pine Hills Cemetery (good birding!) and then through Warden Woods Park. It becomes inaccessible for a stretch through a golf course, before entering Taylor-Massey Park. Eventually it joins The Don River.

The Creek is named after the Taylor family, who emigrated to Upper Canada from Uttoxeter, Staffordshire. Originally living in Vaughan, they moved to what is now Toronto in 1834, ran a paper mill on the Don River and helped pioneer the use of wood pulp, instead of rags, as a paper source.

Daniel Massey, whose parents were from Cheshire before they emigrated to Massachusetts and later Upper Canada, was a blacksmith in Newcastle, Ontario. He founded the Newcastle Foundry and Machine Manufactory company in 1847. His son, Hart Massey, moved the annamassey_davidjasoncompany to Toronto. It has merged or been bought several times, but farming equipment bearing the name Ferguson-Massey is still made today by AGCO. Hart Massey was a philanthropist whose will helped to create the Massey Foundation in 1918. The Ferguson-Massey company funded the building of Massey Hall, which was later renovated using Massey Foundation funds. Hart’s grandson, Vincent Massey, was Governor General of Canada between 1952-1959. He founded Massey College and The Massey Lectures. Some of the descendants for the family have been actors in The UK (Anna Massey – Darling Buds of May, Daniel Massey – The Devil’s Advocate) and Canada (Walter Massey).

I have walked most of the length of the Taylor-Massey Creek before, where possible.,This time I walked from the golf course to where the creek enters the Don River. It was pretty quiet with just a few dog walkers and not much bird activity. Male Red-winged Blackbirds have begun to appear (they claim territory early in the mating season before the females also return from their southern migration). There were lots of active Downy and Hairy Woodpeckers, a few nuthatches and a plethora of Black-Capped Chickadees.

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My next plan is to walk the length of the Don River to where it enters Lake Ontario. Stay tuned….!

Bestview Park

leafpathTook a ride/trip over to Bestview Park after hearing reports of a Pileated Woodpecker in the area. The park is located at the northern edge of The Greater Toronto Area at Bayview Drive, south of Steeles. I walked south through the park, through woodland, along a trail that follows The Don River. I spotted a couple more salmon, though they were about as active as a pair of bricks. Probably a good spot for next year, as there was a dam that would require jumping.

No joy finding the Pileated Woodpecker, but did see a few Downy Woodpeckers and possibly a Hairy Woodpecker – couldn’t be sure. Although the end of Fall/Autumn is in sight, the colours are still beautiful.

At one point, a hawk (a red-tailed hawk, I believe) swooped overhead.

hawk

autumntree

 

Salmon Hunting

I’m a little late, but I decided to try to spot me some salmon heading up-stream before Toronto descends into her winter slumber. Next year, I’ll go a little earlier, to try to catch them jumping. As it is, I spotted a few Chinook Salmon lazily circling near Bluffer’s Park, Scarborough.This ugly fellow, black because it’s male and in his up-stream hopped out the water a bit to get a better look at me.

salmon

trumpeterswanThere was also a bevy of Trumpeter Swans (what a great collective noun), which aren’t found in The UK. (Note the black bill, with no knob on the bill like the Mute Swan). I’ve seen these before, they’re not particularly rare, but hadn’t seen them in a while. These ones were tagged in the area and the same female has also been spotted in the Toronto Islands area in the past.

bluffs

How To Ride a TTC Bus

ttc busOr: How to be a civil human-being and not a [Am:E] Douche bag / [Br:E] Bell-end.

  • There are not dragons at the back of the bus. You will not be eaten or flambéed if you stand in the aisle between the rear seats. Stop staring dispassionately ahead while people, just as desperate to get home as you are, stand in the cold as the driver feebly begs “folks, please move back”. It is not a stand-off. Just because you are concentrating furiously on dismissing your surroundings, it doesn’t make those left behind at the bus-stop any less human (or and less victims of your dickishness).

UK Bus

  • This is how you sit on a bus where there are two unoccupied seats. This picture was taken in England and is not an exception, it is how civilised people sit in a way that makes the outside seat available. How DARE you sit on the outside to dissuade people from sitting down? How DARE you sigh and tut and generally make a fuss if someone says “excuse me”. EXCUSE YOU, PRICK.
    There were riots throughout England a few months after this picture was taken, but at least they know how to sit on a bus. And unless your shopping bag has a Metropass, I don’t want to see it sitting beside you.
  • Don’t stand in the middle of the aisle in a passive-aggressive stance like the big “I Am” and then bitch and complain because someone barged into you, intentionally or otherwise. You are not the gatekeeper of the rear doors, you are a self-important pussy that should stand aside or walk and not demand an interaction from everyone that needs to pass without wanting to look at your gormless face.
  • Learn to queue. If someone is stood waiting at the bus-stop, stand behind or beside them (don’t block the [Am:E] sidewalk [Br:E] pavement). Exception: If you are stood in the bus shelter, you are not in-line. I assume the reason it is called a line-up over here is because, like a line-up in the UK (i.e. an identity parade), there’s always at least one criminal.
  • Stop using the rear doors after a snow storm when snow banks have accumulated, dummy. Don’t you remember the snow banks being there when you boarded 10 minutes ago? Or were you too busy staring passively into your phone’s display of your Facebook timeline filled with videos of singing goats and photos of girls’ cleavages hanging like meat in a butcher’s window suspended in time, forever. Yes, girls. Your tits. On a hard-drive in a Facebook data centre in Oregon. Forever. You can delete them from the album, but they’re still stored. Forever.
  • Did you just fully watch your stupid valley-girl girlfriend alight and jam the rear doors into a snowbank? Did you watch how the driver got up, walked outside the bus to the doors and try to close them, fail and return to the driver’s sear? If so, why scream “Errrr, like, what the f**k?” when the lights go out because he is clearly restarting the engine to reset the doors?
    Is it because you were taking a “selfie” at an angle that happens to cause the curvature of your cellphone’s camera lens at the frame to exaggerate the size of your tits? Thought so.
  • Each time you under-pay your fare by dropping a fist-full of low value coins into the fare box or you come up with some pitiful excuse not to pay that the driver can’t be arsed to argue with, you are stealing from everyone on that bus. Not that you give a f**k.

I’m done now.

Toronto Zombie Walk Photos 3

Part 3 of my mass posting of photos from The 9th Annual Toronto Zombie Walk.

Photos are copyright. You may use them if you give credit by linking to this page. Please also email me or comment on this blog. stuhall ( at ) gmail -dot- com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Miss Piggy Zombie has had enough of Gonzo

Miss Piggy Zombie has had enough of Gonzo

Please ‘Like’ Stu Hall Photography on Facebook and follow @StuHall on Twitter

Previous Posts: Part 2 | Part 1

 

 

 

 

Zombie Walk Toronto Photos 2

ghostbusters zombie

Who ya gonna call? Once the Ghostbusters are Zombies?

Some more photos from the 9th Annual Zombie Walk in Toronto. There’s probably going to be a total of four posts. I have a stack of photos of all the great zombies!  There’s a bunch more photos here: Zombie Walk Toronto Part 1

You can follow me on Twitter for a few pictures there, too. I am @StuHall and I will also tweet each time I get a new page of photos up. I have a day job, but I am working on it!

Photos are copyright. You can them for non-commercial purposes on the condition that you link back here. Please email me/comment on this blog if you use them. (Creative Commons attribution, non-commerical, share-alike UK license).

My email is stuhall (at) gmail -dot- com.

tronna zombie walk

Referee

Zombie Referee? Or someone heard the Man Utd score?

Please consider ‘liking’ my Facebook page: Stu Hall Photography

Some zombie pics in there, too!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Occupy Brain

A few people satirised the Occupy protests

Yummy

Yummy

Zombie School Girl and Zombie Dog

Zombie School Girl and Zombie Dog

Amy Winehouse Zombie

Amy Winehouse Zombie

More photos of the Toronto Zombie Walk coming soon…

 

Toronto Zombie Walk Photos 1

It Begins...

It Begins...

Some photographs I took from the Toronto Zombie Walk 2011.

Photographs are copyright. You may use them under the condition that you link to this page. I would also appreciate a comment or email to let me know where you are using the picture(s).
Creative Commons attribution, non-commercial, share-alike UK license

stuhall ( at ) gmail -dot- com

 

Zombie Walk Toronto 2011The 9th annual Toronto Zombie Walk began at Trinity Bellwoods Park, headed east on Queen Street West, turned North on Spadina and west on Dundas back to Trinity Bellwoods Park.

Brainnnnss!!

toronto zombiezzzombbbie

brains for lungsbllloood

zombie mermaid

Zombie mermaids have to deal with impatient Toronto drivers

repent to be savedbloody couple

Anyone for coffee?

Anyone for coffee?

Would you like a nibble?

Would you like a nibble?

I have lots more photos and will post more over the coming days!  Follow me on Twitter for more pictures: @stuhall

Please also ‘like’ my facebook page, Stu Hall Photography.