Kay Gardner Beltline Trail (Toronto Beltline Railway)

Great terrain for biking, hiking and brisk walks
Springtime in Ontario has always been typically unpredictableAs Canadians, our weather complaints are that it is either too hot or too cold, so when the day is just right you just have to get out there, especially after a particularly clingy winter.

The Kay Gardner Beltline Trail was discovered by us purely by chance, and not by choice as one would have it.  It extends from Yonge at Davisville to Allen Road in the West end, covering about 4.5 kilometres.  You will love this trail if you want to take it easy and go for a jog, a walk or bike ride as the terrain is flat with very few elevations.  The surface itself looked to me like a mixture of packed soil which got me thinking of the historical aspect of it as it was carved through trees, was narrow and long and even. This must have been an important roadway or railway.

Houses located just to the side of the path
After some quick review, it was very well documented as the Toronto Beltline Railway, built in the 1890'sThe main purpose was to promote the new suburban neighbourhoods north of city limits.  These neighbourhood are now well-known as Rosedale, Moore Park, Forest Hill and Swansea, all extremely well to do upper-middle class to high society areas tooAs this was once considered a suburban area 'north of city limits' it is today urban and centrally located, more or less.

A cool squirrel gives me the rock-on sign
An interesting historical fact is that the Toronto Beltline Railway was once necessary because the current bridges didn't exist at the time, and access to these neighborhoods were very restricted as you would have to go through very steep ravine roads to get to them. Read up more on these illustrated facts about this railway found here.

Robins are everywhere now


So how did the Toronto Beltline get its current name?  Well, Kay Gardner and her husband moved to Toronto in 1961.  She had worked tirelessly, first as a citizen volunteer, and then as a City Councillor.  Not only was she an advocate for her community and its residents, but she made special considerations for the senior citizens.  She was the main advocate of the city's acquisition of the Beltline and its conversion to park land. In recognition of her vision and commitment to people and community, the City of Toronto renamed the this trail the "Kay Gardner Beltline Trail" in May 2000.  From one end to the other you will see maps and plaques commemorating her contributions.

As we came to the end of the Kay Gardner Trail (at Allen Expressway), we went south on Allen Road to Everden Road, where it takes you through some more gorgeous scenic parkland, known as Cedarvale Park.

Just an FYI: the trail continues from Allen Expressway west of Allen Road but is called the York Trail which passes through to the Kay Gardner Beltline Park.