Earl Bales Park


Of all the craziest explorations of parks and trails I've gone to, this one had to have been one of the funniest.  We started out with the intention of getting to Earl Bales Park.  It looked to us that there was a way from the Don Valley Golf Course to take a path through the park safely and easily.

From the corners of Wilson and Yonge Streets, we headed north on Yonge on the west side.  We passed a beautiful French restaurant called Auberge du Pommier.  By the way the best restaurants in the world are given a Michelin star, which all restaurants strive for and what was striking to me is that in all of Toronto, not one restaurant has achieved even one star.

Anyways back to our journey up ahead we see the entrance to the Don Valley Golf Course.  From the map, it looks as though we can reach Earl Bales through a narrow path off the course.  There's a fairly steep hill going down as you enter and as we didn't appear dressed to do a round on the greens, we asked if there was a path to get to Earl Bales.  One curious onlooker told us emphatically that we would soon reach our destination if we continued on the cement path through the course.  All was well until a woman raced up next to us in a golf cart asking us if we were lost.  When she confirmed what she already knew that we weren't members, we were politely escorting off the path up high into an unmarked exit out of sight.  Once here, we could see no way out except to escape through fields of thistles, bushes and burrs as we made our decent into the valley below the looming overhead bridge of Highway of Heroes Express on 401 between Allen and Don Valley road ways.

After an uncomfortable and at times damaging ordeal we were completely covered in bruises and burrs.  I cursed at every turn and swore I would somehow get even with the Don Valley Golf course for putting us in harms way like this over their precious reputation of the rich and ....  But then who really put us in harms way?  We did it ourselves didn't we by coming here in the first place??


The underpass that we embarked on turned out to be heavily plowed and dredged by CATS and bull dowsers and seem to be in  a state of disrepair adding to the filth and mud already on ourselves.  Looking back it's funny now, maybe even hilarious but believe me at the time, we looked like Swamp creatures.  So we carried thorough heading northwest stumbling still on further points of the Golf Course much to the chuckle and chagrin of golfers.  Awkwardly explaining ourselves and our predicament wasn't easy.  A nice group of young men though sympathized and told us we were minutes away to our destination of getting to Earl Bales Park.

On first sighting of Earl Bales Park you will notice a giant alien-like contraption which turns out simply to be a chair lift for a ski hill located on the site of the old York Downs Golf Course in the West Don River valley.   The property was originally owned and settled by John Bales, great-grandfather of Robert Earl Bales. The historic Bales homestead, built in 1824, remains intact at the north-west corner of the park but I didn't take any pictures of that.

The ski lift is great for the winter months, but Earl Bales host free entertainment in the 1500 seat Barry Zukerman Amphitheatre all summer long.  I never checked it out though as I was embarrassingly preoccupied with picking burrs off my pants...LOL
Up and over the hill, we found someone for directions...













After asking him for directions we found it.