Don River Waterfall and Trail

Entering the Don Valley
On a recent trip into an old haunt, I took these pictures of one of the nicest trails in Toronto, the Don River trail.
the flow of the Don
It starts at Edwards Gardens as you head south towards the Lakeshore, and covers over 13 kilometres, which is a nice trek whether you're running, hiking or biking.  The pavement is smooth for the most part and offers a wide range of photo opportunities as you can see here.

Since first discovering this trail in 2005 I've seen lots of physical changes to it over such a short time.  The land on either side of the path has been bulldozed in some areas and opened up to expand to further forests to discover, as well as new bike trails into Crothers Woods.
on route to Crothers Woods

natures' lovely mess
Busy bee
There are new additional waterfall features that have been added to the southern flow of the Don River as well.  I wouldn't compare this to the more spectacular flows of the Niagara Escarpment but for an urban city as large as Toronto, it's still pretty incredible to find as much parkland as still exists here.  One of the locations of the new waterfall features is south of the footbridge on the west embankment as the Don Valley Parkway and Don Mills Road conjoin. 


Abandoned bridge on the trail

When the Don Valley Parkway was first built up in the 1950s and 1960s to meet the growing demands of the commuting city, some geographical changes to the land surrounding the Don River involved a pretty large engineering project.  
Port Lands

spooky reflections
I see a lady's face, do you?
new Don Waterfall (handheld-no tripod, no good)
I have no idea what he's doing here
For example two of the hills within the valley were leveled out and the soil was used for grading the highway.  The railways and the Don River were then diverted, as Don Mills Road was expanded along with Eglinton and Lawrence Avenues.  I don't want to dwell on the details of the projects as much as the damage that the price of modernization caused the Don Valley and the river flow of the Don River, which was soon inundated with pollution, heavy flooding and sediment-laden waters.  In other words the Don became a filthy, neglected, polluted mess.



I actually remember when my father would take us down the DVP when we were kids, telling us to hold our noses because it smelled so bad.  It may have been funny then as children, but as an adult, I can tell you nothing upsets me more than polluted waterways.



Guard House - Cherry Beach circa 1930
the docks of the Guard House
Thankfully, in the early 1990s a public forum gathered much steam at the Ontario Science Centre of all the appropriate places to start up a task force to 'Bring Back the Don'.  I'm happy to say than now, over 20 years later, it's just a beautiful sight and sound to hear the crashing flow of the Don over rocks and ridges while making her way south into the Lake Ontario.

Entering the Don Valley
So, once you find yourself at the the Lakeshore, if you have enough energy left, scoot across to Cherry Street past the Port Lands Ship Channel all the way down to Cherry Beach where you'll find lovely views of the Lake, the Life 'GuardHouse' circa 1930 and pretty interesting people.   
..life's good..

In the midst of all the hubbub of a city of over 5 million in the GTA (Greater Toronto Area), you can still find a man swinging on a hammock with a guitar in his hands, toque on his head, and a song in his heart... life's good.