Marie Curtis Park is a 41 hectare public park located at the mouth of Etobicoke creek on the waters edge of Lake Ontario. This park was created in 1959 to help control flooding after the devastating floods of Hurricane Hazel in 1954 that had destroyed homes and cottages in the area, leaving over 360 people homeless and several dead. Marie Curtis Park was dedicated in honor of the Mayor of the village of Long Branch (now a part of Toronto).
It’s easy to spot Marie Curtis Park along the Lakeshore, as there is a provocative old and rusted water tower built in 1910 standing in a field next to the entrance, making it a perfect landmark. Lots of parking is available, as well as a drive-in boat ramp for watercraft. A few lovely willow trees and an inviting arch bridge link you from one side of the pier to the other. Here you’ll find a playground, a public swimming sandy beach, a wading pool, picnic spots, boat docks, and walking trails connecting you to the waterfront trail where you’ll see plenty of wildlife and native plants (see this blog). So why am I so glum on this warm and sunny afternoon?
The answer was in my nose. You see, apparently sometimes, and definitely on the day I was there: it stinks! There is a sewage treatment plant directly west of the park, and the water treatment plant is west of that.
Just west of the park you might notice some wooden structures randomly scattered in the fields nearby. I thought they may be set up as climbing walls for an obstacle course as part of training. Turns out many years ago there was once a rifle range here and the wooden structures were sound baffles that were formed as part of the range to keep the noise down, in this case, the loud crack of the rifles tested there during the first world war. These wooden structures have actually been there since the 1890’s. I did see a deer roaming on its own in the woods, but it was behind a fence so all I could do was silently watch as it foraged. North of the Lakeshore into the Etobicoke Valley Park you will get relief from any annoying odours, and it is absolutely beautiful, truly! Valley Park is a 19.6 hectare park and it runs along the east bank of Etobicoke creek from the QEW down to the CNR tracks. Etobicoke creek really shines in Valley Park. There are some rock walls and fields of wild flowers and high grass, and plenty of forested pathways that reminded me of Dundas valley in Hamilton if you’ve ever been there!
I loved this place; it was one of the prettiest looking parks I’ve seen in a long time.