The first signs of green on the trees after a long winter always sparks the youth in me. Whether you had a childhood out of a Dickens novel or not, I imagine this is true for all of us in some way or another. We have been through an unusually long winter in Southern Ontario this year which included one of the worst ice storms I ever remember. It left us with tragically dying trees of old and robust trees with broken branch limbs and some uprooted and fallen. Still it is wonderful to see everything coming to life again on the trails and in the forest.
The Mimico Creek Trail (bike/walking trail) starts from the north, about a block west of Martingrove off Eglinton Avenue W and travels southeast towards Lake Ontario. The trail is about 12 km (7.5 miles) long so if you consider that the average person walks about 5/km an hour it takes about 2 and half hours to do the entire trail, possibly longer if you stop to take pictures along the way or for a drink and a snack.
|A little water feature along the trail|
|A sky tells no lies, time to run for cover|
I should mention that the trail does break off a few times into residential neighbourhoods and at times you will find it tricky picking it up again as some parks are hidden behind schools. Esthetically there are some really lovely parks and some hidden forested areas to cool off in when the weather heats up. West Deane North and South are both brilliantly wide and spacious with few trees in the core which is why it is a popular meeting place for large gatherings for picnics. Also great for kiting or recreational sports.
Ravenscrest located further east is a little spot of parkland with a cooling forested area off the trail. I still need work on capturing birds as I'm teased often about my 'wildlife pictures consisting of the elusive ducks and squirrs..." :) When I do see a bird or a deer, I usually get panicky and fumble with my camera settings and miss the opportunity. This is one of the reasons why I have always monopolized on landscape shot, because I can take my time.
A few kilometres of Mimico Creek is shared with the Islington Golf Club so you'll have to omit the entire block between Kipling and Islington Avenue and pick up the trail again south on Islington to Dundas West.
As we were now off track, we called it a day as the skies looked like rain. I couldn't get the idea of finishing what I started out of my head, so although the Mimico Creek Trail was inconsistent and confusing, I was still determined to follow the watershed down to the Lake. So the next day I headed out by myself to pick up where we left off.
With a lunch packed and my trusty compass I was at a loss to find Thomas Riley Park. Turns out I was passing it on Montgomery Road as it was actually hidden behind the Etobicoke College Institute. Another break in the trail down to Bloor St W. You will need to do some walking north to Royal York Rd and south all the way down to Berry Road where you will pick up the creek again. Once again Berry Road Park is hidden behind the Bishop Allen Academy where you will find a deep staircase in the back of the school that takes you along Mimico Creek once again all the way down through Jeff Healey Park (named after the beloved blind and talented Canadian Jazz-blues and Rock vocalist and guitarist who attained musical popularity in the 80's and 90's and who later became a popular radio personality in 2000. He passed away in 2008.)
His park was a mixture of a children's playground as well as some pretty water features. From there I walked under the Gardiner Expressway and ran out of trail so climbed up a narrow footpath to Park Lawn Avenue to the Lakeshore which brought me soon to my destination of Humber Bay Park West and East. At this point it had already been a little late in the day so I didn't spend a lot of time here, but it looked familiar to me so I had been here before.
While here you can see the Butterfly Habitat Centre and a pretty impressive view of the Toronto Skyline, but I would think it looks much nicer at night as the daylight really casts a smog fog on your camera lens. The funniest thing I think that made me laugh today was when I saw a very large bird sitting on top of a wooden post near in the Butterfly Conservatory. It did not move, and I had fumbled with my setting put on my zoom lens and took my shot. The bird still did not move, until I realized when I looked at my photos that it was a decoy. Great shot there anyways.
All in all the satisfaction was in finishing today, next time there are much easier ways to get down here to get to the lake and Mimico creek isn't one of them :)