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Visiting Trinity Bellwoods Gates: elegant entrance to a Toronto, Ontario park
Remembering and forgetting a former Lieutenant-Governor
On Queen Street West, Toronto, the formal entrance to Trinity Bellwoods Park consists of elegant gates which date from a period when what is now a public park was the grounds of Trinity College(1), the main building of which was demolished about 60 years ago.
Maybe in keeping with a Park formerly associated with a 19th century Anglican College, pillars of the gates are topped with sculptures depicting mitres; interestingly, the mitred ghost of the College's founder, Bishop John Strachan, is said to haunt the College's present-day buildings!
Trinity Bellwoods Park is close enough to the Downtown area of Toronto for eastward views of the Park to be dominated by the CN Tower.
Garrison Creek, the mouth of which opened onto Toronto Harbour, formerly flowed through the Park; an undulation marking its former path may still be seen. The name 'Garrison' referred originally to the lower end of the stream's proximity to Fort York. Tours of the forrmer Garrison Creek are organized by members of the Lost Rivers Walks Project (2).
Trinity Bellwoods Park was formerly known as Gore Vale; a local road bears this name still. This area was named for Francis Gore (1769-1852), Lieutenant-Governor of Upper Canada from 1806 to 1811 and again from 1815 to 1817. His somewhat dubious claim to fame is that he prorogued the Legislative Assembly of Upper Canada because of that body's practice of issuing land grants to American Loyalists, this in the early 19th century in a Province heavily identified with United Empire Loyalist associations. The name Gore Vale was eventually dropped.
The Park extends to 14.6 hectares. Species of tree found in the Park include ash, spruce willow, Norway maple, Austrian pine, and many others; a total of more than 800 trees in the Park have been inventoried.
An organization called 'Friends of Bellwoods Park' exists to promote the best interests of the Park's management and its users, and arranges regular events (3). Such events include tours of the Park led by an arborist.
Since 2007 a Farmers' Market has been regularly held at the Park; this Farmers' Market is an initiative of the Friends of Bellwoods Park (4).
The stately gates to Trinity Bellwoods are located at the southern end of the Park at 790 Queen Street West, Toronto, Ontario.
March 10, 2014
(1) This College still exists within the University of Toronto, housed in a striking building close to Queen's Park.
(2) The Lost Rivers Walks Project is jointly sponsored by Toronto Field Naturalists and Toronto Green Community; further details may be accessed at http://www.lostrivers.ca/GarrisonCreek.htm .
(3) Further details about the Friends of Bellwoods Park may be accessed at http://www.trinitybellwoods.ca .
(4) Further details about Trinity Bellwoods Farmers Market may be accessed at http://www.tbfm.ca .
How to get there: Air Canada flies to Toronto Pearson Airport, with wide North American and other connections, from where car rental is available. However, visitors to Downtown Toronto will find many of the sites to be easily walkable. TTC streetcar 501 passes Trinity Bellwoods Park on Queen Street West. Some facilities may be withdrawn, without notice. For up to date information, you are advised to contact the airline or your travel agent. It is advisable to contact consular sources for border crossing visa information which may apply to citizens of certain nationalities.
MJFenn is an independent travel writer based in Ontario, Canada
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