ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

East Don Parklands - Toronto

Updated on August 9, 2010

 

On this day, when I’m feeling sick, (not only do I have a cold, but I’m also feeling sick of the city life) I decided to visit one of my favourite places in Toronto. The East Don Parkland that lies in between Sheppard and Steeles Avenue and runs alongside Leslie Street. This peaceful park whose slogan is “A Park within a City” truly lives up to its name. East Don Parkland is a place where you can go relax and step away from the noise of the city, at least for a while. I begin walking the paved pathway that runs alongside the East Don River, on a weekday, when there aren`t too many “outsiders”. My cold forces me to wear a sweater even though the sun is shining brightly, making me look a little goofy even when compared to the usual joggers who tend to wear very short shorts and tiny tanks.  Making my way through the park I notice how quiet and peaceful the environment becomes as I get deeper into the woods. The only sounds being heard now, are the sounds of birds battling crickets for whoever can chirps the loudest. The sides along the black asphalted path have been freshly mowed, as the smell of cut grass continues to drift in the air. The moment of complete peacefulness is briefly disturbed by a plane soaring above, but soon enough I hear the birds again and peace overtakes the madness once again.

The Don River was named in 1793 after a River of the same name in Yorkshire, England. During the 1800’s the valley of the East Don River became a very important farming area and held six mills and one brickyard. Early settlements included among others: Oriole, Flynn Town, Leslie and German Mills. The vast farming in the valley continued until the early 1960’s. The Don Valley Parkway Expressway was constructed during this time and took away much of the land surrounding the lower parts of the river, affecting its diverse habitats and destroying a vast amount of its nature. This, in turn, allowed the communities along the river to grow even further, extending the pollution and permitting constant flooding and sediment laden waters. The river was soon forgotten because it was believed that the amount of pollution wouldn’t allow it to be saved.

I keep on walking until I reach the first of many wooden bridges whose signs that read “Bikers please dismount at bridge” are often ignored. I stop here and listen to the murky green river for a while, the water running slowly, making its way through the Toronto Watershed. I walk for a couple of minutes and the trail begins to take a steeper turn upwards, and soon enough I’m gasping for air even though my pace is very slow. I begin to sweat so I decide to take the sweater off in order to breathe a little better. I see an older Asian couple, walking in the opposite direction, making small talk in one of the many Chinese languages. The occasional biker passes by me, ringing a bell or simply shouting an excuse me to let me know they’re coming. Three girls are walking dogs which I hope are not all theirs, as each one is holding three on each hand. I suddenly become tired when I see the bench placed by one of the better parts of the river, a rocky section where you can hear the river roaring, and the water actually seems clear in between the rocks. The bench, which appears to have been a dark brown at one point has now been chipped and vandalized with illegible writing. Before I go on, I grab a smooth oval rock and attempt to skip it on the cold water, which I somehow manage to fail at. 

 

A plan to improve the trail from Duncan Mill Road to Steeles Avenue was initiated in 1984. This plan was formed in order to rehabilitate the Don River Watershed which was progressively being harmed by the fast growing communities around it that have now become a home to over 140,000 people. This was a slow moving progress that began to take up steam during 1989, when the Ontario Science Center created a project to restore the Don River in which 500 people took part.  A long term naturalization process has been taking place ever since. This process has included the restoration of marshes and meadows alongside the East Don River, as well as 50 meters of protective riverbanks that have been bioengineered to enhance fisheries habitat, and healthy plant communities growing along the banks of the water course. During the past decade, the area around the Don River Valley has improved a great deal due to the help of the nearby communities and organizations which have joined together in an effort to save this beautiful Park Within a City. 15,000 trees and 3,000 flowers have been planted in the East Don Parkland alone in order to provide a more of a native environment. The eDon newsletter was started and is being sent out to over 1,000 subscribers, providing the latest information about The Don River and its watershed.  

I reach a fork on the road and follow Robert Frost’s poem, The Road Not Taken, and I choose the path less traveled, a new red metal bridge that connects the East Don to the Newtonbrook path. The path after the bridge has been left unpaved, (I’m not sure whether this was intentional or not). Along the sides of this trail you can still see the dead leaves from the fall even though the trees are lusciously green and full of life. While walking the path I find a small note pinned to the mossy ground in front of a tree. I carefully unfold it, making sure not to damage it in any way. The note reads, “Hi my name is Michel Kyrychek, I’m from Belarus.” I quickly fold it and put it back in its place, knowing quite well that I wasn’t meant to be the recipient of this note.

I finally get to an open area with only a small amount of bushes and large trees growing off to the sides of the trail. The leaves on the trees barely allow a small amount of light to penetrate the ground, creating patches of dim light that reach the brown soil. I walk around for a bit, until the path turns uphill one last time, I walk the steep hill, taking long strides, thinking about how much progress has been made for such a great cause, knowing that salmons are beginning to swim up the Don River, something that hadn’t happened for over 100 years,  all this because of the help of great individuals who use their precious time to keep the good things about The East Don Parkland, and help to mend the mistakes that have haunted the river for over 50 years. 

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • MJFenn profile image

      MJFenn 

      6 years ago

      Good hub. In order to get insights into deep Canada, we don't necessarily need to go on a canoe trip hundreds of kilometres into the wild, as Pierre Trudeau did. With so much space, there are bound to be parts of the great outdoors near to where we may be living in Canada! Anyway, the Don Valley is somewhere where so many of us so often go through, rather than to; when we even have cause to stay on the Don Valley Parking Lot for longer than intended, most of us can't wait to get away, unfortunately.

      (Mind you, with his Canada-wide perspective on things, I wish Pierre Trudeau were still around. As Justin said: 'It's up to all of us now'; I would add, with God's help.)

    • DDS profile image

      David Sproull 

      7 years ago from Toronto

      This is a part of the Don I actually don't know so well but now really want to check out.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)