Sunday, October 30, 2011

Peek at the Creek

On Wednesday November 2, 7PM at the Stan Wadlow Clubhouse, Councillor Janet Davis will be hosting a community meeting to discuss recent and proposed changes for Taylor Creek Park and the East Don. This should prove to be an informative meeting for anyone interested in the Don Valley.

Note about directions: Listed as 373 Cedarvale Avenue, Google Maps shows this address at the corner of Cosburn and Cedarvale. The arena is on the corner. The clubhouse is actually further up the street just north of the arena down a short roadway. See you there!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Milkman's Lane Closed

Just north of Castlefrank Subway station is a secluded but well used path that provides a way down into the Don Valley. From the bottom of this path you can access the Don Valley Brick Works and the Belt Line path. How Milkman's Lane got its start is something of a mystery but local legend has it that when milk was still delivered to homes in the morning, this path provided a back entrance for milk carts for the tony neighbourhood of Rosedale.

Regardless of its origins, this well used access path is under severe stress. Whenever it rains, water sluices down the middle of the path creating deep furrows. This creates a hazard for both cyclists and pedestrians as they try to navigate the path.

This fall the city has decided to do some repair work. A new path will be constructed. When completed, the path will be raised in the middle with drainage ditches on the side to collect runoff. Cedar rail fencing will delineate the path but also limit dogs to the path to protect the fragile forest slope on either side of the path. In addition, informal paths that lace the nearby slopes will be closed off to allow for natural forest restoration.

The path is set to reopen, barring unforeseen delays due to weather or site problems, by mid-December 2011. For further information on this project see this page on the city's website.

Milkman's Lane

Rain runoff is creating deep gullies in path

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Pottery Road to Open by November 30

Unstable retaining wall on Pottery Road

Word has it that Pottery Road will be reopened for road traffic by November 30. The problem was due to an unstable retaining wall that was due to the fact that they cut away too much of the slope behind it which led to the possibility of the slope collapsing. The retaining wall as constructed would then have failed.

A engineering solution has been chosen. I don't whether it is a strengthened wall or some sort of slope stabilization (or both) but it should be complete in a month. Work on the rest of the road is nearly complete. In the meantime, the pedestrian/bike path is still usable. I advise caution in its use as construction activities are still on-going.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Relic of ParticipACTION

Old ParticipACTION fitness station

If you're going through Taylor Creek Park you may notice this odd set of stumps painted a faded green. Behind it is a single tall post painted the same colour. If you didn't know what it was you might think, maybe an unusual rest stop or maybe some strange outdoor urban art. Yet for those who have been around awhile, you'll recognize it as a relic of a moribund fitness program created by a Federal government initiative entitled ParticipACTION. This program which was started sometime in the late 70's (and apparently is still active) was created to try and get Canadians more physically active. In a few Toronto parks they created a series of fitness stations where you would do a series of calisthenics You were then supposed to jog to the next station. The post at the back had a sign mounted at the top to demonstrate the exercise. Presumably this station was for some sort of leg exercise.

It seemed like a good idea but it never caught on. These installations were put in place way before there were any fitness clubs. Nowadays, people workout at their company or at the neighbourhood gym. Fitness in parks is relegated to walking the dog or riding bicycles. Now we're left with a series of rotting relics. How quaint.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

New Wetland in Taylor Creek Park

New wetland under construction

The Taylor Creek Park ravine is blessed with several areas of natural water discharge which has created marshy areas at the bottom of both sides of the ravines. These manifest themselves as cattail covered wet areas that are not too interesting from either an aesthetic or ecological perspective. One step up from a cattail fen is an open water pond. Ponds have a much greater diversity potential allowing habitat for mammals, birds, and amphibians. Since this ravine has been highly modified by human activities over the past 100 years, all of the natural ponds were filled in. From a natural environment perspective it makes sense to improve habitat by recreating them.

This has recently occurred just west of the O'Connor Bridge. A new wetland has been excavated in one of the cattail fens. The area is covered in natural water that flows into the nearby Taylor-Massey Creek. It doesn't look like much now but by next year this time it should look more like the new wetland further up the valley.

Mallard duck checking out the new pond