Thursday, September 15, 2011

Leaside Spur I: Orphan Trail Needs Linkages

Map of the spur (the image is a little small. Click on it for larger image)
  1. south end of the trail
  2. informal path and remnant track
  3. crossing at Lawrence Avenue East
  4. crossing at Tallwood Park
  5. crossing at Bond Road
  6. north end of trail
  7. York Mills Road
Starting just north of Eglinton Ave. East, just east of Leslie Street is a little known railpath which was once known as the Leaside spur. It starts just north of Eglinton, crosses Lawrence Ave. East and ends just south of York Mills. It once served the industrial area of south Don Mills and also served as an important cross link between the CP tracks to the south and the CN tracks to the north. In 2003 the city bought the right-of-way and turned into a walking trail. However, it is of little use as it starts and ends nowhere.

Up until now it has seen little use other than the occasional neighbourhood dog walker. But recently it has been resurrected as a possible part of the mayor's vision to create a city wide network of off-road trails.

A recent article in Grid TO prompted me to go take a look for myself. Here is what I found. From the southern start north to Bond Road the trail has been covered with a new layer of gravel, likely in preparation for a layer of asphalt. There are three places where it intersects with existing trails and circles of brick have been placed there to demarcate the crossing. At Lawrence Ave. East a new signalled crossing has been constructed although it is not yet in operation.
The new trail construction ends at Bond Road.

North of this point the trail continues but it is in the same state as the original walking trail. It is still covered in loose stone and cinder block that makes walking difficult let alone cycling. The trail ends again where it meets the CN main line just where it leaves the Don Valley on its way north to Richmond Hill.

There's more to this story than just these pictures. In a second installment I'll look at planned and proposed uses for this trail.

South end of trail (#1). Beyond fence is CP rail main line that crosses Eglinton Ave. East just east of Leslie St.

Informal trail leads to one of the properties on Leslie Street. The trail continues on the other side of the tracks

Just north of the informal trail you can see a remnant of an old spur (#2)

Last remaining track beside warehouse that is now used by Canadian Tire.

New crossing at Lawrence Ave. East under construction (#3)

Trail intersects with another path (#4) that leads to Talwood Park (to the west) and Duncairn Park (to the east)

New surfacing to end at Bond Road (#5)

Trail continues north of Bond Road. Note loose gravel surface that was hard to walk or ride on

North end of rail path (#6). Beyond is the CN rail main line

York Mills bridge across tracks can be seen to the north (#7)


Anonymous said...

Lots more on this at:

Anonymous said...

The trail has been paved completely from Bond Avenue south to the dead end north of Eglinton. It serves as a nice alternative to Wilket Creek Park and Leslie Street for cyclists. From the south, exit Wilket Creek to Leslie at the first paved hill exit. Go north on Leslie to the traffic light at the BMW dealer. Cross to the east side and follow the road south passing the Lawrence Construction building and the Korean Centre. You will see a fence just south of the KC. There is a short path at the back of the KC parking area that brings you to the Spur. Then go north to Bond. Then you might follow Scarsdale Road to York Mills to Lesmll and Duncan Mill to the Betty Sutherland Trail to Sheppard and then cross over to the East Don Trail, which will take you to Steeles.
At the south end of Spur Trail there is a chain link fence by the CP track. One could find an opening and find a way to cross but it would be trespassing. The tresspasser would find the south end of the fence on the other side of the track and be then trespassing on the Celestica property where a road can be found that goes under Eglinton from which a trail heads south into ET Seton Park and signed bike routes. Some day, if we're lucky, the city's intention is to connect through the route mentioned, getting permissions and puttin gin a proper rail crossing. BTW the funding of the current project came from RinC, which was an infrastucure stimulus joint project of all government levels and was done before the current city administration took office. However, the continued construction of off-road routes was actually part of the Ford platform, so the plans for continuations north and south are real. The funding for the continuation from Bond to York Mills has been approved and the work is scheduled for spring 2012.

Anonymous said...

The traffic signal activation date is November 15, 2011. While the south end appears to be a dead end at a fence, look at the fence to the west about 20 meters from the end and you might notice an open gate. The trail is now landscaped and veyr attractive. It needs connections to the rest of the network.