This week the City of Toronto has seen a string of seasonally usual high temperatures. It’s been a wonderful reprieve from the expect frost and rain. Summer in November! The only thing that’s put a damper on such wonderful weather is the early sunsets, inconveniently brought to you by daylight savings. I was fortunate enough to have a few hours to spare the other day and managed to grab my camera and hiking shoes for a couple of hours of R&R on the urban trails of Crothers Woods.
Crothers Woods has for much of it’s existence been the place where few ventured, it was used as a dumping ground of industry. It’s been forgotten and undeveloped, a place where it was not uncommon to find abandoned cars. Nestled in the valley carved out by the Don river, yet another former dumping ground form Toronto’s industrial past. The Woods were a secret hiding in plain sight. I’ve not been out to the Woods in about two years and I felt that it was time to go out for a visit. Crothers Woods is the type of place where you can almost forget that you’re still in the heart of the city, until your focus is broken by the dull rumbling of trucks on the Don Valley Parkway just a few hundred meters to the east. A lot of work has been done restoring Crothers Woods and the Don Valley from it’s former industrial use to a natural environment, and much more is to be done. There are points where you can almost get lost in walking by the river, forgetting that you’re still in the city… Until you’re rudely reminded of the city by submerged shopping cart or car tire piercing the waters surface.
Fall is in full swing in the Don Valley, the colours are vibrant and the sounds of rustling leafs fill the air. Numerous mountain bike trails are strung about the ravine walls, created numerous avenues to explore and sight see. Black squirrels rummage about the fallen leafs, creating havoc and disturbing the few noise free moments. The memories of the industrial past are painfully evident, the large mound of broken rebar reinforced concrete on the eastern shore of thbe Don river being the least subtle culprit. The river looks peaceful in it’s meander down the valley to the lake, ducks congregate in small grounds on sandbars and an occasional cormorants sits perched on a fallen branch. Sadly those views were compliments by tree branches covered in washed-up plastics.
The Crothers woods and the Don Valley were peaceful, idyllic and regretful. Nature has begun to reclaim some of what it has been lost but the human impact on this land remains like an ugly scar. On this hike I ran into another raccoon, this week seems to be a week for them. Sadly it appeared that this little fellow might have had Canine Distemper Virus, a disease that is affecting a large part of the Toronto raccoon population. More picture from the Crothers Woods can be found here.