The Rouge river and it’s valley are one of the last bastions of semi-unspoiled wilderness left in the city. There has been much talk and work done over the last few years to make this valley into the Rouge National Urban Park, but as of recently the talked had stalled. But regardless of the political kerfuffles and obstacles standing in the way of the Parks well needed protection, it’s winter beauty is without question. I set out on one of those rare winter days in the city, the one that had mild temperatures hovering around zero, a few short days past a snow fall and a heavy freeze. The sun was out and the conditions were perfect to see what the park had to offer.
I parked in the Twyn River area and set off to hike the Orchard Trail toward the hill that used to be Beare Road Landfill and then back down Vista Trail. My goal was to climb to the top of the old landfill and enjoy one of the rarer views of the city. The man-made hill stands about 100 meters from the valley floor and giver undistributed 360 degree views of the river valley and towards downtown, some 30km away. On a clear sunny day you can view the Toronto Skyline from a new vantage point not many in the city have witnessed. Sadly this was not the day as the cloud cover limited visibility. The hill is a good climb, not steep but still requires some effort, imagine at one point they were thinking about turning this old landfill into a ski-resort of sorts possibly like Centennial Park. As I climbed to the top an occasional odor of sulfur and gas could be detected, the history below the surface was certainly buried but refused to be forgotten. On the way back I followed the Little Rouge Creek on its meander through the valley. The steep cliffs scared the valley and made travelling a challenge. But the steep hills once conquered make for wonderful vantage points of the valley lands below. I spend several hours wondering through the valley and only seen a small slice of what is on hand. It is truly one of the last pieces of land in the city where you can be alone, where the constant humming of civilization is drowned out by the wind. For the complete photo album click here.