As a resolution to myself, I’ve decided to expand my social network – put myself ‘out there’, so to speak. And so here I find myself: Standing in front of Sherbourne Subway Station along with 30+ strangers to go to a Meetup walk through South Rosedale and its connecting trails.
A quick stroll up the street and we find ourselves – at the direction of the Meetup organizer – winding around Rosedale’s streets, which themselves do some winding. Yes, the layout of this upscale neighbourhood bites its thumb to Toronto’s grid(ish) setup. It was designed as an enclave after all and still has that character. It’s easy to feel like an outsider – a tourist, of sorts – while marveling at its (Edwardian, Victorian and otherwise) houses.
Our path roughly follows Park Drive, Maple Avenue, Glen Road, Dale Avenue, and Castle Frank Road. The naming of (at least some of) Rosedale’s streets follows a very nature-filled theme: Maple and Elm are, of course, types of trees; and, Dale and Glen both mean ‘valley’. Yes, this is an enclave defined by its flora and its geographic contours as much as it is its built heritage.
Passing through Cragleigh Gardens, the former estate turned public park, we round a corner and begin our descent via Milkman’s Lane. A certain coolness greets us at the bottom…along with a happy go lucky doggy who’s decided that playing in a mud puddle is a fun exercise. His owners aren’t part of our group, and I don’t suppose they figure it fun for them!
Further up the way, I note some pillars off to the side. They look like gates. Gates to what? I don’t know. If any trail/local history enthusiasts want to lend their knowledge, I’d be curious to know!
EDIT: Hiking The GTA points out that the stone pillars likely led up to 4A Beaumont. Neat
Park Drive Reservation Trail hugs Yellow Creek. It’s definitely how you would picture a creek: Shallow, not so potent. It enters a sewer in at least one spot. Someone near to me asks if it’s a water treatment plant. I say I think it’s too small for that. We’ve got huge one in the east end for that. Then we get into a discussion of the RC Harris Plant. She thinks it was a prison. I say water infrastructure can look that awesome.
The trail ends at Mount Pleasant Road. There’s a moment where we contemplate jaywalking. Alas, we do, after the rush of cars ends. It’s an intersection perhaps in need of traffic lights, I’d think.
Our Meetup continues on the Belt Line Trail. This one is a bit more uneven in its terrain. I look up and see houses overlooking the valley. That’s quite a backyard to have.
At one point a fellow walker asks me where we are. I answer in earnest that I do not know. I know our destination, but deep in the valley my bearings are a bit off. There’s an incline – the biggest of the whole trail.
At the end of it, we’re back to civilization. Taking a look around, I know where we are. Avoca Avenue! I recognize the railings beside us and the story behind them from a Heritage Toronto walk of Deer Park. They were originally on the Avoca Bridge – the predecessor to the St. Clair viaduct.
From there, we head south to David Balfour Rosehill Reservoir Park, making a circle around it. The reservoir was covered in the 40s, but a H20 molecule marks the park’s history.
On St.Clair now, it’s to the subway (or post-Meetup libations for some) we go. Before that though, there’s the Arthur Meighen Federal Building to note. It’s a 1957 construction, but there’s some definite Art Deco influence in its ornamentation.