Yesterday was a beautiful fall day in Toronto – a gift I figured I’d acknowledge by grabbing my camera – and our dog Viggo – and going for a long walk up the Don River Valley and then over to the Brickworks and up Mud Creek. I knew I’d catch the last of the fall colours, since the leaves have already reached their peak. In a couple of weeks from now we will be into that drab part of year – it goes from mid-November all the way to April! – when our city does not really look its best.
Broadview Avenue has one of the great views of downtown Toronto. We passed by the Rooster Café and walked up the Avenue a bit to get a clear view to the west. The Don River flows through that band of trees you see in the middle of the pic below. We’d be walking up it for a couple of kilometers before a bit of bushwhacking would take us to another Top Ten view of the city, the one from above the Brickworks off Bayview Avenue.
Back down Broadview Viggo and I went, passing the Rooster Café again. We also walked past the Chinese elders who gather here each morning to do their Tai Chi and other exercise routines. The folks below had pretend-swords in their hands and were waving them around in a coordinated fashion!
Down to the Don River on the Riverdale Foot Bridge and then we headed north to Pottery Road, stopping occasionally to take in the river views or to have a water break. Viggo was mostly off-leash given the scarcity of bicycle traffic and joggers on a Friday morning. However far I walked, I’m sure he did an extra 30% as he monitored his pasture with serious dedication.
Luckily no ducks in the water when we passed by. Viggo has been known to jump in and give chase – or perhaps that should be interpreted as herding. Below he is watching some seagulls a few rocks over.
At Pottery Road Viggo is back on leash as we deal with cars and traffic. Across the bridge pictured below and then a bit of bushwhacking on a shortcut trail that takes us over Bayview Avenue and then up to the top of the ridge to the north of the Brickworks. Slipping on the muddy slopes is almost always guaranteed – but so too is one of the great views of our city! It is a fair deal – muddy shoes for a wow moment.
We had another water break on a flat rock I call Viggo’s Stone. To encourage him to drink up I crumple the doggy treat into pieces and he sucks it all up, intent on getting all the pieces. Then it is down and into the ravine.
A creek – Mud Creek flows down from north of Saint Clair Avenue. There is also a multi-use path, the Beltline, which runs down along the creek. On a Friday morning it is usually fairly quiet so Viggo is able to continue his explorations off-leash. Meanwhile, I am looking around for cyclists and joggers while also pointing my camera at the various splashes of colour we walk into.
I love this little slice of Toronto. I get the same feeling when I enter it as I do when I enter a temple, a cathedral, a place of contemplation. Thanks to the steep banks of the ravine, even the lighting is subdued – the images show that! – as we walk the path up to Moore Avenue. Trail construction north of Heath Avenue means that we turned back a little early and headed back south, saying hello again to some of the same people and their dogs that we met on the way up.
And then – a scamper up the muddy side of the ravine to get back to the ridge above the Brickworks. And predictably – another wow!
We made our way home and Viggo flaked out on the living room carpet. Given the 12 kilometers we had walked, he was okay with no mid-afternoon outing while I worked on my Spanish lessons. However, at 8:00 p.m. we were back out there for our nightly forty-minute patrol of the neighbourhood. If Viggo’s mornings are usually all about squirrels, then evenings are centered on raccoons. We didn’t see any last night.
This morning we headed across the River to Cabbagetown. Last Saturday we had by accident met Viggo’s half-sister Scout (and of course her owner!) at the small park just north of the Necropolis and they had played together so nicely. I was hoping that our arrival this morning would coincide with Scout’s morning outing. It was not to be – but I did see yet more nice fall colour in the immediate neighbourhood.
Already the leaves are starting to dry up and shrivel. A good wind or two and we’ll be looking at the bare branches – and we’ll be one step closer to the stage in the cycle that our Icelandic Sheepdog Viggo really enjoys. It’s the one with ten centimeters of snow!
See this post for the winter-time version of the same walk! No colours but lots of white!