A Winter’s Day Walk Along The Banks of Toronto’s Lower Don River

One of the perks of living in Toronto’s Riverdale neighbourhood is the easy access to the Don River Trail.  It runs from Pottery Road almost all the way down to Lake Ontario.  It is the Pottery Road-Riverdale Footbridge section that was for a decade the almost daily” big walk of the day” for our Icelandic Sheepdog Viggo.

Viggo coming down the steps to the Lower Don trail

While he is no longer with us, the lower Don still is and now memories of Viggo add to the experience of walking the age-old river path I re-established and maintained so that we could avoid the bike traffic on the sometimes very-busy paved main trail.  It can have the vibe of a stage in the Tour de France as cyclists come zipping by!

I went down a couple of days ago – it was -10ºC and some 15 cm. of snow overnight had blanketed the neighbourhood.  The  5-km. walk starts with a descent to the trail on those steps you see above. Then it is north along the path and over a small footbridge.

looking south at the bridges spanning Gerrard, Dundas, and Queen Streets over the Don

the abandoned Metrolinx railway bridge.

I approached the flimsy shelter on the banks of the river hoping that there would not be anyone inside. It would be easy enough to fall asleep in the below 0º temp and not wake up. Whew – no one there!

And no one on the main trail either as I walked north!

looking south

looking north to the Prince Edward Viaduct

There is a side trail on the left side of the above photo that takes you down to the river on what I like to think of as a portage trail.  Brief moments out of time – I forget that I am in the middle of an urban collection of 5 million people!

The ducks are floating placidly at Viggo’s beach – certainly more at ease than if he was here with me at this moment.

a shady section of the river path just before it rejoins the main trail

To the north of the Viaduct, a collection of late 1800s architectural pieces used to dress up Victorian-era buildings –

On my return, back on top of the Riverdale footbridge crossing the Don, I stop to check the scene on the Cabbagetown side. It has a great sliding hill and there are some people taking advantage of the snow-covered slope.

The Cabbagetown tobogganing hill

The tobogganing hill on the Cabbagetown side of the Don River valley is a great one but an even better one is on the east side just off the side of Broadview Avenue. Here is a view of the main sliding area from the bottom –

A bit to the south is another open area with a more gradual slope. That’s it in the image below! It is more of a “family with young children” spot to hang out! Parents line the top as they watch their 5-year-olds slide down the hill, no doubt worrying a little about what can happen.

the Riverdale East beginner’s hill at Broadview

See the post below for some pix and action taken  – not from the bottom of the Broadview hill – but from the top.

Related Post:-10ºC and Snow in Toronto – Great For Toboganning!

Today – two days later – on my way back home from a slushy walk down in the valley,  I walked up that same beginners’ slope. Thanks to the +6ºC temperature for the past day, the hill was looking very different! Patches of exposed grass and slush instead of snow.

We’ll just have to wait for the next snowfall!

Related Post: Dashing through The Snow – Viggo Has A Winter’s Blast!

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6 Responses to A Winter’s Day Walk Along The Banks of Toronto’s Lower Don River

  1. Garry says:

    Peter,
    so saddened to hear your Walkin’ Buddy has “departed the fix and flown west” (an old aviation euphemism). I’m sure the air, on every walk these days, is filled with the memories of those good times of the past. As I type this my 2 Irish Setters are looking down upon my keyboard skills from their perch on my writer’s wall above.
    Best thoughts your way, Garry

    • true_north says:

      You know the day is coming when they’ve got to go – but you’re still stunned when it happens! And then you focus on the years you spent with the super-affectionate little hooligan and the smiles he generated in our daily rambles. Given that photo of your dogs, you know what I mean.

      We have dibs on another Icelandic who is related to Viggo on his mother’s side. The litter was apparently conceived within a few days after Viggo died…a coincidence to find solace in!

      • Garry says:

        RB,
        That’s pretty cool!! Viggo the 2nd!! Is there such a thing as “doggie reincarnation”…??
        PG

      • true_north says:

        Well, there you go! I’m a hard-core skeptic when it comes to stuff like this…but I certainly understand the appeal and how it helps us deal with what life throws our way – even the loss of a beloved dog!

        Re: Viggo the 2nd.! I hope you are not one of those who uses the same name for the succession of dogs that pass through your life – I think that is so …what’s the right word? well…how about wrong for now!

      • Garry the 1st !! lol says:

        Nope…even refused to name my first son after me!! But…never a dog…but, one never knows…what if he looks at you like your “Buddy” did??

      • true_north says:

        Just noticed your new and improved handle. lol indeed.

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