TORONTO FORGES AHEAD WITH “THE BENTWAY” BENEATH THE GARDINER EXPRESSWAY

THE BENTWAY, named after the undulating Gardiner Expressway, will eventually stretch from Strachan Avenue to Bathurst Street – a 1.75 kilometre strip linking Exhibition Place, Liberty Village, Niagara, Fort York, Bathurst Quay, Wellington Place and City Place.

A skating trail under the Gardiner Expressway? It’s a brilliant idea supported by Mayor JOHN TORY, and by the end of December/2017 it will be a new gathering place for TORONTO’s growing population.

Along with the skating trail plans include gardens, markets, art, recreational amenities, exhibits, festivals, theatre and musical performances. Unused land under the expressway is being turned into useful public space. Bravo!

A $25-million gift from the Judy and Wilmot Matthews Foundation made this possible. Ms. Matthews is a granddaughter of E. J. Lennox (1854-1933), an architect who designed many of TORONTO’s iconic buildings, including Old City Hall and Casa Loma.

THE BENTWAY is underway.

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BUILT IN 1963, THE ROSEHILL RESERVOIR FOUNTAIN IS A CANADIAN WATER LANDMARK

The atomic-age fountain can be found on top of the Rosehill Reservoir, which dates back to 1873-74, and was covered over in the 1960’s. It became TORONTO’s first environmentally friendly green roof, and is connected to the John Street Pumping Station 8 kilometres away.

Adjacent to the fountain – Rosehill Garden, a project of the city and fundraising neighbours, David Balfour Park and Ravine, a collection of Victorian-era homes and the best autumn colours anywhere in the inner city.

DOWNTOWN’S WATERFRONT EAST IS MATURING INTO A YEAR ‘ROUND ‘GO-TO’ DESTINATION

After a short walk or bike ride from the city centre, you’ll arrive at TORONTO’s relatively quiet eastern lakefront.

Waterfront East has grown over the past year, combining the great outdoors with a number of smart condo buildings, parks, wading pools, at least one sandy beach and a restaurant. This is a good place to bike or watch the boats go by.

There are plenty of condos here, with many more on the way.  The Lake Ontario view is prime.

One of the originals – Sherbourne Common

The pink umbrellas of Sugar Beach

VICTORIA SQUARE, TORONTO’S OLDEST MILITARY CEMETERY, HAS BECOME A PUBLIC PARK

Our city’s oldest military cemetery was established by Governor Simcoe to receive bodies from nearby Fort York.  His youngest daughter, Katherine, was the first to be buried here, followed by another 400 – including some casualties from the War of 1812.

Fortunately, a few of the earliest gravestones have survived, and they now form a wall of remembrance.

In the centre of the park is an impressive monument to the War of 1812, sculpted by Walter Seymour Allward.  The Union Jack flies over all.

The cemetery was closed in 1863, and virtually abandoned until the late 19th century, when it was turned into a public park.

PHILOSOPHER’S WALK TRACES THE ROUTE OF TADDLE CREEK IN THE HEART OF DOWNTOWN

TADDLE CREEK was buried during the Industrial Age, but it left behind a scenic ravine-like footpath running from Bloor Street West to the University of TORONTO. This has been named Philosopher’s Walk.

The Creek still flows underground, but above ground the path is bounded by the Royal Ontario Museum, the Royal Conservatory of Music <PHOTO ABOVE> Koerner Concert Hall, Trinity College, the Faculty of Music at the Edward Johnson Building, and the just completed Jackman Law Building.

Faculty of Music, theatre, Edward Johnson Building

Trinity College, University of Toronto

Philosopher’s Walk Amphitheatre

Fourteen trees are planted nearby in memory of 14 women slain in Montreal on December 6, 1989. Memorial created by ‘Women Who Won’t Forget’.

Lamps at the Bloor Street entrance commemorate the 1901 visit of the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall and York (later crowned King George V and Queen Mary). This was a project undertaken by the Imperial Order Daughters of the Empire.

ONE SUNDAY MORNING A SOUTHERN VISITOR LANDED ON LESLIE ST. SPIT – PHOTOS BY STEVEN EVANS

These folks were aligned along the edge of a wetland. Birdwatchers all, they were focused on a Tricoloured Heron, highly unusual in these parts. Its normal range is the southeastern part of the United States, and they seldom fly this far north.

<ABOVE – Tricoloured Heron, ANDY JOHNSON, ‘All About Birds’>

The LESLIE STREET SPIT is open to joggers, walkers and bikers every evening from 4:00 to 9pm, and all day on Saturdays, Sundays and Statutory Holidays. It’s closed Monday to Friday from 5:30am to 4:00pm.

The Leslie Street Spit, TORONTO’s ‘artificial-natural’ habitat, extends far out into Lake Ontario at the foot of Leslie Street.  It’s  getting bigger every day.  The Spit was created largely from construction excavations, and is now home to numerous wild animals, birds and butterflies.

AFTER A $15-MILLION REFIT, GRANGE PARK IS NOW OPEN ON DOWNTOWN’S WEST SIDE

The park belongs to the Art Gallery of Ontario. It was bequeathed by Harriet Boulton Smith to what was then called the Art Museum of Toronto. <PHOTO ABOVE – The Trolley Pole>

The City of TORONTO and private donor W. Galen Weston funded the renovation of GRANGE PARK to the tune of $10-15-million.

The playground has both typical and not-so-typical attractions.  There’s a splash pad, literary walk and an off-leash dog area.

Grange Park centrepiece – Henry Moore’s sculpture ‘Large Two Forms’
Grange Park backs onto the Art Gallery of OntarioThe Grange, one of TORONTO’s oldest houses is shown below centre.  It’s now part of the AGO.

Older trees were kept in place, while another 80 were added, including chestnut, beach and elm.

<PHOTO ABOVE – Grange Park before the rebuild began, roughly two years ago>

<Downtown skyscrapers are just a few blocks away.>