IT’S EASY TO REACH TORONTO ZOO, CANADA’S LARGEST – BY CAR OR ON PUBLIC TRANSPORT

<“Come on out and see us some time – we’d love to see YOU.”>

<SAMSON, the Grizzly Bear, lives up to his name.>

It’s easy to get to TORONTO ZOO – by car, from downtown, take the 401 Eastbound to Exit 389, Meadowvale Road.  Follow the Zoo signs to 361A Old Finch Avenue.  Large parking lot.

By TTC bus, take the subway (Sheppard Line) to DON MILLS STATION.  Bus #85 leaves from there, and will drop you in front of the Zoo entrance about 45 minutes later.  Along the way, you’ll pass through suburban Don Mills and Scarborough.

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SCARBOROUGH’S GUILD PARK & GARDENS DISPLAY ARCHITECTURAL RELICS FROM TORONTO’S PAST

<PHOTO – Ross Winter>

Never having been there before. I was totally surprised by the beauty of this Scarborough park, property of the TORONTO and Region Conservation Authority.

<The Greek Theatre was built from the remnants of a Bank of TORONTO; photo – SimonP.>

Located on the Scarborough Bluffs, this huge spread of grassy meadow is punctuated by large-scale relics from TORONTO’s past – mostly from the downtown Financial District. They were saved, beginning in the late 1950’s as the buildings themselves were being demolished.

<TORONTO Star Building, 80 King Street West, Chapman & Oxley Architects>

<The Osterhout Log Cabin, oldest building in Scarborough, commissioned in 1795 by John Graves Simcoe, First Lieutenant-Governor of Upper Canada>

<Carvings from the Bank of Nova Scotia, 39 King Street West, 1903-69>

The park is off Guildwood Parkway, east of Eglinton Avenue East and Kingston Road. Most of the area is forested and eventually leads to a ravine and Lake Ontario.

<ABOVE – the belfry of Victoria Park School>

THE DON VALLEY’S RICH CLAY PRODUCED TORONTO’S BUILDING BLOCKS; NOW IT’S A NATURAL REFUGE

A national charity, the Evergreen Brick Works, 550 Bayview Avenue, are constantly changing.  Bike clinics, murals and art galleries, movies, hiking trails, a quarry garden, wildlife, a farmer’s market, industrial architecture, music, programming for children – and the original kilns and brick-making apparati.  Website – http://www.evergreen.ca

<PHOTO – the Don Valley Brick Works in 1891; City of Toronto Archives>

Recorded as both Nechenquakekonk and Wonscotonach in Algonquin language, the DON was part of an ancient Indigenous trail network connecting Lake Ontario to the upper great lakes, It was prized by the Wendat, Haudenosaunee and Anishnaabek Confederacies as a seasonal, resource-rich terrain.

The Valley became a major industrial site, producing the bricks needed for a rapidly growing TORONTO.

GETTING THERE:  shuttle bus, 7 days a week, every half hour, from BROADVIEW subway station;  TTC’s 28A Davisville bus offers half-hourly service on Saturdays from 7:30am–6pm and Sundays from 8am–6pm.  http://ebw.evergreen.ca/visit/getting-here

SOME RESIDENTS OF TORONTO ZOO, CANADA’S LARGEST – THEY’RE PHOTOGENIC NATURALS

It’s easy to get to TORONTO ZOO – by car, from downtown, take the 401 Eastbound to Exit 389, Meadowvale Road.  Follow the Zoo signs to 361A Old Finch Avenue.  Large parking lot.

By TTC bus, take the subway (Sheppard Line) to DON MILLS STATION.  Bus #85 leaves from here, and will drop you in front of the Zoo entrance about 45 minutes later.  Along the way, you’ll pass through suburban Don Mills and Scarborough.

GHOST BLDGS. ON TORONTO ISLANDS – GONE FOREVER, BUT THEIR IMAGES SURVIVE IN THE ARCHIVES

TORONTO Islands, a vast network of parks, canals, a boardwalk, superb views of the skyline, an antique carousel, labyrinth, the harbour and Lake Ontario, along with a community of 250 winterized cottages (on Ward’s Island) . . . only 15 minutes from TORONTO’s Financial District.

Catch a ferry at the foot of Yonge Street and minutes later you’re there. Winter and summer schedules differ, and the ferries take different routes. Water taxis are also available.

The “ghost buildings” of TORONTO Islands exist only in the city archives. Below – paintings by TORONTO artists, dating from 1856 to 1949.

<Old Fog Bell, Toronto Island, by William Armstrong (1822-1916)>

<Elias Rogers’ Belvedere Cottage, Centre Island, artist unidentified, 1890>

<Louis Privat Hotel, Toronto Island, where The Eastern Gap is now, 1850, by Owen Staples (1866-1949)>

<David Ward Senior’s house, Centre Island, built in 1856, by Joseph Thomas Rolph (1831-19160>

<William Ward House, ca1871-85, Centre Island, by Owen Staples (1866-1949)>

<The Monarch, paddle steamer, ran aground on Toronto Island, November 29/1856, by William Armstrong (1822-1916)>

<Lookout Tower, Toronto Harbour Police, 1949, by Nicholas Hornyansky (1896-1965)>

<PHOTO – Toronto Island wharf in winter>

NOT MANY CITIES HAVE TWO BOTANICAL GARDENS – BUT THERE ARE TWO OF THEM WITHIN THE GTHA

The ROYAL BOTANICAL GARDENS are located roughly 40 miles southwest of TORONTO midway between BURLINGTON and HAMILTON (GTHA).  A National Historic Site, the gardens cover 2,400 acres with 27 kilometres of walking trails.

The RBG is home to more than 50 at-risk species, and it’s a major stop-over point for thousands of migrating birds.

TORONTO BOTANICAL GARDEN, 777 Lawrence Avenue East at Leslie, is one of Canada’s finest urban gardens.  It’s compact, somewhat hilly but easily walkable.  Accessible by public transit, bicycle and automobile, the Toronto Botanical Garden, Edwards Gardens and Wilket Creek Park lead from one into the other.  And it’s all FREE, including the parking.

EDWARDS GARDENS, 775 Lawrence Avenue East, is a former private estate, featuring an extensive rockery, rhododendrons and wildflowers bordering Wilket Creek Valley, with perennials, roses, an arboretum and a Teaching Garden on its uplands.
And Wilket Creek Park is part of our city’s crisscrossing ravine system, with several kilometres of paved bike trails.

From the EGLINTON SUBWAY STATION take Bus #54 Lawrence Avenue East, or Bus #51 Leslie East.  http://www.torontobotanicalgarden.ca

YORKDALE, TORONTO’S MOST SUCCESSFUL SHOPPING DESTINATION, IS REDUCING ITS CARBON FOOTPRINT

At a time when the Progressive Conservative provincial government is doing everything it can to screw up the environment, OXFORD Developments is working on a vast green roof and solar panel installation atop Yorkdale Shopping Centre.

The solar panel installation is the largest in Greater TORONTO, with more than 600 panels, producing 235,000 kWh annually – equal to the annual energy consumption of 40 houses, and providing a quarter of Yorkdale’s inner & outer lighting.  <PHOTO – Louis Thomas Kelly>

The green roof covers 150,000 square-feet and saves energy by reducing atmospheric heating, air pollution and makes use of surface water run-off. The rainwater collection system supports the rooftop ecosystem.

Avéole, an urban beekeeping company, has installed two rooftop hives with 5,000 inhabitants – and plans to eventually house 50,000 honey bees – improving pollination all around the neighbourhood.

Elevated Eats occupies space above a parking garage – an urban garden that produces 30 varieties of fruits and vegetables. The garden’s produce is forwarded to local food banks.  <PHOTO – Louis Thomas Kelly; details from urbantoronto.ca>