REACHING TORONTO HIKING & BIKE TRAILS, BEACHES, THE ZOO, GARDENS, BLUFFS, ETC. BY PUBLIC TRANSIT

MARTIN GOODMAN WATERFRONT TRAIL – a 78-kilometre multi-use path for biking, running and walking along TORONTO’s waterfront. The Trail traverses the lake shore from Humber Bay in the west to the Rouge River in the east. Take the subway to Union Station, then the streetcar to Queen’s Quay, and you’re there.TORONTO ISLANDS’ FERRY DOCKS – foot of Bay Street at Queen’s Quay, west of the Westin Harbour Castle Hotel. From Union Station walk south on Bay Street. Ward’s Island boasts a small village and the island’s only patio restaurant. Kids love Centre Island.EAST END BEACHES – Line #2 subway to Woodbine station; transfer to Woodbine bus #92 . . . . . . .  OR from Queen Street downtown take the Queen streetcar #501 eastbound to Neville Park. Get off at Woodbine and Queen and then walk south. Woodbine is the largest beach in the area.TORONTO BOTANICAL GARDENS, 777 Lawrence Avenue East at Leslie Street.  Line #1 subway to EGLINTON station.  Then take the 51, 54 or 162 bus to LAWRENCE Avenue. The Gardens are on the southwest corner. From the south end of the Gardens there’s access to the Don River Ravine.TORONTO ZOO – subway Line #1, transfer to Sheppard Line at Sheppard Station, to DON MILLS STATION.  Bus #85 leaves from here, and will drop you in front of the Zoo entrance about 45 minutes later.SCARBOROUGH BLUFFS – Line #2 east to Victoria Park station. Then a 12 or 12-B Kingston Rd bus east to the Brimley Rd/Kingston Rd intersection. From there the Scarborough Bluffs are about a 10 minute walk south on Brimley Rd. Running 15 kilometres (9.3 miles) along the coastline of Lake Ontario, the Bluffs are home to beaches, walking trails, wild flora and fauna, a marina and some of the finest homes in the city.EVERGREEN BRICKWORKS – in the Don Valley, where the bricks were made that built TORONTO. A city bus is operated by the TTC (Toronto Transit Commission).  Take the #28 from DAVISVILLE subway station on Line #1. The bus runs from 6 am to 1:00 am from Monday to Saturday and 8am–6pm on Sundays . . . . . . There’s also the Evergreen shuttle bus, Monday to Friday, every 30–45 minutes from the parkette on Erindale Ave, east of Broadview Ave., north of Line #2’s Broadview subway station. Capacity of the bus – 20 seated; 6 standing.And of course there’s so much more including city-run golf courses, the vast ravine network, West TORONTO beaches, public swimming pools and aqua centres, and the Bike Share program, sponsored by the Toronto-Dominion Bank.

THERE’S A PEACEFUL REFUGE FOR RETIRED DONKEYS AND IT’S NOT VERY FAR FROM TORONTO

The hard workers of the equine world are too often taken for granted, treated inhumanely, and considered disposable as they age. Since 1992, the Donkey Sanctuary of Canada, a short drive west of TORONTO, has been a refuge for donkeys, mules and hinnies (offspring of a horse stallion and a jenny donkey) who’ve been abandoned, abused or put up for adoption. Sixty-one of them live in peace at the Sanctuary, and another 40 are in care at foster farms.<PHOTO ABOVE – Daily Hive>The Sanctuary’s charter grants all of the animals – the right of life regardless of age or condition; a dignified and peaceful death; freedom from hunger and thirst; freedom from discomfort and pain, fear and distress.To learn more about the Donkey Sanctuary of Canada, hours of operation, education, programs and tours, check their website – http://www.thedonkeysanctuary.caHOW TO GET THERE – From TORONTO take Highway 401 westbound, exit #295, Highway 6 North. Go to the second road, Puslinch Concession 4, turn left and proceed to #6981.

HIGH WINDS & WAVES ARE SUBMERGING PARTS OF THE TORONTO ISLANDS INTO LAKE ONTARIO

Since 2017, flooding of TORONTO’s archipelago of 15 islands has been of great concern to the Toronto Region Conservation Authority (TRCA). In the future, there could be new beaches and bridges, with raised barriers (or berms), elevation of low-lying roads, increased shore protection structures, and re-routed surface drainage to already installed sump pumps.PHOTOS taken by BRYAN BLENKIN on July 25/2019.

THE DOCTORS’ PARKETTE @ BRUNSWICK & COLLEGE STREETS, HONOURS MEDICAL HISTORY

RICHARD LONGLEY in NOW Magazine – “The job is done. The Doctor’s Parkette, dedicated to honour the medical history of HARBORD VILLAGE, whose stars included Dr. Norman Bethune & Dr. Henry Morgentaler (and other prominent doctors who lived in the area, along with its hospitals) transformed this once-squalid corner.”A design competition announced by the Harbord Village Residents’ Association in 2011 to revitalize the site produced 27 entries from eight countries. A panel of professionals judged them and residents voted for their favourites. (In 2018 – 7 years later – the Doctors’ Parkette became reality). <PHOTOS – PMA Lanscape Architects Limited>

A DOWNTOWN BREATHING SPACE – THE NEW COLLEGE PARK & BARBARA ANN SCOTT ICE TRAIL

Surrounded on all sides by high rise office buildings and condominiums, the new COLLEGE PARK provides plenty of breathing and sitting-out space for downtown office workers and the thousands who live there.The city’s Forestry and Recreation Division supervised the project which includes planning and design work from RAW Design, the MBTW Group/Watchorn Architect and Project for Public Spaces (PPS).

<PHOTO – BARBARA ANN SCOTT by Fred Chartrand/Canadian Press/2007>Canada’s 1948 Olympic gold medalist in women’s singles figure skating BARBARA ANN SCOTT (1928-2012) would be pleased to know that TORONTO and developers Canderel Stoneridge have agreed to rebuild both the skating rink and ice trail.You’ll find COLLEGE PARK at 420 Yonge Street in a district that’s undergoing some big changes.  There’s no better place to sit and contemplate.

ANOTHER AFRICAN PENGUIN, ONE OF THE WORLD’S MOST ENDANGERED, HAS ARRIVED AT TORONTO ZOO

According to a press release, the African Penguin is one of the most endangered penguin species in the world, The population in the wild has dropped by more than 97% over the past century.

The birds are threatened by food shortages due to climate change and over-fishing, disease, predators, and oil spills, Recent estimates suggest there could be as few as 25,000 breeding pairs left in the wild, the zoo said.

TORONTO ZOO PLANS A $5-MILLION LATE-NIGHT LIGHT SHOW, AND A BABY ZEBRA GETS A NAME

The City has approved a $5-million loan, making way for “Lumina Experience”, an after hours light show. The “immersive illuminations and interactive displays” will be accessible on walking tours that last about an hour.The show will be produced by the MOMENT FACTORY, a multimedia company based in MONTREAL, which has created similar projects in Canada and around the world –  Old Fort Henry in Kingston, Ontario; Singapore Zoo; and Whistler Resort in British Columbia to name three.  The photos below are from Moment Factory’s light exhibits that were installed in other parts of the world.  Each one is different.The TORONTO ZOO has decided on a name for its new zebra foal. Born on February 13, 2019, the little guy is now called OBI – replacing ‘Baby Stripes’. The name is in keeping with the Star Wars-inspired names of his siblings, LEIA and REY . . . 7,500 members of the public voted on a name.This is the third foal TORI, a Grevy’s Zebra, has delivered at TORONTO Zoo. Leia arrived in January 2014 and Rey in July 2016. All three were sired by Jake, an 11-year-old male. An endangered species, these animals are threatened by loss of habitat, competition for resources with domestic livestock; poaching for meat & medicinal purposes; disease and drought.

FROM THE ZOO’S PHOTO ALBUM – ANIMALS & BIRDS THAT CALL ONTARIO & GTR. TORONTO HOME

TORONTO is home to thousands of black & gray SQUIRRELS.  By burying seeds and nuts, they’e an important part of the city’s ecosystem.  Their hard work promotes germination and forest renewal.

The MASSASSAUGA RATTLESNAKE is an endangered species.  Over a dozen have been born at the Zoo.  They’re shy reptiles, and it’s illegal to harass, harm or kill one.

Owls in the Greater TORONTO Area – Great Horned, Eastern Screech, Barred, Northern Saw Whet, Great Grey & occasional/seasonal, the Snowy Owl.Elsa, the ARCTIC FOX, 1.5-years-old, came to TORONTO from Parc Safari.  She’s joined others in the Tundra Trek.

Breathing in the Northland, a member of the Zoo’s POLAR BEAR family.

And one new-resident of Ontario, an AFRICAN PENGUIN, a participant in the Zoo’s Species Survival Plan.  Seventeen new chicks were born here, since the species arrived in 2011.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.

‘THE LESLIE ST. SPIT’ ALLOWS TORONTONIANS TO EMBRACE NATURE, ESPECIALLY ON WEEKENDS

The Leslie Street Spit, TORONTO’s ‘artificial-natural’ habitat, extends 5 kilometres into Lake Ontario at the foot of Leslie Street.

The Spit was created largely from construction excavations, and is now home to numerous wild animals, birds and butterflies, as well as weekend joggers, cyclists and hikers.

<PHOTO ABOVE – constructing the Spit, 1990 to 1994, City of Toronto Archives>TOMMY THOMPSON PARK is on the man-made peninsula, and contains some of the largest existing natural habitat on the TORONTO waterfront. Wildlife, especially birds, flourish in the park, making it one of the best nature-watching areas in the GTA.<PHOTO – view of the city from the park, January 16/2019>  The Park contains 10 kilometres of accessible paved trail.<PHOTO – Toronto at night from Tommy Thompson Park>

<PHOTO by Frank Lennon/Toronto Star via Getty Images>  Who was TOMMY THOMPSON (1913-1985)? The Park’s namesake was a TORONTO Parks Commissioner who really loved his job. Among many of his achievements was the conversion of Toronto Island into one enormous park. He’s best known for a sign in the city’s spotless network of parks – “Please Walk On The Grass”.For detailed information on The Spit, Tommy Thompson Park & other parks in the region (including opening times and photographs) go to – https://trca.ca/parks/tommy-thompson-park/?gclid=EAIaIQobChMI3oOh852J4AIVR57ACh1vowCuEAAYASAAEgL_yvD_BwE