7 February 2016 – The bike comes early in my hike, neatly hooked high against the staircase in an alley near Sherbourne & Bloor St. East. Does it await spring? Or just the owner’s next outing, perhaps later today?
Either way, a vivid punch of red against all that black.
I cross busy Bloor East & drop down a staircase to the pedestrian bridge over Rosedale Valley Rd. Why did I cross at street level? I could have cut behind the Sherbourne subway station on the south side & used the little tunnel instead.
But I didn’t, so all the tunnel offers me this time around is a view of its non-stop street art — some planned, some definitely unofficial.
I particularly like the Blue Jay atop the entrance.
Then I walk across the bridge, and take in a very different setting from its north, up-market Rosedale side. North & south sides of Rosedale Valley may belong to the same election ridings but, I promise you, they live in different demographic worlds entirely.
No graffiti this end, but something very human nonetheless. The plaque tells us that author Morley Callaghan lived nearby from 1951 until his death in 1990, and was a frequent user of the bridge — at first with wife and dog, then with dog Nikki as his faithful companion to the end.
I square my shoulders, brace myself to find my way through Deepest, Darkest Rosedale. My target is Milkman’s Lane, which will lead me down into the ravine and to Evergreen Brick Works. Feeling slightly sheepish, I sneak a look at my map.
Yes! Up here, dog-leg to there, follow that curve, and sharp right into Milkman’s Lane.
It’s a steep drop down the gravel lane into the ravine. I cantilever my weight slightly backwards, and admire the father who is coaching his little boy in the mysteries of riding his bike down the lane without losing control. The child (securely helmeted) is triumphant: he’s controlling speed beautifully and deliberately wobbles his voice in sympathy with the gravel beneath his wheels as he calls out to his father — “I’m doing it!”
Into the Evergreen Brick Works complex, once literally a brick works, now repurposed for community & the environment. I thread my way past the open-air skating rink in Koerner Gardens, with a pause to admire the jaunty sunflower-cum-windmill on the edge of the adjacent Kilns.
Into The Kilns — once really kilns, now left with enough old machinery for atmosphere, but sufficiently cleared to provide room for exhibits and assorted festivals. It’s Winter Village at the moment, with fire pits and food and other stalls, the structure open to its Koerner Gardens side.
Skaters come & go, especially helmeted small children, shepherded by parents.
Fun for big kids too, such as this great big bunch of wooden rectangles.
I arrive too late for the stacking thereof, but just in time to see Boyfriend photograph triumphant Girlfriend with the resulting tower. She heads off to find them some coffee; he pushes his bike helmet to one side & steps in to fiddle with the tower.
Then he gives the tower a mighty BOOT!!! All those rectangles come clattering to the ground. Girlfriend, by now back with coffee, gives a yip & dances around on one leg. Seems her other ankle got in the way of flying pieces of wood.
I grab a savoury scone (“Warm it for you?” “Yes, please!”) and make my way to the pedestrian path along the edge of Bayview Ave. My goal is the Lower Don Trail along the Don River, which I can join at the Pottery Rd. access point.
And I do. I am immediately rewarded, as I head north on the Trail, by salmon leaping in the waves. Great dancing salmon, leaping in curling waves and bubbling froth.
All this on the Trail itself, you understand.
Every now & then, there’s a word to trigger your own exuberance in life. Squint at the above photo, you’ll see “Cycle.”
The art does just fine on its own, mind you …
but I start word-hunting as well. “Power” for example …
and “Joy” …
I wonder a moment about”Power.” It seems a bit aggressive, don’t you think, for this sort of list? Then I decide it means positive power, the power of energy and commitment and contribution, and I’m happy again.
Finally I turn south again, south across Pottery Rd., on south & south, with eventually a glance back at the Bloor St. Viaduct, its freshly painted arches gleaming in the late-afternoon sun.
And still south & south, to the not-gleaming — in fact, very scruffy — staircase from this Trail up to the pedestrian bridge across the Don Valley Parkway that links the East & West sections of Riverdale Park.
Ooof. It’s a lot of steps. And ooof some more steps, up the ravine edge of Riverdale Park West.
I check my pedometer when I reach home, prepared to be Very Annoyed. On Tuesday, Phyllis & I walked for 3 hours, only to have my eccentric pedometer tell us we had covered 0.39 km.
Today, I am offered a reading of 11.67 km.