Saturday, January 21, 2006

Last Sunday's Chilly Tour

Last Sunday, when it was minus something or other for the first time in a while, I did a half metric century around Toronto (really it was 47 km). It was at a leisurely pace with no set route. I had had a couple days busy inside and just wanted to get outside and do something.

I followed the Don River south as usual. This is my favorite way to head to the lakeshore if I'm not in a rush. The Don River was trying hard to freeze over, but all that effort would be proven pointless by the middle of the week.

My main destination was the Leslie Spit: an artificial peninsula made of demolished buildings and the like, which is still growing, and has been turned into a park. (Feel free to correct me if I'm off on that). I hadn't been there in a while, and I thought it would be good to see if its rocks and shrubbery looked any different in January from how they look in September. Since all the snow has melted, I probably should have been able to predict the answer to that one.

I had in mind a show I saw on Ontario's public television broadcaster, TVO (you get three guesses what that stands for). The show was featuring a bird watcher who talked about how the Leslie Spit is a unique bird watching site with some of the greatest variety of bird species in North America. I saw some evidence of this, but it was only in the form of people with binoculars. There was even a group of men in winter grey hunting fatigues carrying cameras with two foot long zoom lenses.

With my naked eye, I managed to spot some ducks and seagulls in this large pond that sits in the middle of the spit.

There were bird houses of simple construction all around the spit. They looked similar to a bird house I made for wrens when I was a kid, but I imagine many types of bird could live in them. Mine ended up giving shelter to a few thousand wasps.

I wanted to get to somewhere with a little less wind, so I took off west to downtown for some poutine, coffee and skating (just watching). The rink at Nathan Phillips Square was busy but open enough that some serious skaters could weave their way through the flow of people.

Darren J 1/21/2006 11:23:00 p.m.


It sounds like you'd like "Toronto the Wild" by Wayne Grady. It's an easy and interesting read.
Hey...I just did a ride down to the Spit this past weekend too: Pics etc...

I usually do alot of cycling in the winter, but never before have I done this much recreational / non-commuting riding! I miss having a nice snowy winter, but this is nice too I guess.

I still haven't been up the Don River since living in Toronto. Well, except for the Ride For Heart. I need to check that out sometime.
Vic, I'm sure I'll bump into you out on the spit at some point. I noticed your photos from when you went there in September too, and I think I was there on the same day!

The Don Valley Trail is a great place to ride. It's not perfectly direct, so it's not as fast as riding on Mount Pleasant, but it lets you see a green part of Toronto, and the underbelly of the huge bridges that traverse the valley. The best area is from about Wellesley to Eglinton.

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