Learn more about BikingToronto and Singer Kwinter
Explore more posts like this:

Biking Toronto’s Ravines

Toronto is known by outsiders (and even a startling number of Torontonians) for being relatively flat.

Anyone that bikes Toronto knows that perception to be false, because of the oft-forgotten ravines of the city. Toronto is marbled with deep, wild, forested ravines. In fact, biking the ravines give a totally different view of the city than the one you get biking the streets (I’ve had a photo post of a big ravine ride I did a few weeks ago that I still have to post…), and different than car drivers see.

When biking the streets of Toronto, cyclists tend to adjust their routes to take them across one of the bridges that traverse the many ravines of the city. The minor ones are filled with trees which hide what’s down below. Biking the ravines though, you realize that Anne Michaels was right when she wrote about them in Fugitive Pieces:

It’s a city of ravines. Remnants of wilderness have been left behind. Through these great sunken gardens you can traverse the city beneath the streets, look up to the floating neighbourhoods, houses built in the treetops. It’s a city of valley spanned by bridges. A railway runs through back yards. A city of hidden lanes, of clapboard garages with corrugated tin roofs, of wooden fences sagging where children have made shortcuts. In April, the thickly treed streets are flooded with samara, a green tide. Forgotten rivers, abandoned quarries, the remains of an Iroquois fortress. Public parks hazy with subtropical memory, a city built in the bowl of a prehistoric lake.


Like diving birds, Athos and I plunged one hundred and fifty million years into the dark deciduous silence of the ravines. Behind the billboard next to Tamblyn’s Drugstore we dipped down into the humid amphitheatre of a Mezozoic swamp, where massive fronds and ferns tall as houses waved in a spore-dense haze. Beneath a parking lot, behind a school; from racket, fumes, and traffic, we dove into the city’s sunken rooms of green sunlight. Then, like andartes, resurfaced half a city away – from under the bridge near Stan’s Variety or from behind the Honey Dew Restaurant.

Honestly, biking the ravines it’s easy to forget that you are in the middle of a city of millions of people and cars and pollution. You climb up out of a ravine (or emerge from the Don or Humber Valley at the lakefront) and you are all of a sudden back in Toronto, after a trip through a forest you’ve been riding through for hours.

We owe our ravines to Hurricane Hazel and Jane Jacobs. The remnants of Hurricane Hazel hit Toronto in 1954, flooding our river valleys and washing away homes. Development was restricted in the valleys and they became parkland. Then, in the 1960s and 70s, the ravines were earmarked for highway placement until Jane Jacobs helped stop the Spadina Expressway at Eglinton, keeping it from decimating Cedarvale Ravine, the Annex neighbourhood, and the western part of downtown.

RECENTLY ON BIKING TORONTO:

bike-commuter_small

EVENT: Tues, May 5 – Etobicoke South Cycling Committee: May meeting

Date: Tuesday, May 5, 2015 – 19:00 – 21:00 The ESCC is holding its monthly meeting between 7 and 9 PM on May 5 at Among Friends. Below is the agenda. 1. What happened at the April 9 meeting on the Humber Bay Shores trails? 2. The city has released funding for the trail on […]

17951_1175263074351_144887_n

EVENT: Sat, June 20 – Cycle for Sight Toronto

Date: Saturday, June 20, 2015 – 08:00 – 18:00 Cycle for Sight is a fully supported, one-day cycling event in support of the Foundation Fighting Blindness. Whether you’re a cycling enthusiast or leisure rider, riding a single or tandem bike, Cycle for Sight will be the perfect one-day ride! We offer different distance options from […]

17052169538_38881f8808_b

PHOTO OF THE DAY: Making Our Own Power

Source: Original photo – by cookedphotos on Flickr. Ikea celebrates Earth Day at Yonge Dundas Square. This photo was featured as blogTO’s ‘Photo of the Day’ for April 23, 2015: http://ift.tt/1FgtWh3 via Flickr. See this and 7,000+ other amazing bike photos in the Biking Toronto Flickr Group.

DO IT! Take a survey; help Toronto plan cycling infrastructure

We’ve just posted our first survey for the development of Toronto’s Cycling Network Plan for the next 10 years. At this stage we are asking Toronto residents about values, so we can better understand the priorities of residents in different parts of the City. Understanding these priorities will help inform resource allocation. The geocoding and […]

17036745578_be24fd7cab_b

PHOTO OF THE DAY: Dundas x Sterling

Source: Original photo – by Fixed in Silver on Flickr. Morning light on a gorgeous Saturday in Toronto. To our left is the existing southern access point of the West Toronto Railpath. via Flickr. See this and 7,000+ other amazing bike photos in the Biking Toronto Flickr Group.

16919463559_f2b23e1306_b

PHOTO OF THE DAY: On Bike Patrol

Source: Original photo – by WillJaksa on Flickr. Toronto Police Officers on bike patrol near Jarvis Street. #Toronto #TorontoPolice #GeorgeStreetDiner via Flickr. See this and 7,000+ other amazing bike photos in the Biking Toronto Flickr Group.

greatergoods

SHOP: Greater Goods – Green, Delivered by Bike

Great new service here in Toronto – Greater Goods.  Environmental products, delivered by bike. They are delivering using the cool Trio Cargobike – I don’t know if they are available in Toronto, but VeloLifestyle in Montreal carries them (disclosure: VeloLifestyle is an advertiser on BikingToronto) 100% Natural Products We inspect every ingredient of every single […]

SHOP: Top 25 bike stores in Toronto by neighbourhood

Bike stores in Toronto are scattered throughout the city. There’s bound to be a spot near you that will suit your needs, whether you’re looking to pick up a shiny new ride, get repairs done, order a custom build, or even pick up some new skills for yourself. Here are my picks for the top […]

OH YEAH! Cycle Toronto’s #BloorLovesBikes campaign is here and it’s awesome

The biggest OH YEAH! to Cycle Toronto for the start of their “Bloor Loves Bikes” campaign.   Who wants bikelanes bringing lots of people to their stores to spend lots of money not being spent on cars?  Bloor businesses do! Our #BloorLovesBikes window decals are in! Watch for them on Bloor coming soon! via Cycle […]

17200358111_44d310ae2a_z

PHOTO OF THE DAY: Hmmm

Source: Original photo – by Create Sean on Flickr. Kensington Market, Toronto Ontario – Favorite shot from yesterday’s photowalk. via Flickr. See this and 7,000+ other amazing bike photos in the Biking Toronto Flickr Group.

Recommended Lights

"Frog" Lights

Planet Bike Light Combo

Planet Bike 5 LED Tail Light
Recommended Books
See More Books