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

My 50 Kilometre Toronto Valley And Ravine Tour

Back in mid-April, I spent a good chunk of time one Sunday doing a large circuit of some of Toronto’s ravines, valleys and bike trails. I ended up covering just over 50 kilometres by riding the waterfront trail from the Beaches to the Humber pedestrian bridge, up the Humber Valley to where Lawrence Avenue meets Scarlett Road , across the auto-centric nightmare that is the former borough of York, down the Beltline Trail, Moore Park Ravine and the Don Valley to the east end of Toronto again.

Here’s a map for your viewing pleasure.

It was an interesting ride, if very long (I was out for about 4.5 hours) for me, and I snapped a couple photos along the way (you can click all of them for larger versions):


Here’s a panorama I made from a bunch of photos near Lakeshore and Carlaw. The Gardiner (the elevated highway in the photo, for those of you unfamiliar with Toronto) used to have an eastern “stub” (the start of the cancelled Scarborough Expressway) here, but it was torn down a few years ago. It’s still a car-dominated area, though. They’ve got a seperate bike and pedestrian path here, where it would’ve done wonders for the place if they made bikelanes part of Lakeshore here.


At the other end of the waterfront is Humber Bay Park, with the pedestrian/cyclist bridge that can be seen for miles and miles as you’re biking the waterfront. After crossing this, I headed north up the Humber River, the historical divider between the old city of Toronto and the former borough of Etobicoke.



The Humber Valley is also the area where an entire block of homes was washed away in 1954 in the rain and flooding of Hurricane Hazel (the homes were actually pretty close to where these photos were taken). Development in the Humber and other valleys and ravines of Toronto was stopped because of this, leaving the city with great park networks.

The Humber ride is a pretty nice one (even going north/uphill), even as you get up to the Eglinton area and the old suburbia around you is evident. The parks here are young, with newly planted trees, but even if the trees were mature, the giant “avenues” that you have to cross or ride under are an overwhelming presence.



According to the Toronto Bike Map, the stretch of Tretheway and Castlefield between Jane and the Allen is a “suggested link between off-road paths and other bikeways… links may entail travel on busy, major roads through commercial or industrial areas

Well, they aren’t kidding. No bike lanes anywhere, huge wide open windswept spaces in a rundown area of the city which has suffered due to the auto-centric urban planning ideals of when it was built. A bit after these photos (which are remarkably free of cars) I had to cross the suburban-style giant intersection of Tretheway and Black Creek Road (the extension of highway 400) and it was nerve-wracking. Give me slow, congested downtown traffic any day… it’s much safer.


This intersection of Tretheway and Castlefield (above) is one I had had to take a photo of, because the bikemap recommends that cyclists travel the wrong way on a one way street. (You can click the photo for a larger version). Next time anyone says anything about cyclists riding the wrong way on these streets, I won’t mention that those rules are for heavy baby-killing cars, not pretty environmental bikes… but that the City encourages it.

Getting past this orphaned bit of old suburbia, into the area of Eglinton Avenue and the Allen Road, I got to my favourite part of the journey – the Beltline. Having not ever biked the full length of the BeltLine before, I was in for a great time.


The western part of the BeltLine (an old railway right-of-way from the 1800s) is a little rough, and is being used as a hydro corridor, but has nice smooth pavement and a really cool bridge over Dufferin Avenue that you can stop on and watch all the suckers in their cars going under you.


You have to get back onto the streets for a bit to cross the Allen, but then you get to the best known part of the BeltLine – a mature tree lined linear park through the backyards of one of the richest neighbourhoods (Forest Hill) in Toronto. Back in April the buds were just coming out on the trees… I should go back and take pics now that all the leaves have burst out. Going west to east on the BeltLine you have a slight decline in the terrain, and this coupled with a non-paved but very firm gravel and dirt base lets you just fly (if the way is clear… I slow down to walking/jogging pace around people – especially kids and dogs) southeast towards Mount Pleasant Cemetary. There are a few road crossings, but are minor inconveniences compared to the fun of the BeltLine.


After getting through the cemetary (which does not allow rollerbladers, but seems to welcome cyclists, for some strange reason…)and whipping down Moore Park Ravine (reputably the longest descent in Toronto’s ravine system, and tons of fun, in my opinion), I scooted down into the Don Valley Brickworks (in photo – now a cool urban marshland), where the bricks of all of Toronto’s old buildings were quarried.


I then went down the Don and resurfaced into the city near Broadview & Gerrard after going over the Riverdale pedestrian bridge (pictured, with my bike and the soon to be demolished half-round building of Bridgepoint Health Centre (Riverdale Hospital).

It was a great ride… through many parts of Toronto and great for getting an appreciation of the parks, ravines and often forgotten parts of the city that people in cars and on transit miss out on. There are more photos over on Flickr. Grab yourself a Toronto Bike Map (available at bike stores) before trying it… it helps a lot in the stretch between the Humber Valley and the BeltLine.





RECENTLY ON BIKING TORONTO:

11164590_1589898671259424_5323907149428277118_o

EVENT: Sat, June 6 – Bells on Danforth 2015

Only a week to go! A pedal-powered parade to celebrate cycling! Bells on Danforth returns for our fourth annual family-friendly ride across the Danforth. This year the ride reverses direction, starting at the Prince Edward Viaduct and riding east to the crossroads of the Danforth. When: Sat, June 6; 10:30am Start: Prince Edward Viaduct Parkette […]

KROFw8sl

ARREST HER: Driver somehow gets her car on the Railpath; reportedly HITS A CHILD.

You can’t make this stuff up folks. The following is from the Reddit comments thread.  Did this idiot actually hit a child?!!?!? It was reported to Police by many, especially after she hit a little girl. From Councillor Ana Bailao: Immediately after hearing about this incident my office notified Parks Supervisor Lennox Morgan and local […]

17593486693_d5a405eae5_b

PHOTO OF THE DAY: King St Shadows

Source: Original photo – by PureWest on Flickr.via Flickr. See this and 7,000+ other amazing bike photos in the Biking Toronto Flickr Group. Also check out the thousands of amazing photos that have been shared on instagram with the #biketo hashtag!

5133801801_54d7ee2889_b-e1432740027705-878x494

OH YEAH: Downtown Vancouver businesses’ attitudes towards bike lanes have changed in the last 5 years

“We want downtown to be accessible by all modes of transportation and I think if we say, ‘Well, we’re not interested in separated bike lanes because of this and that, we’re going to basically exclude ourselves from a growing market of people that commute to work by bike as well as people that are living […]

photo

OH YEAH: Prince Edward Viaduct may keep those Jersey Barriers for ALL of Bike Month!

Big ups to Councillor Paula Fletcher, who has requested that those awesome jersey barriers that have separated the eastbound viaduct bikelanes from car traffic (above) during a period of construction STAY for all of Bike Month, so city staff can study the impact of the jersey barriers from now until June 25th. Construction work related […]

School-Shot-3-1024x768

REVIEW: Bike to Work Day 2015 

What began in Toronto as Bike to Work Day  in 1989 has evolved to become one of the largest events of its kind in Canada and is now celebrated across the city for a full month with hundreds of community-driven events. Today, May 25, at Bike to Work Day, bike-friendly politicians (including an appearance by […]

MLandry_Sunnyside-140920-00967

OH YEAH: The Origin Story of Sunnyside Bike Park – An Advocacy Success Story

In early 2011, the High Park BMX jumps were removed as they were on the Seneca Wolf Clan’s Serpent Mounds in the south east corner of the park. A few members of the Toronto Off-Road Bicycle Association (TORBA) approached the new Ward 13 Councillor, Sarah Doucette to ask what the City was going to do […]

18060468762_4368abd3e7_b

PHOTO OF THE DAY: Bike Parc

Source: Original photo – by adsmultimedia@gmail.com on Flickr. The City of Toronto aims to provide a safe, comfortable and bicycle friendly environment that includes bicycle-friendly streets, bike parks and an extensive paved multi-use trail network. via Flickr. See this and 7,000+ other amazing bike photos in the Biking Toronto Flickr Group. Also check out the […]

TRAVEL Log Toronto Cycling 20140714

NEWS: Should cyclists be allowed to ride through stop signs?

Obviously, yes.  Just like drivers are.  Spend any time at a stop sign and watch how many cars do “rolling stops” if there ar no other moving vehicles near the intersection.  Spoiler alert: almost every driver does rolling stops, just like cyclists do. In fact, when I learned to drive in Newmarket, a stop sign […]

20150428-590-BMC2

SHOP: Brand new bike shop a shrine for serious cyclists

Well, the headline is a little stupid… it should read “…shrine for roadie cyclists”, as “serious” doesn’t only apply to those willing to drop thousands of dollars on a bike. It applies equally to the tens (hundreds?) of thousands of Torontonians who are serious about using their bike to get around the city – to […]

Recommended Lights

"Frog" Lights

Planet Bike Light Combo

Planet Bike 5 LED Tail Light
Recommended Books
See More Books