Sunday, April 04, 2010


Back last year sometime I developed a weird, freakish affection for a pair of parks in my neighbourhood. One is Charles Sauriol, which consisted at the time of a boarded-up house, some nasty gardens, and a narrow trail that travels along the east side of the East Don river. Once we followed it (the trail disappeared in places, but we persevered) all the way from Lawrence, where the park starts, to Eglinton Ave. The other park is Moccasin Trail. It's on the west side of the Don Valley Parkway, and has a graffiti-laden tunnel under the highway, and then an archway (the DVP rainbow) under a railway line. The two parks look at one another from the two sides of the Don river, but there's no way to cross except over a rail bridge, of which there are two options, if you walk south and kind of out of Moccasin Trail park. Except last year for a while there was a construction bridge -- footings and a metal slab that they apparently drove a backhoe over. I thought it was a great place for a bridge, but I can see where the people in charge might have thought that it was a bit close to the highway, and hence the city would be sued if I crazily wandered out into traffic or something.

In my urban fantasy novel, I put North York's hellmouth (Scalzi suggested I make it a hellhole, and I might do that, so as not to seem too Buffyish) near the intersection of the two rail lines, in these parks.

Anyway. Having not been there for several months, because Ed hates to go to the same park over and over, and it was winter and all, on Friday I rode my bike past the barrier and down the hill to the park.

Much to my chagrin (because I was looking forward to an extremely short ride) I could ride all the way almost to the second (lower) rail bridge. At some point over the course of the fall and winter, the city, or the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority, took the trail from being a narrow dirt footpath to being a pedestrian mall. It's covered with wood chips now, but I bet that will change. They put a bridge in (it's blocked off for now, but when has that ever stopped us?) so we no longer have to trespass on rail lands to cross the river, but they're already starting to fence off the areas around the rail bridges.

Bitterest of ironies, signs around the entryway of the park announced woodland naturalization.


ChiaLynn said...

1. I thought I recognized the description of the park - and I was vindicated when you said the hellmouth is there!

2. You realize, of course, that all this "making it pretty" stuff is just to keep kids away from the hellmouth. They'll be far less interested in the area if it seems like a place they're encouraged to go.

Robyn said...

But the fences, they just make me want to see what's on the other side.