Cycling The Lower Don Trail

Hello and welcome to Weekend Coffee Share #59! I’m glad you’re here. Please come on in, help yourself to a cup of coffee, or tea, or hot chocolate at my coffee station and let’s chat.

Week 9/ 52

The local weather forecast for March looks promising for cycling so I create a short list of cycling routes to explore during the month. Today I’d like to share a recreational trail that I love and a few photos that I took in Fall 2021.

The Lower Don Trail

One of the most well-used recreational trails in Toronto is the Lower Don Trail. The trail runs along the Don River, from Corktown Common to Pottery Road, passing a number of different parks and sights along the way. It’s five kilometres long (3 miles) and is primarily used for cycling, hiking, mountain biking, walking and running.

I love cycling and hiking on the Lower Don Trail and come here as often as I can.

The Lower Don Trail
The Lower Don Trail is nice and quiet during off-peak hours.

Starting from Corktown Common going north, the first kilometre of the trail goes over bridges, under overpasses and near old railway lines. It has a bit of a wild feel to it. I enjoy nature, an array of plants, animals, and sights of the Don River.

At the 3 km mark on the trail, my favourite sight is the Bloor Viaduct, officially known as the Prince Edward Viaduct, built between 1915 and 1918.

Prince Edward Viaduct
Prince Edward Viaduct

The impressive Prince Edward Viaduct crosses the Don River Valley and the Rosedale Ravine, linking Bloor St. with Danforth Ave. Built to designs by architect Edmund Burke between 1915 and 1918, the bridge was originally a controversial project due to its high cost. Because Danforth Avenue was sparsely populated at the time, the viaduct was dubbed ‘the Bridge to Nowhere.” On the recommendation of engineering firm Jacobs and Davies a subway deck was incorporated into the viaduct, a foresight that saved significant time and costs to the construction of the Bloor-Danforth subway line 50 years later.

Source: Prince Edward Viaduct signage
Prince Edward Viaduct and a subway train passing by
Prince Edward Viaduct and a subway train passing by

A short distance north of the Bloor Viaduct is an interesting public art display known as Monsters for Beauty, Permanence and Individuality by Cree artist Duane Linklater.

Monsters for Beauty, Permanence and Individuality, Duane Linklater, 2017
Monsters for Beauty, Permanence and Individuality by Duane Linklater, 2017

It is a series of fourteen cast concrete sculptures that are scattered in a field along the trail like forgotten ruins. The sculptures are cast replicas of gargoyles adorning prominent buildings in downtown Toronto.

Two of 14 cast concrete gargoyle sculptures by artist Duane Linklater
Two of fourteen cast concrete gargoyle sculptures, Duane Linklater, 2017

I love cycling along the Lower Don Trail, then take a walk beside the river’s edge and explore the side trails to see local wildlife on these less used trails.

The Lower Don Trail
The Lower Don Trail
The Don River, looking north
The Don River, looking north
The Don River, looking south
The Don River, looking south

The Lower Don Trail offers a peaceful and scenic outdoor escape with beautiful views, serene sounds of the river, art exhibits, wildlife and access to green spaces. From Pottery Road, the trail connects to more parks and recreational trails.

In the winter, when the Lower Don Trail is snow-covered, I use other available bike paths. The City of Toronto has started making improvements to the Lower Don Trail. I look forward to cycling on the Lower Don Trail again soon.

How has your week been?

Shared with #CellpicSunday, #PPAC38.

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82 thoughts on “Cycling The Lower Don Trail

  1. leannelc March 4, 2022 / 8:24 am

    Hi Natalie – I love what good condition the trail is in – it would make for a very pleasant bike ride or hike and the scenery and those gargoyle sculptures make it even more special. You’re so fortunate to have so many great places to ride and hike.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Natalie March 4, 2022 / 11:01 am

      Hi Leanne, Yes, I feel fortunate to have easy access to recreational trails. This trail is well used and it connects to more trails so I can vary the duration of my ride or hike. The plants change colours with the four seasons and it’s a sensory experience to be on the trail.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Dan Antion March 4, 2022 / 9:15 am

    I love the photo of the subway passing on the Prince Edward Viaduct. If I were on that trail, I’d be waiting for that.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Natalie March 4, 2022 / 11:05 am

      Dan, The subway line that passes on the viaduct is the main line with frequent trains that run east-west in Toronto so you won’t have to wait long. In rush hours, it’s about every minute or two, and in off peak hours, approx. 5 minutes. It’s quite a view of the Don Valley from the subway train, too.

      Liked by 1 person

        • Natalie March 4, 2022 / 9:51 pm

          Dan, Doors Open Toronto is on May 28 and 29, 2022 🙂 It is Canada’s largest Doors Open event and one of the three largest in the world. About 700 unique locations open their doors and the public can go in to see the interiors.

          Liked by 1 person

  3. Ally Bean March 4, 2022 / 9:43 am

    I want some cast concrete gargoyle sculptures for our yard. Wouldn’t that be cool!

    Like

    • Natalie March 4, 2022 / 11:05 am

      Ally, That would be super cool, plus you can use them as seats.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Natalie March 4, 2022 / 11:07 am

      Janet, This trail is well used for its location and a combination of nature and urban touches. Glad you like it.

      Like

    • Natalie March 4, 2022 / 11:08 am

      Gary, I think you’d enjoy exploring this trail.

      Like

  4. Thistles and Kiwis March 4, 2022 / 1:33 pm

    I can see why you like going there – a really beautiful and interesting place. Thanks again for something nice to look at with Saturday breakfast!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Natalie March 4, 2022 / 9:10 pm

      Thanks for joining me virtually. I’m thrilled you read my post with your Saturday breakfast!

      Like

  5. rawsonjl March 4, 2022 / 1:44 pm

    What a beautiful trail; I can see why you like cycling there so much. I really should write up a list of places to go hiking once the weather warms up as I am getting pretty sick of hiking the same handful of places over and over again.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Natalie March 4, 2022 / 9:12 pm

      Having a list of places to explore helps me get up and go when the weather warms up. The trails in your area look very nice.

      Like

  6. Maria March 4, 2022 / 1:45 pm

    What a lovely ride! Thank you for taking us with you. All the trails are covered with ice here, and I cannot wait for them to be more accessible, hopefully sooner than later. Have a wonderful, wonderful weekend!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Natalie March 4, 2022 / 9:14 pm

      Thank you, Maria, for joining me virtually. I hope the weather warms up soon for you. I was out for another long bike ride today on a different trail. It was sunny and cool. Have a wonderful weekend!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Maria March 5, 2022 / 11:44 am

        Thank you! I am so looking forward to some bike riding this spring 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

    • Natalie March 4, 2022 / 9:15 pm

      Thank you for joining me virtually. I thought I’d share one of my favourite cycling and hiking trails. I’m glad you like it, too.

      Like

  7. restlessjo March 4, 2022 / 3:53 pm

    I’m always fascinated by bridges and viaducts, Natalie. This looks a very pleasant trail.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Natalie March 4, 2022 / 9:18 pm

      Thank you for joining me virtually, Jo. There are a few bridges on this trail and the viaduct is fascinating to see.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Marsha March 4, 2022 / 4:32 pm

    Natalie, this is such a beautiful trail. The water i amazing as is the public art. Great post for PPAC this week. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Natalie March 4, 2022 / 9:21 pm

      Thank you, Marsha. I thought I’d share one of my go-to trails and a glimpse of Toronto’s Don river. I’m glad you like my post 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Marsha March 5, 2022 / 10:31 am

        Your trail is so beautiful, Natalie. You take some amazing photos.

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Lydia C. Lee March 4, 2022 / 4:49 pm

    I love the woman bending over and the gargoyles. (sort of gargoyles?) What a gorgeous walk. Great share!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Natalie March 4, 2022 / 9:24 pm

      Thank you, Lydia. Yes, those are replicas of gargoyles. I’m glad you like the trail and its art displays.

      Like

    • Natalie March 4, 2022 / 9:34 pm

      The weather changes quickly here. It’s still cool but with more daylight hours so we’re definitely heading towards spring. I enjoyed another bike ride today on a different trail. Thank you, Janis, for stopping by. Have a wonderful weekend!

      Like

  10. Retirement Reflections March 4, 2022 / 6:10 pm

    This is such a beautiful trail with so much diversity to offer. I’m glad that the city is continuing to make improvements to keep this a good trail for everyone!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Natalie March 4, 2022 / 9:37 pm

      Hi Donna, I like the trail improvements that were completed last Fall. I look forward to returning to this trail. Thank you for joining me virtually. Have a wonderful weekend!

      Like

  11. OnceUponaTimeHappilyEverAfter.com March 4, 2022 / 8:38 pm

    What a lovely space to ride or walk. With the exception of the gargoyles…they scare me!! I remember seeing so many in Parisian architecture protecting the old buildings. Gave me a shiver every time I saw one. The reflection of the trees in the water is very pretty, the water looks so serene. Love the shot of the water tripping over the rocks.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Natalie March 4, 2022 / 9:39 pm

      Leslie, Sorry the gargoyles scare you. I just thought of them as decorative building ‘protectors’. I’m glad you like the Don river pictures. Thank you for joining me virtually. Have a great weekend!

      Like

  12. Debbie March 4, 2022 / 9:07 pm

    Hi Natalie, I would really enjoy cycling this trail and seeing the art works along the way! It all looks so pretty and peaceful. I’ve had a slower week but it’s been nice for a change. Have a good weekend.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Natalie March 4, 2022 / 9:44 pm

      Hi Debbie, Yes, I think you’d enjoy this trail. It also connects with more trails to explore. After Tumbafest, a slower week is nice. Thank you for joining me virtually. Have a wonderful weekend!

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Denyse Whelan Blogs March 4, 2022 / 11:59 pm

    That is such a great area to cycle. I loved that you get to go by 2 wheels or on foot to places a car cannot. Thanks for the link up. I am back this week with a story I just needed to share. Denyse

    Liked by 1 person

    • Natalie March 5, 2022 / 8:56 am

      Denyse, There are advantages to get to places on foot or by bike, especially in the centre of a big city. I love the freedom to move at my own pace while being friendly to the environment. Thank you for linking up with me this weekend. I’ll visit your blog shortly.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Susanne March 5, 2022 / 4:59 am

    That must be a lovely trail for cycling, Natalie, and I can imagine it’s fantastic in the spring and summer with all the vegetation.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Natalie March 5, 2022 / 9:00 am

      Susanne, Your imagination is right. The vegetation along this trail changes with the seasons and it looks beautiful from spring to fall.

      Like

  15. Rowena March 5, 2022 / 5:56 am

    Hi Natalie,
    It’s ironic that you should be posted old Autumn photos as you head into Spring when it’s officially Autumn over here. However, it’s unofficially been rebadged as the “wet season” at least here on the East Coast. During the week, we were threatened with a “rain bomb”. However, we only caught the edge of it. Our daughter got her learner’s permit during the week and has already completed about 6.5 hours. She has to fill out a log book and describe the weather conditions and it’s almost all been wet and at night. It sounds a bit crazy with a new driver but the local carpark was absolutely empty and she was doing okay and started cruising the streets at about 10kph initially. She’s very keen and coming along nicely.
    Your bike rides sound lovely and so relaxing.
    Best wishes,
    Rowena

    Liked by 1 person

    • Natalie March 5, 2022 / 9:07 am

      Rowena, Congratulations to your daughter on achieving her learner’s permit! Good to hear she’s keen and coming along nicely with her driving. I hope the weather improves for your area and people who have been affected by the floods get the help they need to get back on their feet. Have a great weekend!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Rowena March 5, 2022 / 10:27 pm

        Thanks so much, Natalie. Still wet, but I went to a wonderful seminar on how to write a novel by Graeme Simsion who wrote The Rosie Project. Got some fantastic ideas.
        Best wishes,
        Rowena

        Liked by 1 person

  16. Annika Perry March 5, 2022 / 8:32 am

    Natalie, this would be one of my favourite trails! It is beautiful, idyllic with the river, fascinating statue display and most of all, no mud!😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • Natalie March 5, 2022 / 9:35 am

      Annika, Fortunately most of this trail is paved so no mud under normal weather conditions 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  17. trentpmcd March 5, 2022 / 8:38 am

    Looks like a great place for a nice walk or short cycle. You said it is the most used of the trails, but you seemed to hit it right to get those photos with no people on it. Hope you have a great weekend and get get back on that trail soon.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Natalie March 5, 2022 / 9:45 am

      This trail connects with other trails for a longer ride that I may write up in the future. I go on this trail on weekday mornings to avoid crowds. The first kilometre usually has dog walkers and pedestrians as the trail head is close to a residential area. From the second km on, it’s nice and quiet with the occasional cyclist or pedestrian. On weekends, especially in the summer, this trail is much busier so I use a less popular trail.

      Liked by 1 person

  18. Astrid March 5, 2022 / 9:34 am

    This sounds like an awesome trail. I particularly think I’d love the first part of it because of the old railway lines.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Natalie March 5, 2022 / 9:48 am

      Yes, the old railway lines are interesting to see. I love this trail for various things that it has to offer.

      Liked by 1 person

  19. dinah March 5, 2022 / 1:26 pm

    Hi Natalie!
    As always… Beautiful pictures! Of course, they are adding to my, already extreme, spring fever! And I have never been a fan of gargoyles. They seem really creepy to me. However… The ones in your photos actually look quite serene. Again, lovely.
    Hoping all is well in your world and wishing you a lovely weekend and week ahead!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Natalie March 5, 2022 / 4:32 pm

      Dinah, Welcome back and thank you for your comment. Spring is coming for sure. I saw a bird nest and many birds this week. I hope your weekend is going well and you have a great week ahead.

      Liked by 1 person

  20. Antoinette Truglio Martin March 5, 2022 / 9:45 pm

    What a beautiful bike trail. Do you ride it in spring and summer? It must be in glorious color.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Natalie March 5, 2022 / 10:12 pm

      Yes, I also ride this trail in spring and summer. The vegetation is beautiful in those seasons. A lot of times I just ride without stopping to take pictures. Maybe this spring and summer I’ll take pictures to compare.

      Like

  21. Diana March 6, 2022 / 12:42 am

    Hi Natalie!
    Such beautiful photos of your trails there and my favorites are the river photos. I love the sound of water from a river or steam. Thank you for the coffee and I hope you are having a wonderful weekend! 🤠❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    • Natalie March 6, 2022 / 10:10 am

      Hi Diana, I’m pleased you like my photos. The sound of water from a river or stream is like music to our ears, isn’t it? Thank you for stopping by. I hope you have a great weekend and week ahead.

      Liked by 1 person

  22. photobyjohnbo March 6, 2022 / 10:18 am

    Toronto looks like a nice place to visit, especially from your images along the trail. We have a friend who lives in Brantford. Maybe we can visit and make a side trip to Toronto someday. We are traveling the eastern part of the U.S. later this year.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Natalie March 6, 2022 / 10:40 am

      John, I hope you visit your friend in Brantford and make a side trip to Toronto. There are lots to see and do in the city year round. Feel free to get in touch when you plan to visit Toronto.

      Liked by 1 person

  23. Terri Webster Schrandt March 6, 2022 / 10:23 am

    What a gorgeous bike ride, Natalie! I’m always struck at how much Toronto resembles Sacramento, especially this bike trail area. How cool to see all those sculptures and public art along the way. I do miss the American River Bike Trail but there are several bike trails near our home now that can take you into downtown Spokane.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Natalie March 6, 2022 / 10:44 am

      Terri, How wonderful that there are several bike trails near your home that can take you into downtown Spokane. When the weather is good for cycling in your area, I hope you go exploring by bike and share some photos.

      Liked by 1 person

  24. csuhpat1 March 6, 2022 / 11:00 am

    Wow, such a beautiful place to cycle. I would love to bike those roads. So cool. Thanks for hosting and I hope that you have a wonderful week.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Natalie March 6, 2022 / 11:09 am

      Thank you, Patrick, for joining me virtually. This trail is one of my go-to trails for its diversity. Have a great weekend!

      Like

    • Natalie March 7, 2022 / 9:20 am

      Thank you, Rowena, for your coffee share link. Have a great week ahead!

      Liked by 1 person

  25. Julie March 7, 2022 / 9:49 am

    The first sculpture looks so peaceful. What a nice bike ride.

    Like

    • Natalie March 7, 2022 / 10:07 am

      Thank you, Julie, for joining me virtually on this trail. I hope you have a great week.

      Like

  26. kirstin March 8, 2022 / 3:46 pm

    natalie that trail looks awesome. I like those sculptures. I think it would be fun to try and find where those sculptures are around town.

    Like

    • Natalie March 8, 2022 / 6:18 pm

      Kirstin, Trying to track down those gargoyles would be a fun treasure hunt.

      Like

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