Corktown Common and Don River

Hello and welcome to my blog! I’m glad you are here. It’s week 23 in 2022 and I’m hosting Weekend Coffee Share linkup #73. Come on in for a coffee or tea, and let’s chat.

Today I have two lovely walks and a few beautiful peonies to share. The walks can be combined to get in more steps and to see distinct landscapes.

1. Corktown Common

Corktown Common park is a versatile place for either an easy walk on flat surfaces or a cardio workout using the stairs. The trails go in sort of a spiral pattern. Beautiful redbud trees and other native flowers bloom in spring.

Lots of birds to watch in this park, especially the red-winged black birds that fly back and forth across the curved boardwalk, and cute duck families in the ponds. Benches are available to rest and enjoy the park.

Click on any image in the gallery to see its bigger version.

It was a blissful walk in glorious sunshine to get in my steps, enjoy nature, and be grateful for the little things that make life better.

2. Don River Trail

The Lower Don River Trail is a beautiful, serene trail that follows the Don River. The trail is perfect for a peaceful walk or bike ride, and offers stunning views of the river and its surroundings. Coming to the trail on a sunny weekday, I had the place almost to myself.

Green trees, green grass, the dappled shade, and the reflections on the river were pleasant to see. Several bridges contribute to the uniqueness of this trail. Birdsong filled the air as I walked. Sunshine and a gentle breeze were ideal conditions to stay out longer. I cycled home feeling light and relaxed.

3. Beautiful Peonies

I was delighted to see peonies in three different colours: yellow, hot pink and red. I look forward to seeing them in a local garden every spring. These blooms are huge, almost the size of a dinner plate. There were many of them so the branches just bent over with the weight. I love their layers of petals and gentle fragrance.

Spring walks are my favourites as the weather is mostly sunny, temperatures are usually cool, the landscape is fresh green, and flowers bloom everywhere. I hope to have more beautiful outings this weekend.

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Big House Canoe and Corktown Common

Hello and welcome to Weekend Coffee Share #25! 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.

The weather has been mainly sunny this past week. I spent plenty of time outdoors cycling along the Waterfront trail and walking in parks. I’d like to share two unique places: Wigwam Chi-Chemung and Corktown Common.

Wigwam Chi-Chemung or Big House Canoe

Wigwam Chi-Chemung, which roughly translates to “Big House Canoe” in Ojibway, is a houseboat purchased by Elder Duke Redbird in 2019 and became a ‘canvas’ painted and outfitted with a series of Indigenous themes and murals. It’s a floating art installation located at the Ontario Place South Marina until October.

Wigwam Chi-Chemung
An elder in a canoe offering a peace pipe to a loon, messenger to the Creator.

June is National Indigenous History month and June 21 is National Indigenous Peoples Day in Canada. I encourage my blog readers to watch this 3-minute video where Elder Duke Redbird and Phil Cote talk about their artwork on the boat from an Indigenous lens.

Corktown Common

Corktown Common is a park located in Toronto’s West Don Lands. Here are three reasons and a few photos why this park is special.

1. Multi-purpose use of land

Corktown Common is a former industrial landscape transformed into a natural urban oasis and community meeting place. This sophisticated 7.3 hectare (18 acre) park was designed by Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates and opened in 2013. The park sits atop flood protection hill (landform) which protects over 200 hectares (over 500 acres) of Toronto’s eastern downtown from Don River flooding.

Corktown Common trail.

2. Natural habitats and organically-managed park

Corktown Common is a showcase for Southern Ontario native plant species. Native plants have been planted in unique groupings to create a variety of habitats, including woodland, marsh and prairie, for a growing population of birds, amphibians and insects.

Native plants and marsh at Corktown Common.

Corktown Common is Toronto’s first organically managed park. This means that emphasis is placed on supporting ecosystem health and soil biology. Nearly all of the potable, splash pad, irrigation, and storm water is collected on site and reused in the marsh and irrigation system. The irrigation cistern holds approximately 568,000 liters (150,000 gallons) of water; enough to irrigate the park for a week.

Water collection in Corktown Common.
Corktown Common boardwalk.

3. Comprehensive park features

Aside from the marsh, beautiful marsh trails, and urban prairies, Corktown Common park features include a pavilion terrace, sprawling lawns, benches, playground areas, a splash pad, and a variety of inviting features like a fireplace, permanent barbeque, large communal picnic tables and washrooms. Solar panels on the pavilion offset the park’s energy needs and the pavilion’s power needs.

Pavilion and playground
Pavilion and Playground
Benches by redbud trees
Benches by redbud trees

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Toronto’s residents are encouraged to get outside to exercise. My go-to places are Lake Ontario and parks like Corktown Common. A bicycle ride along the lakeshore or a walk in a green space always makes me feel good. I’m grateful to have easy access to the great outdoors.

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How did your week go? I’d love to hear your comments.

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