Forest in Parkwoods for Dog Lovers
Brookbanks Park is a large ravine park in Don Mills with Deerlick Creek running through.
Map of 4 km LoopThere are many entry points, but to make it easy, I'm going to use Tim Horton's (1277 York Mills Rd Unit E5) as the starting point. From this starting point, you can choose the length of many satisfying loops. The map shows a 4 km loop on mostly paved trails:
Follow the trail to the bridge and continue along the creek. You'll pass a construction site that will one day be a new condo and a children's playground. I often spot blue jays in this area, so if you are interested in birds, keep a lookout for these beautiful birds.
At this point in the trail, you'll feel like you're deep in a forest. The busy DVP is deceptively close, so you'll hear the traffic unless it's a weekend when the highway is closed. The creek is called Deerlick Creek, but I haven't yet spotted deer in the area. The stream is shallow and seems clean, so if you have a dog that likes getting wet, this is a tempting spot.
If you prefer water from a fountain, be sure to fill your water bottle at the fountain at the playground. The fountains in Toronto are only turned on in the summer months, so be prepared.
Cross Brookbanks Drive to continue your walk. Follow the paved trail on one side of the creek and a nature trail on the other. This gives you variety and makes it easier to let your dog off-leash on the non-paved side of the creek.
Cross Brookbanks Drive again, but instead of going all the way back on the paved trail, follow the man-made trail that goes up a hill along a branch of the creek. Across the street, you'll continue your walk in a ravine along a stream until you come to a paved path. Look for birds in this area, especially the cardinals that hide in the bushes.
There are many opportunities to lengthen or shorten the walk you take in Brookbanks Park. Watch for future blog posts with details.
If you want to know more about this urban forest, read this blog by the Don Valley Girls, where you'll learn about 1000-year old artifacts that were found in the area.
Dog walking etiquette
If you're a dog owner, you likely already know about the city by-laws about having your dog on a leash and picking up after them. If you're willing to risk a fine and can control your dog, the park is relatively safe for an off-leash run. The roads are far enough away that it is unlikely your dog will wander into traffic. The unpaved sides of the creek are a paradise for a young dog who likes to chase squirrels and jump fallen tree limbs.
Many people walk their dogs in this area, and in the summer, there is increased pedestrian and cycling traffic. As always, be respectful of the park and others.