Charles Sauriol and Moccasin Trail
Hiking to the Rainbow Tunnel
Have you ever noticed the rainbow tunnel while driving northbound on the DVP approaching the Lawrence Ave East exit? This post introduces you to a trail where you can take your dog for a walk, and get a photo with the rainbow at the same time.
Map of Trail from Charles Sauriol Conservation Area to Moccasin Trail Park via Rainbow Tunnel
HistoryThe first thing you'll notice is an old white house. This gothic house is known as the Milne House and was built in 1871. You can read more about the history of this area in the Hiking the GTA Blog.
WildflowersAvoid the paved trails for now and follow the interpretive trail into the wildflower meadow. This is a conservation area, so you'll be able to learn about the importance of the native plants that grow in this valley.
BirdsThe native trees and shrubs attract a variety of migrating and local birds. You'll see a marker for The Toronto Bird Flyway project that designates this valley as one of three Toronto flyway corridors. The valley provides food and shelter for hundreds of birds that pass through or breed in the Don Watershed each year.
Follow the paved path and be sure to have your dog on a leash. Cyclists often speed along the trail and you don't want to be in their way.
You'll be able to see the heavy traffic on the DVP and will be happy that you're not stuck in a car.
There are several paths to the river that you may wish to explore with your dog.
Spawning SalmonTurn right at the first bridge to get to the rainbow tunnel. Stop in the middle of the bridge and look down at the river. If you're walking the trail in mid-October, you may see the spawning salmon.
The story of the painted rainbow tunnel is worth telling. Berg Johnson, the original artist, painted the rainbow on the tunnel to mark the anniversary of the death of a friend who died in a car crash nearby. The city removed his painting and threatened to charge him. After several iterations, the city eventually accepted the rainbow painting and turned the maintenance of the artwork to Mural Routes.
Notice that there is a painting inside the tunnel as well. The paintings have a coating that protect them from tagging.
Picnic in Moccasin Park
After the tunnel, you'll walk through meadows and arrive in Moccasin Park. This is a perfect place to have a picnic and play with your dog or kids.
At this point, turn around and go back the way you came. After the bridge, the trail continues to the south, and the city is expanding the trails significantly. I'll publish another post to cover the details about that section of the trail once it is completed.