Donalda Golf Course
A Winter Wonderland
Did you know that golf courses allow local residents onto the property during the winter? Many golf courses prefer that you come only when the ground is frozen and covered in snow to minimize damage to the property.
This is a dog lovers' dream. Wide-open spaces next to forests and rivers are the ideal setting for a good hike with your best friend.
You'll meet many local dogs and their parents. I've met people on the course who are walking their dogs while they are waiting for their kids to finish tennis lessons.
Map of DonaldaI live near the Donalda Golf Course, so I can walk from my home via Laurentide Drive and Barnwood Court as shown in the map.
ParkingI've shown several other entry points depending on where you're coming from. If you are driving, you can find parking in the Donalda Parking lot by the Club House (12 Bushbury Dr, North York, ON M3A 2Z7). There is also parking at the Church of Our Saviour and Three Valleys Public School.
Trail RouteMy preferred entry point is behind the Three Valleys School and Park. A well-traveled path lies along a creek behind the park.
When it snows, the path looks like a postcard.
We like to stick to the paved paths if they are visible and walk from one end of the course to the other. It wouldn't be hard to walk 10 km in a single walk, but my documented route is much shorter, to make it comfortable for you and your dog.
CoyotesWatch for the scat you seen on the ground. If you're observant, you'll see coyote poop. There are many coyotes on the lands, but you are likely not going to see any. Just know that they are there. They will be frightened by you and your dog. If you're visiting the area in the daytime, you're unlikely to see the coyote.
On your walk, you'll pass over several bridges. The Don River is winding and fast-moving on the golf course.
HistoryThe buildings on the course are beautiful and have a long history in the Don Valley. I suggest you read the Donalda Farm post on the Hiking the GTA blog for a well-researched history.
Right of WayNote that you'll be charged with trespassing if you are on the golf course during the open season unless you use the public passage from Chipping Avenue to Three Valleys Drive. My route takes you up the path to Three Valleys Drive.
Connecting TrailsThe Donalda Golf course is in the center of a huge green space in Don Mills. As such, you can connect to many other trails in the area quite easily.
BrookbanksFrom Brookbanks Park, leave the trail and follow the road towards the tunnel under the DVP. It is painted with scenery from the area.
Cross the road when you get to the auto repair center. Walk to the right past the church. Follow the path behind the church.
LaurentideThere are great sledding hills on a winter day in Laurentide park. Follow the path through the park and across Laurentide Drive to enter the Three Valleys Park. Part of this trail is paved, but stay close to the river to get into the golf course.
Betty SutherlandThe Betty Sutherland trail connects at the north end of the course via Bayview Glen School. From Betty Sutherland, follow the river south under Duncan Mills Road. Continue following the path with the river to your left through a soccer field with a graveyard of broken balls. Go through the underpass at Moatfield Drive and you'll find yourself on the golf course.
Bond ParkBy car, it might seem like a long distance from Bond Park to Donalda. But, if you take the trail along Duncairn Drive you can cross Don Mills Road and walk along Chipping Drive. At the end of Chipping Drive, there is an entry to the golf course. There is construction at the time of this writing which leads me to think that the trail system will be expanding in the near future. I'll keep you up to date.
Note that the entry to Donalda via Chipping Drive is an all-year public access route. If you follow the trail, it will lead you directly to Three Valleys Drive. Only in the winter, when golf is not being played, can you go off this path and enter the rest of the golf course.
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