Connect with nature in Morningside Park
As soon as we got out of our car, we could hear the Blue Jays in the forest. Birdseed and oranges are put out by local bird lovers, which successfully attracts Cardinals and Jays.
Orioles are in the park too, but so far, no photos.
Morningside is nearly 600 acres and is Toronto's largest park, so there is much to explore. In this post, I'll give you a route that follows the paved path along the river. The distance from the Morningside parking lot to Greenville Park and back is 8 km. This turned out to be too much for my dog Lucy. Several times on our way back to the car, she attempted to take a nap.
We saw a mother deer and her fawn during our visit. They were enjoying the greenery that grows next to the path into the forest. The fawn wasn't a newborn, but he stayed behind his mother hiding in the bushes.
One thing that typically comes with deer is the possibility of being bit by a tick. Signs are posted throughout the park, with details on how to protect yourself and your dog. We have been lucky and have not been bitten.
The river is called Highland Creek. It is shallow enough in many places for a hot dog to cool off. We'll explore the neighbouring parks that Highland Creek goes through in future posts.
In the spring, you'll walk among blooming trees and lilacs.
Although we didn't encounter many dogs on the walk, we did encounter an 8-week old sheepadoodle named Gigi. Our dogs immediately loved her, and once Gigi got over her fear, she was very playful with our relatively giant dogs.
Lawrence Ave goes over the river. If you turn back at this point, your walk will end up being 5 km.
Admire the art on the concrete bridge pillars.
There are tables and barbeques near the Morningside parking lot. Benches are found frequently along the path, so you'll have opportunities to rest.
Many of the benches have signs showing stretching exercises, so instead of resting, do some stretching.
The trail is wide enough to practice social distancing, but not to let dogs off-leash. Many cyclists use these paths, so it's dangerous to let dogs off-leash while on the trail. There are several side routes or river banks where it is possible to allow them to play safely.
Besides the natural beauty of the park, we only encountered one item that could be considered a treasure. Or perhaps someone lost this item, and it was placed on the tree to be found by the rightful owner.
My go-to place for the history of Toronto is the Hiking the GTA Blog. From the Morningside Park entry, I learned that:
The land grant that Morningside Park sits on was owned by John Wilson in the 1870’s and he operated a saw mill using the river for water power. As the local timber supply dwindled the mill was closed and the property eventually sold for an estate. The original mill is gone but the remnants of a more recent concrete dam provide some flood control on the river.
Enjoy your hike through this fabulous park.