Terraview and Willowfield Gardens Parks
Terraview Park is small, but it gives me a great deal of pleasure. It is located on Pharmacy Ave south of the 401. You may know that Pharmacy Ave was a through street until the 401 was built. Pharmacy Ave exists both north and south of the 401, but you need to make a detour to continue.
Terraview Park is filled with nature. On every visit, I've seen some kind of wildlife, including turtles, rabbits, herons, geese, ducks, cormorants, cardinals, goldfinches, red-winged blackbirds, and robins. I've met locals who tell me of opossums and orioles.
Apparently, wildlife was absent from this area a mere 25 years ago because the area was terribly polluted. Efforts to naturalize the Taylor-Massey Creek have improved the health of the water systems, and wildlife came back.
Although this is hike is only 2 km in length, you could spend a lot of time here. Families with young children will like the playground, waterpark, and abundance of nature. There are vast fields where dogs could practice their off-leash skills, like playing frisbee.
Park on Pharmacy Ave near the Terraview Learning Centre, 1641 Pharmacy Ave, Toronto.
Walk on the path between the school and the creek.
You'll likely see or hear red-winged blackbirds as you walk. This is the perfect habitat for marsh-loving birds.
On the left-hand side of the trail, behind the school, you'll see a soccer field surrounded by berms.
This may be a safe place to let your dog off-leash if there is no one else using the field. Keep your dog on a leash for your walk around the ponds, so they don't disturb the wildlife.
Follow the trail to the right to get a better view of the pond. We've often seen cormorants dominating the north end of the pond.
On a visit this spring, I saw a Great Blue Heron in the pond. He flew away before I knew he was there.
Cross the bridge and turn left towards Penworth Road to circle the Willowfield Pond.
The jasmine was in bloom on one visit, and cardinals were looking for food.
Cross Penworth Road and go down the paved path near 919.
Follow the paved path that goes around the pond.
Keep your dog on a leash as the water is not clean enough to drink or swim in due to a large number of birds.
You'll pass by a monument to the Hyland Family. The plaque is dedicated to the family for their years of involvement with scouting.
Cross the bridge where you can overlook the pond.
There are several benches in the area with fences so you can watch the birds without disturbing them.
You'll now be in front of the Terraview-Willowfield Public School.
If you turn left, you'll see a bridge that takes you to hydro fields.
Taylor-Massey Creek continues south along the hydro field.
This is an area where you may feel comfortable letting your dog off-leash. You could go north (turn left) and walk through the hydro field to a walkway back to your starting point.
For this route, I suggest you continue your loop around the pond for more opportunities to see the birds.
Cross the street to return to the first pond. Stay to the left to get to the playground, splash pad, and a shaded picnic area next to the pond.
If you look closely, you'll see many turtles hiding in the pond or sunning on the rocks.
The water fountains have just opened so you can refill your water supply.
On the left side of the pond, you'll see another soccer field. This is no ordinary soccer field, though. Underneath is a massive water treatment plant.
That was a lot to see and do in 2 km. Enjoy the park and the wildlife and come back often so you can experience the cycle of life.
An interesting fact that I learned while writing the Taylor Creek in Summer blog post is that the water systems are linked together. My favourite Toronto blog site, Hiking the GTA, Terraview and Willowfield Gardens Parks, provides extensive history and details on how this park was naturalized to improve all the water systems in Toronto. The work to improve water flow began nearly 30 years ago and is still not complete. If you hike the parks of Toronto, you know that there is work being done throughout the city to maintain and improve.
Enjoy your walk! When you post photos to Instagram, tag us at @hikingtoronto or #hikingtorontowithlucy