May 17th, 2010

Rose-coloured reviews Wilket Creek Park and Edwards Gardens

Sunny Sunday afternoon at Edward Gardens.

Sunny Sunday afternoon at Edward Gardens.

I have been a fan of Wilket Creek Park for ages. It’s a great running park with a formerly dirt, currently blacktop (still softer on the knees than cement) pathway. It’s green and pretty and well-enough trafficked that even a lone jogger plugged into an iPod doesn’t feel about to be set upon by hooligans (as you can in some of the TO parks). There are lots of different ways to enter the park, but I prefer the big Leslie entrance just south of Eglinton. You can take either the 34 or 51 busses to Leslie, cross and walk north to the park entrance on the west side of the street.

The first thing you will notice if you do this is that this is a car-based part of the park. Far more popular than either the 34 or the 51 is to drive to the park, and often through it. There is tonnes and tonnes of parking, and if you turn left when you get the chance, long winding roadways between the lots continue for a good ways. I don’t know the name of this park (most parks in TO seem to be contiguous, bleeding into one another) but there are pretty paths here, lots of picnic grounds and even coal pits for barbequing, but there is also, always, the roadway.

If picnicking is not your priority, or after you have eaten it, I would recommend heading right/north, into Wilket Creek park, which is purely for pedestrians and, in my opinion, nicer. There we have that long, newly blacktopped path, running right beside the aforementioned creek. It’s quite leafy and shaded in full summer (ie., as of now) with enough sunlight dappling through the leaves as to be quite flattering to one’s companions, children frolicking in the dirt, rocks, brambles, things that look like raspberry bushes but aren’t (I have never found any edible raspberries along Wilket and believe me, I’ve looked), rocks and birds and other nice things. It’s a lovely walk and takes maybe 30 minutes if you amble. It’s also all on one level, so it is perfect for people who can *only* amble, as well as folks in wheelchairs or pushing prams, the elderly, etc.

Now, I did say I used to run on this short, crowded, slow-moving path, but I am a) not a fast runner and b) an early riser. If you run early early, or on a weekday, it’s only mildly peopled and perfect for a quiet, non-speedy jog–ditto cycling. But the people running and biking on it on the very nice May Sunday afternoon that was yesterday were moving at a snail’s pace and swerving into the trees and looking quite frustrated. Maybe not ideal, but that’s your call.

Once you’ve done all this walking/biking/wheeling/whatever, you wind up at the very lovely Edwards Gardens. Here there is a path and some bridges and lots of children doing unsafe things in the creek, jumpign from stone to stone. There are also some stairs you can climb to a higher level of the gardens (here we leave behind those on wheels, but I believe there is a level entrance/parking lot from Laurence, if you prefer).

That’s what the picture above is–the higher portion of Edwards Gardens, taken from a bench far up the incline. I believe if one heads northeast through the park, one would end up at some greenhouses I’ve never been inside but look very nice. I however was content in the gardens, soon abandoning the bench for the nice cushy green grass, and reading in the Sunday sun. I really don’t understand people who say Toronto isn’t pretty–do they refuse to come out from under bridges?

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So Much Love by Rebecca Rosenblum

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