The Camino Frances

The Camino Frances

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Don Valley for the adventurous

Under the Half Mile Bridge
Looking up at the trestle

Don't try this one if you have vertigo, or a fear of heights. But if you like to do one thing that scares you every day (Thanks, Eleanor) this may be the walk for you.

Start at the pedestrian bridge over the Don Valley Parkway, between Riverdale Park East and West. Go down the steps from the middle of the bridge and walk north for a few hundred meters. Don't follow the path over the river: instead, continue north for a few meters, and on the left you will find a hole cut in the chain link fence. Walk through the hole and climb up the embankment to the railroad tracks. Turn right, and follow the tracks.

According to this article, the track has been closed since 2007.

The pictures are by Rudy Limeback, and appear in his post

As you head north, the track follows the side of the Don Valley Parkway. First you cross a trestle bridge, which had a shelter constructed on it, when we walked it recently. One of the challenges is the growth of weeds in the bed of the tracks. Another challenge is the rubble on the tracks under the Bloor Viaduct, where they are doing construction.

But the biggest challenge occurs after about 30 minutes: you arrive at the south end of a 335 meter bridge which crosses several lanes of traffic leaving the Don Valley Parkway, the Don River, an active railway and finally, the east parking lot at the Brickworks. This is what the bridge looks like from the north end looking south, the way you came.

Cross the bridge to the other side. Here you have a choice.

You can continue along the tracks for a few hundred meters, looking for a trail that goes up the bank on the left. Climb it and you come to the paved trail along the lip of the bowl of the Brickworks. Walk left, and the path will take you down to the Brickworks, worth a visit to the market there, or have a coffee at Cafe Belong.

If you wish to carry on, follow the rail track until you can see an overpass ahead. Watch on your right for a trail that goes off, down the ravine, and ends at Bayview. Turn right and walk on the shoulder of Bayview, south until you come to the intersecion of Pottery Road. Cross at the lights on the north side. Walk along Pottery Road a few hundred meters, and after you cross the bridge over the Don River, there is a pedestrian crossing to the south side of Pottery Road. Cross, turn left and walk under the underpass to the entrance to Todmorden Mills. Follow the signs to the Wildflower Preserve, and walk to the south end of the Preserve. There is a trail that goes up the hill, to your left. If you return to the parking lot, you have gone too far. Follow the path up the hill, and arrive between 2 apartment buildings on Broadview, just south of Pottery Road.

This walk is great in the spring, when the wildflowers are out, beautiful in summer, when the weeds are in blossom, and spectacular in the fall when the trees have turned. But the trestle isn't a good idea when the rails might be wet, or when there is a wind. Otherwise, Buen Camino!


  1. nice post, but really, you should credit me when you steal and re-use my images from my web site... it's only fair

    these pics were taken from

    1. My apologies, Rudy. I have put that info on the blog - your pictures are wonderful illustrations of Toronto ravines.