Rain or shine - and COVID-19 permitting - from May to October, the Academy’s trusty band of walk leaders lead groups of members and guests as they venture forth to explore Toronto’s ravines, cemeteries, markets, urban art, historic buildings, and green spaces. Walk participants share what they know about the city’s neighbourhoods, learn from the walk leaders, and “debrief” over a well-earned lunch. Polish up your walking boots and limber up those legs for the Academy walks.

Upcoming walks

Tuesday May 31 - Beltline Trail and Cedarvale Ravine

Start:     11am

Leader:  Rene Laukat

Meet:    TTC Davisville Station

Route:   Beltline Trail & Cedarvale Ravine

Lunch:  ‘Mashu Mashu Mediterranean Grill’ Spadina Road/St. Clair West

Tuesday June 7 - Baby Point... Humber River

Start:    11am

Leader: Donna Oke

Meet:    Old Mill Subway Station

Route:  Jane and Bloor area, Circular

Lunch:  Dark Horse Pub

Monday June 20 - Humber South

Start:    11am

Leader: Josie Szczasiuk

Meet:    Old Mill Subway Station entrance

Route:  South along the west side of the Humber River, mainly along paved parkland (with a short stretch through a residential area), to the shore of Lake Ontario and continues west along the shoreline.

Lunch: Eden Trattoria on Marine Parade Drive with indoor/outdoor seating and views of the lake. It's a 5 minute walk to the Prince Edward 66b bus which goes to Old Mill subway station.

Tuesday July 5 - High Park

Start:    11am

Leader: Josie Szczasiuk

Meet:    Brick washroom building near Bloor Street/High Park.  (Take TTC to  High Park station; or park on 'West Park Rd.' in High Park)

Route:   High Park circle: down the West side, along the south and up the east side or through the zoo.  

Lunch:  Grenadier Restaurant

Tuesday July 19 Huron-Wendat Trail: Finch to York University

Start:     11am

Leader:  Simon Pearson

Meet:     Outside Finch West Station - follow “Keele Street West Side” signs to exit. Normal travel time from St. George to Finch West is 30 minutes, but it may take 45 minutes.

Route:    This walk introduces you to a part of Toronto you may not be familiar with. All of the walk is on paved paths. Starting from Finch West station, we’ll follow the Huron-Wendat Trail, where we will learn about our predecessors in this area. Then down into the ravine and along the picturesque Black Creek, emerging close to the Aviva Centre, home of Tennis Canada. The last part of the walk lets us explore the attractive grounds of York University. We’ll end at the York University Subway Station.

Lunch:   Many choices inside the York Lanes Centre, including Timbers Lodge

 Tuesday August 09 - Toronto Waterfront, Past and Present

Start:    11am

Leader: Simon Pearson

Meet:    Southeast corner of Mill St. and Parliament St. at the west end of  the Distillery District.

             Three TTC routes:

    • Take 65 Parliament bus south from Castle Frank subway station to Front St. and then walk one block south to Mill St.
    • Take 504 King streetcar eastbound from King subway station to Parliament St. and then walk two blocks south to Mill St.
    • Stay on the 504 to the Distillery loop & then walk back through the Distillery to Parliament  

Route:   We’ll start near the Distillery District (which used to be on the waterfront) and finish near Fort York (which also used to be on the waterfront!). The waterfront has always been an essential part of Toronto. But the waterfront has changed constantly over the years, and it has moved a considerable distance in that time. This walk will let you see some of these changes while you experience the pluses and minuses of the waterfront as we see it today. We will end at Bathurst St. and Fort York Blvd. Take 511 Bathurst streetcar north to Bathurst subway station or take 509 Harbourfront streetcar east to Union subway station.

Lunch:  Fox and Fiddle Cityplace

Tuesday August 23 - Hogg’s Hollow in North York

Start:    11am

Leader:  Ann Garnett

Meet:     SOUTH exit of the York Mills TTC station (i.e., get off at the back end of the train and exit through the turnstile at the south end). 

Route:   We will explore the neighbourhood. Many of the original estate homes and beautiful  residences of the early to mid-20th century are being demolished in favour of large new homes but there are still many lovely homes to see on our walk. 

Some history:

James Hogg , a Scotsman settled in the area in 1824. He operated a whisky distillery and a grist mill. His sons built 149 houses,  a school, post office, pottery, blacksmith, livery, stable, store, golf links and clubhouse, The hillside cemetery (Yonge Street and Mill Street) and St. John's Anglican Church are still there.  In 1892, the streetcar service extended up Yonge Street to the southern rim of Hoggs Hollow.

On October 15, 1954, the valley was inundated by Hurricane Hazel, and many attempts have since been made to manage water in the natural watershed of a valley, though many homes are still prone to moisture and flooding from the water table.

On March 17, 1960, the incident popularly known as the "Hoggs Hollow Disaster" occurred. Five Italian immigrant workers were killed while constructing a tunnel for a water main at Hoggs Hollow. They were trapped 35 feet underground in a cramped, dimly lit tunnel, sparking a public outcry over the lack of safety standards in construction. and led to an improvement in working conditions, such as the passing of the Industrial Safety Act.

Lunch:  Miller Tavern (formerly the Jolly Miller Tavern)

Tuesday Sept 06 – Sunnyside Beaches

Start:    11am

Leader: Simon Pearson

Meet:    Northeast corner of Roncesvalles & Queen (access via the Queen or King streetcar or by the 504 streetcar down Roncesvalles from Dundas West station)

Route:   This walk goes along a part of the Lake Ontario shoreline that you may well not have walked recently. It goes through grassy parkland and includes reminders of Canada’s roads, rail, and entertainment history. Lots of birds too. We will end at Marine Parade Drive west of the Humber bridge. 66B bus to Old Mill Station.

Lunch:  Firkin on the Bay, Marine Parade Drive

Tuesday Sept 13 – Toronto Island

Start:    TBD

Leader: Donna Oke

Meet:    Ferry to Centre Island

Route:   Tour Children’s Garden and Promenade of Flower Gardens and Fountains on Centre Island. Walk Boardwalk to the ‘Riviera’ restaurant and if time allows have a short tour of distinctive ‘Cottages’ of Wards Island before catching the ferry back to main terminal.

Lunch:  ‘Riviera’ restaurant

Our Walking Adventures

Tuesday, May 3 2022 - Spring Blossom Walk

Ten of us gathered across the street from the Rosedale station at the edge of the beautiful though little-known Ramsden Park* to walk the trails for views of spring blossoms. Though the much-delayed spring held back some of its delights, there were plenty of blooms to enjoy, starting with the just-emerging pink cherry blossoms on the clutch of cherry trees at the north end of the park. Heading into Rosedale along Cluny Dr., we took the sloping trail into Severn Creek Park with its stretches of scilla, though the annual fields of this gorgeous ground cover were little in evidence. We abandoned the route into Cabbagetown via Rosedale Valley Rd. because of its steep staircase that caused a variety of mobility issues. Instead we looped back into Rosedale along Scarth and Crescent Rds. and South Dr. and were delighted by many shades of magnolia bushes. We walked through Craigleigh Gardens, stopping at the Castle Frank station where several departed the group. Heading south along Parliament, with a short loop into Cabbagetown along Wellesley and Metcalfe Sts., the remaining four of us were delighted to find Pat Maltby, who greeted us at the House of Parliament pub where she had made arrangements for lunch. Thanks all for joining me on this delightful outing.

Rene Laukat

*Ramsden Park is a public park located at 1020 Yonge St., with access via Ramsden Park Rd. and Pears Ave. With an area of 13.7 acres, it is one of the largest in downtown Toronto. It features playgrounds, basketball courts, hockey rinks and a small skateboarding feature. From the 1840s to the 1890s, it was the location of the Yorkville Brick Yards. The yellowish-white bricks produced here were used for many buildings, including Yorkville Town Hall, St. Michael's Cathedral, St. James Cathedral and much of University College. In 1904, the city purchased the land and established a park named after Alderman J. George Ramsden, a local resident active in city politics from 1903 until 1936.

September 28 - The Toronto Islands

The Toronto Islands:  a chain of 15 small islands in Lake Ontario off-shore from Toronto, originally a peninsula that was cut off from the mainland by a violent storm in 1858. It is historically sacred land of the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation and was purchased by the British Crown via theToronto Purchase of 1787 and 1805. This purchase waslater compensated after a land claim by the Mississaugas that resulted in an additional  payment of $145 million by the Government of Canada. Currently comprising 820 acres, with the largest outermost crescent-shaped island beingCentre Island, which with Olympic and Algonquin form thethree major islands. Of note, Ward’s Island and Hanlans Point are not really islands but are actually the eastern and western ends of Centre Island (who knew?!).

On a chilly but sunny Tuesday morning, seven of us gathered at the Jack Layton Ferry Terminal for the short ferry ride to Centre Island. We wandered the trails of Centre, first stopping to admire the seven orange Tulpi chairs  gifted to the city by Dutch royalty in 2015. Then we passed the channel across Olympic Island, the now-closed CentrevilleAmusement Park and the empty Far Enough Farm. We passed the Carousal Café (closed), crossing the main bridge and heading west. Here we  passed the staged seating of the Alan Lamport Regatta Course and the Island Public and Natural Science School. We u-turned east, passing the southern beaches and onto the boardwalk,which brought us to our lunch destination. Five members fresh off the ferry joined us as we settled at a banquet table on the beautiful expanse of the enlarged gardens of theIsland Café;  a fabulous lunch was had by all. On my next walk I hope to lead you all from Christie Pits through urban parks to Liberty Village.

Happy Trails!  Rene Laukat



2021 Walks Photo Gallery- A Fun Time Was Had by All!



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