February 10, 2012

Spotted in the Field: Winter Foliage at Alexander Muir

Catching the Winter Sun 1
"Catching the Winter Sun 1" © 2012 Flora R. Powell. All rights reserved.

Catching the Winter Sun 2
"Catching the Winter Sun 2" © 2012 Flora R. Powell. All rights reserved.

What fire could ever equal the sunshine of a winter's day?
~ Henry David Thoreau

With the amazingly good weather over the past few days (double-digits and sunny), it's felt more like summer than winter in Toronto. It's somewhat disconcerting, therefore, to look around and still see monochromatic foliage when bursts of brightly-colored annuals might seem more appropriate for the unseasonally warm temperatures.

Not having shot a lot of photos in the Alexander Muir Memorial Gardens during the winter months, I thought I'd take the opportunity to get in a couple of late winter foliage shots before the city crew spruces up the park, and all the spring bulbs and early perennials start pushing their heads through the dark earth. If you've never been to this beautiful green space in the Yonge and Lawrence neighborhood, be sure to check it out for its easy walkability (especially with a 3 year-old), friendly dog owners, and the architecturally interesting buildings that can be glimpsed all around the park as you meander down the adequately maintained paths.

If you take the subway, just get off at the Lawrence stop, then walk south on Yonge, past Lawrence until you see the Locke Public Library. You can wander down to the playground in the little valley behind Locke and continue heading south from here. When driving, we tend to park on Lympstone Avenue, just right off Yonge. From here, we generally trot down into the mini ravine that runs parallel to St. Edmunds Drive, then uphill again where St. Edmunds turns in a loop back to Yonge. Cross from the north side of St. Edmunds to the south side (watch out for crazy drivers barrelling around the bend in their BMWs, Audis and assorted luxury cars), and you will be able to enter the Gardens through a series of little stone steps to the left of the park sign. We usually walk across the Gardens towards Mount Pleasant Road and Blythwood Road, and turn around once we reach the bridge that marks the entrance into Blythwood Ravine Park. I think that when my wee one is a little older and feeling more ambitious, we may continue onto Blythwood and tackle the Sherwood Park Reach. To get walking directions for this latter stretch and other walks as well as a guide to historic houses and points of interest along the mapped routes, be sure to browse through the Lost River Walks website. It's such a wonderful resource for urban walkers!

Blog post © 2012 Flora R. Powell. All rights reserved.