Torottawalk: David Balfour Park Trail (Sunday at 12:30)

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The paths at David A. Balfour are part of the Toronto Discovery Walks

The paths at David A. Balfour are part of the Toronto Discovery Walks

Building off of last week’s walk , this time we’re exploring the David A Balfour Trail, a ~3km trail running south from Mount Pleasant Cemetery. Apparently this 30 minute walk gives us a choice of three pathways — one on the east side and two on the west. We’re starting closer to St. Clair Station, plopping down right where the cemetery stops.

Depending on the weather and the path we’ll select the route:

  1. The upper trail on the west side: is usually well maintained and offers handrails and concrete curbs in the steeper sections for the safety of users.
  2. The lower dirt path on the west side: offers a mild challenge as it’s lined with fallen trees. 
  3. The East side trail: the path on the east side is mostly flat and maybe an alternate choice if the upper trail isn’t optimal. 

This hike follows a 1890s vintage abandoned steam rail line and winds through the Don River ravines. Evidence of the industrial heritage of the area dates back from 1873.

Historical Insights:

The bulk of our trip will be on David A Balfour Trail, name for this guy. Anti-communist, pro-catholic civic leader in Toronto from 1939 until 1955.

We’ll follow the path through Park Drive Reservation Ravine (sometimes know as the North or Second Rosedale Ravine). The path derives its name from the closed road called Park Drive Reservation which used to access the network of roads in the Don valley prior to construction of the Don Valley Parkway and the extension to Bayview Ave.

We’ll be revisiting Milkmen’s Road, which acquired its name because employees of a dairy on the east side of the Don Valley used it to make deliveries to customers in Rosedale and the Village of Yorkville.

We’ll end off our walk in Cragleigh Gardens, which was donated to the people of Toronto by Sir Edmond Osler, a financier who had his home, Cragleigh, on this property.

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