Sunday, July 04, 2004

Ravine Parklands in Toronto

Went for a fabulous bike ride yesterday in gorgeous sunny weather, up one of the East Don's branches, up to Steeles.

From a plane Toronto looks plain, and looks like it is on a plain. From a car it looks not much better. But in fact, Toronto is on a plateau, technically the Niagara Escarpment, which is cut by ravines. Most of Toronto's most interesting and wild green spaces exist in these ravines, which are carefully nurtured parklands.

I've never really biked before in Toronto, and with walking, the parklands used to frustrate me because they always seemed to involve overly long linear pathways. They rarely could be enjoyed in a circular walk, and in any case, distances in Canada are just too great.

Bikes are the way to go for exploring these parkland ravines. The paved pathways are marked for them, and the distances best covered by them.

The weather lately has been glorious. The sun is higher in the sky down here at latitude 43 degrees, which is the same latitude as the south of France. The quality of the light in the sky is one that you just don't get in London, at latitude 52 degrees.

Southern Ontario had a late spring, but plenty of beautiful sunny days with rain at night. Consequently the greenery is unbelievably lush and healthy. Its robustness makes the English equivalent of lushness seem relatively fragile, although the delicate wateriness of English greenery is a characteristic of its beauty.

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