Monday, 26 October 2015

Graydon Hall Park

This 5.3 hectare (13 acres) park is located at 215 Graydon Hall Drive, North York on a plateau near Don Mills Road and the 401. It can be reached by the 122 Graydon Hall bus which stops on either the west or east side of the road.

One hundred acres of farmland was purchased by the successful businessman, Rupert Bain, and transformed into the Graydon Hall estate. Graydon Hall, itself, was completed in 1936 at a cost of $250,000, an extraordinary sum for the time. This was followed by landscaping, and a 9-hole golf course, terraced pools in a garden area at the rear of the mansion. Bain was an avid polo player and a master of hounds at the Eglinton Hunt Club.

A large part of the Graydon Hall manor property was sold to EP Taylor on which he built stables, kennels, polo field, and race track in 1950. In 1951, the mansion house and grounds were sold to Nelson Morgan Davis to Intercity Forwarders. In 1952, Bain died of a cerebral hemorrhage after a riding accident.

Near the sign to the park is a pathway that goes behind the mansion along the southern edge of it.

The path leads past thick wooded and brush filled areas.

Leading to the rear of the mansion is a break off path through close underbrush.

After a short walk over a lush well kept lawn between two rows of trees bordered by low stone walls is an iron fence protecting the grounds of the Graydon Hall Manor.

Research: Sheridan Nurseries: One Hundred Years of People, Plans and Plants. By Edward Butts, Karl Stennson. Pp 100-

Photo Credit: BEMartin2015

Monday, 20 July 2015

On the weekend, a friend took me out to a farm near Caledon, north-west of Toronto to pick strawberries for an hour or so. As a child I had gone to the Okanogan in British Columbia to pick apples and pears from the trees in the orchard fields.

It wasn't much different. Instead of walking into the orchard to find the trees laden with ripe pears and apples, the farm provided a tractor and wagon with benches to take the pickers out to the fields, about 800 yards from the gate.

The scene and trip reminded me of John Steinback's novel "The Grapes of Wrath".

The berry picking went well, as there were plenty of ripe strawberries to be had in the numerous rows. In less than an hour, we had a full basket, and it was back to the gate to weigh in. The cost was $2.50/lb, with the basket coming to $15.00.

Also, at the farm were an assortment of pens of farm animals: a donkey (looked more like a burro as it was smaller than any donkey I had seen before), two goats, and some horses. I apologize for the photo of the goat who wasn't very co-operative as she was more interested in eating the grass at the edge of the fence and any strawberries children happened to drop specifically for her.

As for the strawberries when I got home, were a nice treat -- I must say they are alot better than the store bought ones. Perhaps a bit smaller, but juicier with more flavour.

Photo Credits: ©BEMartin2015

Monday, 13 July 2015

John Scadding's Cabin


Last year, while at Toronto’s Canadian National Exhibition with a friend, I stopped by to see the Scadding Cabin, located near Lake Shore Blvd. West to the southern portion of the grounds. In 2009 I had written a more comprehensive account of the history behind the Cabin and its exposure at the Toronto Industrial Exhibition held in 1879.


The log cabin, built in 1794, was first owned by John Scadding, a government clerk and close friend to Upper Canada’s first Lieutenant Governor, John Graves Simcoe. The cabin was located on Scadding’s 253-acre property on the east bank of the Don River near where Queen Street and the Don Valley Parkway cross today. Scadding lived on the property until 1796 when he returned to England with the Simcoes.


When John Scadding returned to York in 1818, he sold the property and its cabin to farmer William Smith, who used the cabin as an outbuilding. In 1879, Smith offered the cabin to the 10-year old York Pioneers Association.


In the summer of 1879, the York Pioneers dismantled the cabin and reassembled it at the location of the inaugural Toronto Industrial Exhibition now the grounds of the Canadian National Exhibition.


Volunteers from the York Pioneer and Historical Society dress in period costume to explain about the artifacts in the cabin.

At the time I visited, no one was allowed up to the second floor or bedroom area. Considering the narrowness of the stairs to the south it might pose a hazard to someone venturing up them.

Photo Credits: [1} Wikipedia Commons, [2][3][4][5]-©BEMartin2014


1894 Toronto's Industrial Exhibition

York Pioneers

Toronto Plaques

Thursday, 25 June 2015

Hiking the Sundance Canyon Trail - Banff


Trail Length: 4.3 km taking about 3 hours
Elevation Gain: 145 m (470 ft)
Maximum elevation: 1545 m (5,070 ft)
Maps: Banff Up-Close (Gem Trek)

Check trail and bear conditions from Parks Canada before setting out. Recently the population of grizzly bears has increased and are more often encountered and seen around the Banff townsite. An article in the Calgary Herald in August 2013 reported an incident where a very large grizzly bear (225-275 kilogram) killed and ate a small 45-kilogram black bear that had been foraging on the trail.

From the intersection at the south end of the Bow River bridge make a right turn onto Cave Avenue. Go 1.2 km to the parking lot where a paved walkway leads to the Historic Cave and Basin site. Walk past to get to the hiking and bicycle path.

Some years ago, the paved road to Sundance Canyon was open to vehicular traffic. However, now it is used only by hikers, horses and those who wish to bicycle or use roller blades.

The first portion of the trail leads down to the Bow River.


For about 1.5 km the trail follows the shoreline of the Bow River before turning south toward Sundance Canyon. Views of Mt. Cory 2789m, Mount Edith 2554m (the spike top), Mt. Norquay 2525m can be seen to the north.





The trail and bicycle access ends at the Sundance Canyon picnic area. There a 1.2 km foot trail climbs into this canyon, bridging the Sundance Creek, and looping back down the other side of the canyon.


Just before the trail loops around there is a fork leading off through Sundance Pass to swing around the southern end of Sulphur Mountain to the Spray River for those considering that route.

Photo Credits: [1] melanie CC=nc-flickr, [2][3][4] eric titcombe CC=flickr, [5][6] John Vetterli CC-nc-nd-flickr, [7] casium CC=nc-nd-flickr.

Research: ParksCanada

Sunday, 14 June 2015

Have you ever noticed that when arrangements are made to go somewhere, especially those plans made earlier in the year or the year before -- seem to go awry just before one is about to depart. Perhaps I should just go on the spur of the moment and hope for the best; something I did when younger -- and it worked out just fine.

The photo is from a post about hiking the Rockwall Pass in Kootenay National Park in British Columbia.

Photo Credit: nordique CC=flickr.

Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Earl Bales Park

Earl Bales Park is one of 1,600 parks within the Toronto area.

Named after Robert Earl Bales a former mayor of North York, the park is located on the former farmland of his great-grandfather, John Bales.

One of the nicer features of this park is the amphitheatre, where last summer I enjoyed a one-man show with a unique performance on a unicycle.

There are two fire pits, dog off leash area, two playgrounds, five parking lots, nine bike trails and a senior recreation centre with washrooms. In the winter for ski enthusiasts there are ski runs, a ski chalet and a chair lift.


Photo Credit: bemartin © 2014

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Sheep River Provincial Park

Sheep River Provincial Park is located 106km SW of Calgary in Alberta. Take highways AB-22 and AB-546W, or AB-2A south to Otokoks, then west on AB-7 to Black Diamond and at Turner Valley to AB-546W, leaving 36km.

Sheep River is part of the Bow River watershed, providing drinking water to the towns of Turner Valley, Black Diamond and Okotoks.

The Sheep Falls are located near the Bluerock Campground and the Indian Oils Trail on the Sheep River Road at the western portion of the Park.

The park is open May 15 to November 30th each year which assists the Bighorn Mountain Sheep in maintaining their herd numbers. For the avid outdoors person there is camping, hiking, biking/cycling, fishing, horseback riding, and, of course, photographing birds and spectacular landscapes. For fishing enthusiasts a fishing license is required, and there is a catch and release in effect. This park is home to Cutthroat Trout, Bull Trout and Rainbow Trout. For the hiker often deer, elk, bear and Bighorn Sheep are seen.

For hikers there is information on the trails with Alberta Parks showing the degree of difficulty and more information. Group hiking is essential as this is bear country!

Historically, in 1884 to 1885 John Ware worked for the Quorn Ranch located on the Sheep River.

Photo Credit: phoven CC=flickr.

Research: wikipedia