Category Archives: Raymore Park Footbridge

Daytime rain brings a quick rise in the Humber.

There was heavy rain in Toronto last night but unlike the flood events of 1954 and 2013, the overnight rain was relatively local and not spread over the Humber watershed. This morning I took a leisurely stroll in the humid morning air and was surprised to see the relatively low level of the water.

At 8:30 this morning, a relatively low level.

By the afternoon, things had changed. More rain had fallen in the broader catchment area and the river’s quick rise was apparent – not as spectacular as 2013 but impressive nevertheless.

By 5:30 this afternoon, there was a lot more water and sediment.

On July 9th, 2013, this is how the Humber looked from the same vantage point when the water was beginning to subside from the previous day’s rain.

July 9, 2013, 5:45 am. The old footbridge foundation is completely submerged and may have even been shifted by the current.

Incidentally, workers repairs the bridge boards yesterday – many were rotten through. I don’t understand why they don’t replace the wood with metal ‘boards’ that would last much longer.

Bridge boards don’t last long as they’re not chemically treated. This is because preserved wood leaches toxins into the river in wet weather and would harm aquatic life.


Jane’s Walk May 3rd at 5:30pm

Jane's Walk2014-GB

On Saturday, May 3rd, a ‘Jane’s Walk’ will feature the Humber between Lions Park and the weir in Raymore Park. The emphasis will be on Hurricane Hazel and its effects on the environment both natural and human. Some of the stops along the way will be:

Stop 1: Lawrence Avenue Bridge

The effects of Hurricane Hazel and its deluge of water on the bridge and surroundings.

Stop 2: Lion’s Park / Weston Fairground

Stop 3: Raymore Foot Bridge

The history of the footbridge that once existed at this point and its current successor.

Stop 4: Raymore Drive (across bridge)

The ground where 36 people lost their lives; the role of the old bridge. View traces of the settlement that was destroyed.

Stop 5: Raymore Park

The aftermath of Hazel and the organization set up to acquire and manage flood plain land.

Stop 6: Raymore Park dam

The fish ladder and migrating trout. The future of weirs along the Humber.

Stop 7: Chapman Valley Park / Humber Creek

The flooding that occurred at the top of this creek on July 8 2013, and the impact development has had on rivers across the city

Stop 8:

Urban river valleys, the Greenbelt, and the upcoming staff report and vote in city council to add the Humber, Don, and Etobicoke Creek to the Greenbelt.

  • Option 1: Retrace our steps along the Humber path,
  • Option 2: walk through the streets, past the wooden church at Scarlett and Kingdom, down Raymore Drive, crossing back over Raymore bridge and ending back up at Lion’s Park.

Walk Leaders:

Mary Louise Ashbourne (Weston Historical Society)
Gaspar Horvath (TRCA)
Roy Murray (Humber Watershed Alliance)
Shelley Petrie (Friends of the Greenbelt)
Michael Cook (Lost Rivers)

Meeting point: Car park at Lawrence Avenue and Little Avenue (Cruickshank Park) at 5:30pm.


More hints of the past

Housing was once scattered along the length of the Humber. Quite a few were built on the valley floor in present day Raymore Park. Raymore Drive used to stretch down into the present-day parking lot and Gilhaven Avenue. It must have been an idyllic location with nature close at hand, rich flood plain soil and an easy walk to the shops and transportation links in Weston. Interestingly, I was talking to long time Weston resident Douglas Tucker and he mentioned that until the mid-1960s, Weston was a shopping destination for people from as far away as Palgrave and Bolton thanks to a regular train service.

In Raymore Park, few traces remain of the houses once located here before they were either swept away during Hurricane Hazel or demolished by authorities in the aftermath. Every spring however, flowering shrubs are living reminders of the families who cultivated gardens here more than fifty years ago.

This beautiful lilac blooms faithfully every year.

This is one of two beautiful lilacs that bloom faithfully every year.

Apple blossom pokes its way through the surrounding trees.

Apple blossom pokes its way through the surrounding trees.

A beautiful American Honeysuckle towers over day lilies.

Along with the day lilies in front of it, I don’t know if this beautiful honeysuckle is a remnant or not.

This City of Toronto Archive aerial view has been labelled to show the location of some of the streets including Gilhaven Avenue which no longer exists. The present-day lilac bush and parking lot locations are marked. The Humber still follows the same approximate course.

Aerial view of Raymore and Glenhaven in 1953.

Aerial view of Raymore and Gilhaven in 1953.

Warm weather brings problems

The onset of  warmer weather is the worst possible time for wildlife in the park. Many animals are in the most crucial part of their reproductive cycle and increased numbers of people add a considerable burden to their lives. Fortunately, numbers decrease as the season progresses and the novelty wears off. Today, this gentleman let his very active dog off leash at the entrance of the park and it ran to the footbridge flushing out wildlife as it went, causing considerable distress to wildlife, pedestrians and cyclists. Many people seem to regard the park as a leash free zone.


Face obscured.

This lady decided that the zoom on her camera was insufficient so she had to impose herself on these poor geese, giving them no option but to leave their peninsula. The small island in the distance is about the only safe place for nesting birds and other animals.


On a happier note a pair of American Black Ducks were waddling in a corner of the park this morning, snacking on new growth and happily out of sight of unleashed dogs. It’s possible that they are in the process of migrating from the southern U.S. to summer grounds further north although some stay here year-round.


Humber footbridge – alternate view

The Humber footbridge looks good from just about any direction but this view looking north features the old suspension footbridge abutment in the foreground.

The old abutment captures driftwood from upriver.

The Humber footbridge and the old bridge abutment on a late winter’s day.

The footbridge was installed in 1995 (after an absence of 41 years) with provincial help, as part of the goal to have a waters’ edge trail from Lake Ontario right up to the Humber’s source on the Oak Ridges Moraine. As part of this goal, this summer, a 600m extension will move the end of the trail from its current location in Cruickshank Park to a set of steps by Weston and St Philips Roads. At the moment there are negotiations around land ownership issues further along the riverbank – hopefully these will be resolved soon.

Another winter view of the footbridge.

This is the Humber footbridge from the other side of the river.

The old bridge abutment is in the left foreground.

The old bridge abutment is on the left centre of the photo.

More people were in the park today as the path has been beaten down by the pioneers! A nice sunny day with some interesting shadows on the snow.

A couple of Siberian Elms cast their shadows.

A couple of Siberian Elms cast their shadows.



Mugsey mugs for the camera.

Today is a grey and misty day as the latest warm front has arrived dumping snow, freezing rain and now plain old rain. Mugsey decided he would scratch himself on a tree and he posed nicely for the camera.

Mugsey loves the snow - can you tell?

Mugsey loves the snow – can you tell?

As we were passing by the bridge, a pair of young white-tailed deer moved silently past on the other side and cautiously crossed over the ice into Raymore Park. Even though the zoom on the RX100 is only 3.6, the sheer number of pixels (5472 x 3080) allows for some zooming at home – especially in this medium.

Sorry about the pole in the middle of the picture.

Apologies for the pole in the middle of the picture.

There is lots of feed above the shallow layer of snow to keep them going – we’ve had a pretty easy winter so far with rain and mild temperatures predicted for tomorrow and especially Wednesday (13°C).