The area around Trinity Bellwoods Park has changed considerably since the War of 1812 when a blockhouse guarded the ford across Garrison Creek. Explore some of the neighbourhood’s heritage sites - still standing and long vanished - and hear what local residents did in the war and how the community has evolved in the 200 years since.
Our guide was Jon Harstone. The walk started on the NW corner of Queen W/Gore Vale.
Despite the threat of rain, there were quite a few people on the walk.
Jon started by giving us the history of that corner and the part it played in the War of 1812. It used to be part of the Garrison Creek before it was covered over. At the time, the only way to get to the other side was to head south towards Fort York, go east and then head north again. Sounds like quite a hassle!
This is looking southwest from the corner and what it looked like in the mid 1800s and how it looks today. The short building to the left in the first picture was Farr's Brewery, established in 1819. The house next to it (the John Cornell House) burned down in 1996 ... it was replaced by a condo.
This is John Farr's house, built in 1847, now surrounded by the condo.
Jon led us through Trinity Bellwoods Park. This is the oldest tree in the park, about two hundred years old.
There are five fire hydrants in the park. They were part of the Trinity College, which was finished in 1852 and demolished in the 1950s. Easier to leave them be than remove them.
Jon talked a bit about the "dog bowl" (a leash free dog area), a remnant of the Garrison Creek where water used to flow. It was an outdoor amphitheatre when the college was there with seats built into the side of the hill. I didn't know that.
We walked west to Crawford Street.
The houses south of Lobb Avenue on Crawford were built as rentals in the late 1890s.
The houses north of Lobb Avenue on Crawford are a lot nicer, were built between 1883 and 1914, and were lived in by their owners.
We continued north on Crawford. There used to be a bridge crossing Garrison Creek where the road now is.
It was buried along with this part of the Creek using the landfill from the building of the Danforth subway line. The bridge is still under Crawford Street.
Walking south on Shaw, we learned why there are boulevards with trees. According to Jon, developers in the 1800s felt they made the street look ritzier.
Then we walked west to Givens Street.
At the top of Givens Street is the last remaining estate house in the west end of Toronto. It was built in 1891 on the site of Colonel James Givin's estate, Pine Grove. I never knew it was there!
Across the street was this interesting looking garage ... I'm curious to learn more about it.
This was an excellent walk and I learned a lot about my 'hood. Jon was very knowledgeable and knew his stuff.