Tuesday, April 19, 2011

A Walk Through High Park Toronto

High Park is a 400 acre park, making it the largest park in Toronto.It is located in the city's west end, near the Bloor West Village.

One of the focal points of the park is Grenadier Pond, a 35 acres pond on the western edge of the park. They say that it was named after the garrison that occupied Fort York in the 1800s and their use of the pond for fishing. There are two local myths circulating about the Pond. One is that British Grenadiers fell through its thin ice when crossing to defend the city in the War of 1812. Other myths include that the pond is 'bottomless', that is, its depth cannot be measured due to the amount of mud. Fishing remains a popular pastime and apparently are safe to eat.

Playground at High Park

'T'he Hippie'  High Park (Yes, he's made of stone!)
Lesya Ukrainka

Colborne Lodge and Museum
Built in 1836 by City Surveyor John George Howard for himself and his wife Jemima Frances Meikle, it is perched on the top of a hill overlooking High Park. A classic example of the Regency cottage style, it was originally one storey, but Howard later expanded it. The house was named after Sir John Colborne, Lieutenant-Governor of Upper Canada from 1828 to 1836 and a  patron of Howard's architecture.
The cottage sat on 165 acres owned by Howard. His original intent was to start a farm on the property. The landscape of the property with its steep hills, wetlands and sandy soils would have been difficult to develop in any event.

Howard and Jemima had no children and thus deeded the park to city in 1873, in exchange for a permanent pension. He continued to live in his home until his death in 1890. John Howard and his wife are buried in the Howard Tomb, a stone monument which overlooks Grenadier Pond.

The cairn was designed by Howard, and the fence gate for the cairn is originally from St. Paul's Cathedral in London and was originally designed by the famous architect Christopher Wren.
Colborne Lodge is now a museum run by the City. The museum displays the house and furnishings of the 1800s, using much of the Howard's own furnishings and Howard art works. Annually at Hallowe'en, guides put on a "Haunted Walk" discussing legends of ghost appearances at the Lodge.

Maple Leaf High Park

The Native Burial ground Controversy

This mound, called the Watersnake Mound, is according to the Iroquois  a burial site that dates back some 3,000 years. Presumed to be built by people of the Meadowood Culture, the protection of the area is of great concern to the Indiginous Peoples of Turtle Island.

They claim that for for the past 16 years  BMX  riders have illegally cut into the mound,  building an unnatural landscape of cycling ramps on the site, possibly having desecrated the tombs of First Peoples buried within. In a recent standoff with police and park officials, native demonstraters were preparing to dig up the BMX ramps that crossed the area. However a deal was struck when  police and park officials agrees to fence the area off.

The High Park Petting Zoo



Mountain Goats High Park

Mountain Goat

A White Reindeer

Yak ...

And Yak ...