Along the Beltline


After we left Mount Pleasant Cemetery yesterday, we took a walk along the Kay Gardner Beltline Trail – this follows the line of a railway that opened for passenger traffic in 1892, but which was unprofitable and only ran for two years before falling into misuse. Then, it was reopened for freight, and trains ran along the Beltline until the late 1960s – one of our friends remembers waving to the 1 p.m. train as it went past when he was a small boy. Today, it’s a trail much loved by walkers, runners, dogs and cyclists. We entered the trail via the cemetery and crossed a bridge adorned with’iron’ (actually fibre glass) horses manufactured by Toronto company Plastiglas. The horses are said to hark back to when the Beltline was a buggy trail, and then to the steam trains that would have run on the line. The original sculptures were in place from 1994 to 1996, but were then sold off, so this is a welcome return.

You have views of Yonge Street in both directions.

 After many disputes about its use (developers wanted to use it for housing, local residents wanted it closed to public use because of vandalism and general bad behaviour), the Beltline Trail was finally converted to the track that we see today in 1988. It’s certainly well-used, and we met some very fine dogs on the way. It’s wide enough that cyclists, runners and dogwalkers seem to be able to get along without tripping over one another.

I was rather moved by this hopeful grafitti.

I am noticing a lot of periwinkle (Vinca minor) popping up all over the place – this is classed as (yet another) invasive alien in Canada, but this doesn’t seem to be dissuading it. It’s a bit smaller and more delicate than the Vinca major species which is most often seen in the UK, but I wouldn’t be surprised to find out that both are in Canada.

And in just one spot there’s a stand of chionodoxa large enough to rival those that I’ve seen elsewhere. A whole garden seems to have eroded and spread down the slope. I rather enjoyed seeing this black squirrel playing in a sea of blue.

The trail goes on for quite a way both north and south of the part that we walked, but alas our walking time was over, and we needed to head for home. Still, the Beltline was interesting, and gives us something else to investigate next time we’re in Canada. However long our visits are, they’re never quite enough.

3 thoughts on “Along the Beltline

  1. Tom Raw

    The “tout est possible” graffiti has been there several years. The city periodically send someone to paint over it, but it always reappears within a day or two. I lived round the corner from 2015 to 2021. Funny to see it again here!

    1. Bug Woman Post author

      Ah interesting Tom, I thought maybe it had popped up during the pandemic, but it sounds as if it predates it. Graffiti is so interesting…


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