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Lower Don River Trail launches with art installation series

Living in the north end of Toronto has its perks — one being the immediate access to one end of the East Don River Trail. On Saturday mornings, I often find myself wandering (or jogging) through trees, over small bridges, and across fields full of wildflowers. The sounds and the sights are truly rejuvenating. Once I saw a bunny (or more accurately it sprang out of the bushes giving me a slight heart attack) and another time I saw a deer, peacefully grazing near a creek.

It’s this beauty that Toronto is celebrating this weekend — well, that and the reopening of the Lower Don Trail, a legacy project that was supposed to be completed in the summer of 2016.

This weekend marks two “Ravine Days” — Sept. 23-24 — that are meant to celebrate the beautiful ravine land throughout the city. Over 17 per cent of Toronto is ravine land and the municipal government is encouraging people to explore this network of natural beauty.

Featured events include Harvest Day at the Toronto Botanical Garden, a festival at Todmorden Mills, and the launch of Evergreen’s Don River Valley Park Art Program in the newly re-opened Lower Don Trail.

The Lower Don lands are roughly the size of Central Park in New York or Toronto’s High Park, and feature a series of interconnecting trails and green spaces. There will be guided tours and nature play throughout the re-opened trail, as well as an art installation in the field north of the Bloor Viaduct (accessible from Pottery Rd). The installation will feature 14 concrete gargoyle sculptures that artist, Duane Linklater of the Omaskêko Cree culture, hopes will inspire conversations regarding Toronto’s indigenous and colonial past. The piece is called Monsters For Beauty, Permanence and Individuality.

The installation is part of the Don River Valley Park Art Program, a partnership between Evergreen Brickworks, the City of Toronto, and the Region Conservation Authority. It will be part of a series of new temporary art projects, including sculptures, murals, and performances with dance and music. Linklater’s piece is the first of the series.

So make sure to spend some time this weekend getting to know Toronto’s hidden trails and conservation areas. You never know — maybe you will spot a bunny or a deer?

Will you be testing out the trail this weekend? Let us know in the comments below?

Featured image of the concrete sculptures in the Lower Don Trail, photo credit to Simon Benedict.