The West Toronto Railpath is a reclaimed railway right-of-way that currently runs from Cariboo Avenue to Dundas Street West/Sterling Road. The linear park is about 2 years old now and is a nice addition to the Junction neighbourhood. Once/when completed it will provide a link sans motorized vehicles between our neighbourhood and the downtown.
In recent weeks I’ve gotten quiet familiar with the path as my neighbour and I have been using the existing 2.1 km path to rack up the kms in our attempt to train for the Sporting Life 10 k.
Here are some initial observations:
1. The norther portion, between Cariboo Avenue and Bloor Street, is a lot more visually stimulating [at the moment]. There are old warehouse-type buildings, the existing Georgetown GO train tracks, “plazas” at street intersections, refurbished bridges and plenty of interesting graffiti.
2. The norther portion is on a steady, slow, almost unnoticeable incline to Cariboo Avenue. This means that a. you don’t notice the elevation change, b. on the way back, south, you’re not doing as much work (win-win!)
3. The south portion, between Bloor Street and Dundas Street West/Sterling Road, is a bit desolate [at the moment]. There are two large tracks of vacant/under demolition land running along the east side of the trail. Further south, there are a few buildings to break up the monotone nature of the trail. There are four (?) large public art pieces” (scroll to the end) along this part of the trail. Although I enjoy them, as I use them as landmarks, I’m not entirely sure I understand them. Finally, no streets intersect the trail. This may change, depending on what happens on the vacant lands on the east. (I think this is probably the reason I think this section of the trail is not as interesting).
4. The south portion is a lot more hilly. Though this is probably not noticeable or a problem to a seasoned runner, they do provide another [mental] obstacle to overcome. Note: There is a huge hill at the end of the south portion as the trail connects Dundas Street West/Sterling Road. There isn’t much at the end, other than a map of the trail, so if you don’t need to get out of the trail system, I don’t suggest wasting energy going up the hill… unless energy is abundant and you are feeling like a super star.
5. Both portion of the trail seem to be well used by walkers, joggers and cyclists. It looks like a lot of the users are using the trail as a connection to get from one end of the neighbourhood to another.
Overall, I’m really enjoying running on the trail. I think once the weather is nicer, and the indigenous plants have started to blossom even the south portion of the trail will be pleasant enough. For the time being, even though the north portion is longer, I think I will stick to doing loops from Bloor Street and Cariboo Avenue.
I will try to update this as the weather gets better and there is more to report on.