Curing the Nature Deficit

July 1, 2012: Milkman’s Lane, Yellow Creek Ravine, Mud Creek Ravine, Don Valley Brickworks.

In his book Accidental City, Robert Fulford wrote about Toronto’s ravines:

The ravines are to Toronto what canals are to Venice and hills are to San Francisco. They are the heart of the city’s emotional geography, and understanding Toronto requires an understanding of the ravines.

If you’re not familiar with Toronto’s ravine system, I recommend the blog, Toronto Ravines and Trails with Abbey. It’s the personal blog of a Toronto father who has chronicled his adventures exploring Toronto’s ravines with his five-year old daughter.  Of course, if you have a literary bent, there’s always Margaret Atwood‘s Cat’s Eye to read,  in which Toronto’s ravines figure prominently.

Walking in Toronto’s ravines has become a Canada Day ritual for us, those years when we can’t get out of the city (read: most years). There is nothing like an amble along a sun-dappled trail to get the imagination flowing. Not five steps on to Milkman’s Lane, and the boys had launched into a new game of their own devising, which continued, unabated, until they finally stopped to smell (or water) the roses at the Evergreen Brickworks, our destination of the day:

P.S.: We’re wishing our American readers, family and friends a very happy, relaxing and restorative Fourth of July.  Whether you spend the day in a ravine, at a beach, at a barbeque or just in the company of people you love, we hope today is a good one.

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5 thoughts on “Curing the Nature Deficit

  1. Marcelle, I also love Toronto’s ravines, and miss them! Another book in which they figure is “Fugitive Pieces” by Anne Michaels, which I highly recommend if you haven’t read it!

  2. I read it in Chicago, where it did likewise. (Aside: While there, I went to dinner with a visiting speaker, originally from Greece, and the topic of Jews in Greece during WWII came up. It turned out his family had sheltered a number during the war. It was poignant to make this connection because of the novel.)

    And yes, we do have mountains! They are much more scenic than ravines, but there is something to be said for the numerous bike paths, creeks and bridges, and semi-wilderness feel (in parts) of the ravines in the middle of urban Toronto!

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