By: Jenelle Cameron
The Don Mills Trail in Toronto follows the roadbed of a former railway line
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The Don Mills Trail, which runs from York Mills Road to Eglinton Avenue East, is home to a walk along the former railway line known as the Leaside Spur.
The trail is situated within the Don Mills neighbourhood of Toronto with none of the trail within Leaside, although that was the destination of the trains that used the former rail line.
Starting at York Mills Roads and Scarsdale Road behind the Longo's (which actually used to be the historic rail yard's engine repair building before it was restored), you wouldn't guess that a trailhead is located here.
The rail corridor on the north end of the trail makes for a fairly urban walk as it runs parallel to the still-active tracks of the Canadian National Railway (CNR) Bala Division and is bordered by industrial properties.
The Canadian Northern Railway built the line originally to access the CPR North Toronto Station. Passenger service never occurred, however, and the CNR purchased the spur in 1918. The trail becomes much less industrial toward the south end of the tree-lined pathway as you're led through thicker vegetation and forest.
Where the trail intersects a street or a cross-trail, there are ornamental circles which bear the name of it. Though you might miss it in the winter, some of these intersections even contain two embedded parallel rails as a reminder of the trail's long legacy.
The trail also passes over a hundred-year-old bridge at Bond Avenue. Local residents saved the deteriorating bridge from being demolished about 10 years ago due to its historic significance. The bridge took six years to construct and was made with concrete slabs and six-foot-thick steel beams in order to handle the weight of locomotives and heavily loaded railcars.
Although there are plans to connect the trail east across the CP tracks to ET Seton Park, the linear pathway currently ends at a dead-end after about one kilometre. You can either exit through the unofficial path that leads to the intersection of Eglinton Avenue East and Leslie Street or head back in the direction you came.
Article by Blogto | Olivia Little