Monday, September 5, 2011

Labour Day [Humber River]

Labour Day, originally uploaded by Michael Mitchener.Date: September 5, 2011
Time: ~8:30 AM to ~11:30 AM
Launch Point: Sunnyside Park
Destination: Humber River
Crew: Frank Lemire, Michael Mitchener & William Self
Conditions: Light chop, 17c, strong winds and cloudy skies.
Sightings: Many forms of transit including a streetcar, subway, Go Train, and a bus, as well as a number of interesting birds, an otter, several crazy fishermen, two shopping carts, and some blow-your-mind homes.

flying away, originally uploaded by syncros.

After a bit of a drought this summer as far as canoe trips go, we headed out for an overdue paddle this Labour Day up the Humber River. We hadn't paddled this far west before and we were unsure how far you could actually go up the river before you hit bottom but we intended to find out. From satellite pictures, the river seemed fairly shallow and we suspected that this might be one of our shorter canoe trips.

Rochester Bound, originally uploaded by Michael Mitchener.

Fortunately, the river is more substantial we realized and we comfortably paddled our way to Bloor just near the Old Mill subway station. The Humber is a beautiful part of Toronto with many isolated sections where there is little to remind you that you're in the city. I was surprised how few bridges cross the river south of Bloor, in fact I don't recall any north of The Queensway.

Peanut Gallery, originally uploaded by Michael Mitchener.

After an initial blustery start with the wind in our face, we found some quieter sections of the river and were able to enjoy the wildlife, the amazing homes that hang on the edge of the river and the river itself.

Urban Colours, originally uploaded by Michael Mitchener.

If our collective memories serve us well, the Humber figured prominently in Hurricane Hazel many years ago and much development was wiped out along the river. Today, the banks of the river are mostly free from development other than the odd winding staircase coming down from a home above and the occasional dock or marina. Hurricanes are pretty rare in Toronto but they are always a possibility.

urban voyageur, originally uploaded by syncros.

All in all, we were surprised at the size and beauty of the river and it was well worth making the trek west of Yonge Street. After our paddle, we pushed our way back through the CNE traffic, across Yonge Street and headed to OK OK Diner for a tasty brunch, and several cups of coffee. It was a perfect way to spend Labour Day and we managed to finish our paddle before the temperatures plummeted. Thanks to my fellow voyageurs for a great day.

Table For Three, originally uploaded by Michael Mitchener.