A Runner’s Treat!

  • Difficulty:  Easy
  • Terrain: Mostly gravel with some bridges, some concrete
  • Length: Pretty much as long as you want it to be. There are many sections. Here is an article that describes the current status https://www.thestar.com/life/2015/01/15/the-beltline-trail-keeps-growing-micallef.html
  • Flow: Some sections have quiet roads to cross and there are some stoplights to navigate but a lot of the trail is free of interruptions
  • Scenary: Woods, sections of the subway, views of the city, parks, a large cemetery, and more
  • Safety Issues: There are bicycles, walkers and runners to avoid. Beyond that it is pretty clear.
  • Bathrooms: No but there are some in nearby parks
  • Drinking Water: Water fountains at various points
  • Transit Access: Yes to various sections.  For example the Yonge Street Davisville subway stop takes you close to the Kay Gardner beltline (you can see the trail as a bridge across Yonge Street.
  • Parking: Street parking at various points, mainstreets are metered but side streets nearby have free parking
  • Night Access: A limited amount of lighted sections
  • Special Features: Numerous, Mount Pleasant Cemetary, many parks, rivers, ravines (Cedarvale Ravine on the trail is very pretty (goes from the Rosedale Subway station to St. Clair West and Eglinton West subway station.
  • Nearby Attractions:  Great restaurants and shops on Yonge Street (North-South) and Eglinton or St. Clair (East-West)

I am a Torontonian, born here and lived here all my life.  At the present I reside in Toronto a bit more than half the year. I am also a runner and even before I was a runner I was a walker. And as most residents of midtown Toronto know the place to walk or run is “the trail.’  The Beltline Trail was originally a commuter railway built in the last nineteenth century. But it was converted to a trail in the late twentieth century.

I have walked and now run the Beltline Trail for many years. It seemed to follow me (or rather me it) as I moved from house to house. In my last abode it was a bit of a jaunt and when my dental surgeon, a proud runner, told me he had just bought a house steps from the trail I just knew that would be my destination too. And so it was. I now live in an apartment that backs onto the trail. Can anything be better than that!

A view of a section of the trail with runners just visible in the center.

Starting just north of the Eglinton West subway station the trail goes along the old rail line through several parts crossing a bridge at Yonge Street which is my landmark when I head home. And then into the Mount Pleasant Cemetery (my apartment backs on to that component).  This cemetery (which I also run) is very interesting, but that is another story.  All these parts of the trail are my turf. The trail continues along a ravine and south to the brickworks and actually various other places.

 

Here’s a link provided by the city to the beltline and other components of my favorite running route. The brochure you reach through the link gives you a great map of four wonderful running paths in the city. Beside the Belt Line and Mount Pleasant Cemetery it includes the brickworks and the ravines of the Don Valley.

http://www1.toronto.ca/city_of_toronto/parks_forestry__recreation/trails/files/pdf/DW_Central.pdf

All I can say is thank you to my dental surgeon. Who knows without him I might have found my way into some trail-free suburb.

Getting to the trail is easy since it goes past many subway stops. Mount Pleasant Cemetery and the Kay Gardener Bridge are right on the subway line for example. Just get off at Davisville on the Yonge Line and if you face south and maybe walk a little in that direction you can’t miss the bridge!

Mount Pleasant Cemetery (http://www.mountpleasantgroup.com/deathoccurred/cemeteries/locations/mp) is historic, beautifully landscaped, filed with sculptures. One of my favourite components is the Central Fountain which I pass regularly on my runs.

fountain

I run in the morning, I run in the afternoon, I run at night and I have yet to see anything SPOOKY.

 

After a wonderful, run, bike ride, walk through the trail where should you stop for a bite.  Depending on your route you may well be on Yonge Street, the main street of Toronto.

If you are very hungry you might want to try the Mandarin, an amazing Chinese buffet at Eglinton and Yonge (the subway stop before Davisville). We go there for large family outings and office parties. 2200 Yonge Street. One of my favorites’ is Tabule’s. At 2009 Yonge Street which is four blocks North of the Beltline Park bridge.

www.tabule.ca

It serves mid-eastern food. I love watching them pour the water in a long trail coming from a special pitcher.  They cater to all kinds of diets from vegan to no dairy to gluten free. I love the falafel and the meat skewers and well everything on the menu. Probably better to reserve.

One our favorites is C’est Bon which despites its name is a Chinese restaurant. Not pretentious but decent food and not expensive.21490 Yonge

But a real find is the Flaming Stove. This is a grocery store cum mid-Eastern Restaurant. The falafel sandwiches are huge and delicious (and inexpensive too). There are a few tables in the back of the restaurant. But you are definitely NOT coming here for the ambiance.  And yes it is a grocery store too and nobody but a local would know about this place!

If you start or end the trail at different locations there are obviously different places to stop and eat. There are water fountains at various locations along the trail but it is not on a street. You have to leave the trail for that.