And we’ve come a pretty long way since then, with the trail going out a good 300m more than before.
Yes. Quite the change, as the trail is now rounding the promontory made by the bluffs, and we can clearly see the beach of Bluffer’s Park, whereas we could only really see the tip before. The story is that the breakwater is to be connected up the the beachfront trail at Bluffer’s Park, so that it can form a single multi-use trail.
But what if we turn our gaze from westward to northward, and look at the bluffs? Why, we see this!
If you don’t see it already, there is a small dwelling leaning precariously off the bluff’s edge. Here’s a closeup:
Hello, Mrs. Van! Is Billy home?
This Meadowcliffe Drive building has actually been hanging off the bluff’s edge on since early 2008 when a large chunk of bluff collapsed. This house once belonged to Billy Van, the Toronto-born singer, actor and comedian. Huh.
You can see some better pictures of Billy Van’s house up-close here.
I was wrong – the city is actually making pace with construction down by the bluffs. In fact, they currently have finished the path connecting to Gates Gully. I’m quite surprised at the speed with which they are progressing every day; after visiting the construction site a few times, they seem to mark progress with posts, which (by my measurements) average 4m of new road each day! At this rate, including all weekends and holidays, the 1.5 km segment remaining between Bluffers Park and Gates Gully should be finished in roughly one year from now.
I accessed the trail via the Guild Inn, just as the last of the dump trucks and Toronto and Region Conservation authorities were packing it in for the day. That’s right – from what I can tell, this project seems to be planned from a “parks and rec” as well as “watersheds protection” angle, not so much for cyclo-commuting (insert sad emoticon of your choice here). But, I didn’t really expect that it would ever be for that reason – much more likely to prevent erosion of the bluffs as just a simple gravel trail.
The trail was churned-up from dump truck traffic
It was just above zero during the afternoon, enough to melt all the snow/ice and turn the gravel and dirt road at the base of the bluffs into a muddy mess. Not easy going on relatively thin tyres, but boy! was I impressed when I made it to the new construction point. Up until now, the “construction” that has been going on has consisted of merely stacking up piles of debris – I can now see why. They went at it all in one go: no waiting for fill to finish. It took less than a week to build 200m of new road/trail:
All new construction
I’m glad to see that this is making priority, after about 10 years of stagnation. This could mean a completed trail system to the beaches in ~5 years, which would complete the perfect route for commuting downtown.
Last post involved the path down at the base of the bluffs, and how it would make a great bike path (read the dedicated “Commuting, a Trail Proposal” page). However, construction efforts have been stupendously slow. Almost no actually progress has been made since two summers ago; dump trucks are only piling up the fill at the one end of the path.
The red circle is where the current construction is ongoing.
Upon closer inspection of the site, a bulldozer and an excavator can be seen – these have served only to force the dumped loads into mounds. In the future (who knows how long), the rubble will be pushed into the water to construct the remaining section between Gates Gully and this path situated below the Guild Inn.
The red line indicates the path being built now – about 240 meters. This is less than 1/17 of the amount of the path needed to be newly constructed (including breakwater trails), and has taken a full year to get only the building materials collected. It’ll be another 20 years to get the thing finished! Oh, well. With some motivation, we may just be able to get city council to push the project up on their “To Do” list.
It may be interesting for you to know that the heavy equipment they use is not kept under lock-and-key at all; it is simply abandoned at the end of a working day:
The unlocked bulldozer
Is it considered “breaking in” when there was no breaking involved?
My buddy, for relative size
Operating the control levers, but with no great success.
Note the metal paneling over the windows and door: it may be easily removed with only a wrench.
The ‘dozer was left completely accessible, minus the operating keys, but it still had enough hydraulic pressure to lift and lower the bucket, twice! While I don’t recommend it, one only needs a wrench, and they can get in and fully operate the excavator – the workers leave the keys inside, but slide on metal coverings over the door, and keep them in place with only a few bolts!
They are still around the end of the path, for anybody interested, as of Dec. 27th, and don’t look as if they are moving anytime soon. Just watch for the workers between 10 AM and 6 PM once the holidays are over. Cheers.