Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Kay and Mike Take Toronto By Bike: The Port Lands

Mike and I have made it an unofficial goal to visit as many neighbourhoods as possible in Toronto via public transit and biking. This is a multiyear adventure, and has no order, very few rules, and no deadline. The only rule with bike club is that we don’t talk about bike club. Just kidding! The only rule is that we have to get there without using a car, and then I have to blog about it. 

Bike adventure number 3! (See Dundas ON, and Leslieville from last year)

Sometimes bike adventures just spontaneously happen. This Sunday, Mike and I were planning on attending a free intro to sailing class over in the Port Lands. Our plan was to drive over, do the sailing class, and then drive back. But then CRAZY TRAFFIC JAMS happened, so we decided to skip frustratingly waiting in traffic and biked over. It was one of those moments where we were like "herm..its only 50+ km of biking, we should be able to do that!" Spoiler alert: we did! 

22.5 km one way!

The first 15 km of the ride was very familiar as it is my normal commute to work. I have started biking to work and I'm thoroughly enjoying it. I take side streets for a few blocks and then boom: water front trail. Especially with the amazing updates to Queen's Quay, the bike to work is actually cycling friendly! It is crazy to see how much the biking infrastructure has improved in the past few years. Only thing to note is that on a nice summer weekend the pedestrian traffic can get a little nuts, but I don't mind sharing the trail, it just means biking with more caution than early on a weekday morning. We did however see a guy on a old timey bicycle about 8ft in the air so that was pretty neat! 

After the waterfront area, we continued our trek down through the Port Lands, our main destination for this trip (20km from home). 

It is a Mike!

The Port Lands area wouldn't necessarily be considered a "tourist" destination. It is definitely a part of Toronto that shows off it's historical industrial side. However, there are some pretty cool things out that way. Pulson Pier (driving range, indoor soccer, go karts and more), Cabana pool bar which has some of the nicest views of the city, Cherry St. Beach, and lots of Sailing Clubs.  It will be interesting to see what it will look like in 2o years after more development. 

We were at the Sailing Fanatics club for our short lesson, and Alex our guide took us out to show us a catamaran style boat. It was a lot of fun! I love being out on the water, and in the future I really want to look into getting a small boat/kayak or something that we can bring down to the water near our house and go for some water adventures! (Kay and Mike take Toronto by Water?). 

 After sailing, we decided to add more kms to the bike and explore Tommy Thompson Park, (otherwise known as the Leslie Street Spit).

It is a spit!

You could go check out wikipedia or you can read my summary below:
Back in the 50's shipping was a big deal. So they decided to build a breakwater to create a second harbour for shipping traffic. Shipping traffic died down, but now the city had a convenient place to dump fill. So they created a man made spit. Then because nature is awesome, things started growing (as green things do) and nature started to take over the man made spit. In the 70s they decided to open the area to the public as a park/wildlife, and even though it is still an active dumping area (some of the cells still have a 50 year capacity), it has also become an important bird conservation area. Pretty cool example of humans doing something kind of good for the environment by accident! Definitely felt like we were out of the city for the afternoon, and it gave us some pretty cool views! 

After the spit (now we were up past 30 km of biking) we decided to grab a bite at Cherry St. Restaurant. It is a cool old building that has been around since 1907! Since it was a weird time of day, we spilt a club sandwich, salad and some pretty delicious sweet potato fries (and a beer-vrage!). 

The Cherry
Om nom nom

After that nice stop we headed back on the road, only to be stalled at the bridge as a huge ship drove through....
I'm very excited!!

That is a big ship!

...and then another 20km to get home! It was a little tough on the legs, but we made it!! Just in time to have some leftover BBQ for supper, and call it day! 50+km of biking, one more area down...a ton more adventures to go! 

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