Sun Valley – The Old Leaside Dump: June 2021


In the late 1930s, the then Town of Leaside purchased an exhausted clay quarry from Sir Henry Pellatt, the builder of Casa Loma. The giant hole in the ground was exactly what Leaside was looking for to deal with the mountains of garbage being produced by the quickly growing town. In the years just before its closure in May, 1965, the dump was said to be receiving over a hundred truckloads of industrial waste and sanitary landfill each day. After its closure, the site continued to accept ash from the Commissioners Street incinerator which was used to bury the dumping pit before finally being capped with cleanfill and topsoil and left to renaturalize.

Over the decades since, numerous plantings have been conducted on and around the area by the TRCA and City of Toronto. Little, if any, evidence of Sun Valley’s depressing past is obvious to visitors today.

I visited the area today.


I will identify it at the end of the post.

Some botany:

Yellow Sweet-clover (Melilotus officinalis)
Hawthorn (Crataegus)
Catnip (Nepeta cataria)
Alternate-leaved Dogwood (Cornus alternifolia)
Dame’s Rocket (Hesperis matronalis)
Gray Dogwood (Cornus foemina)
Rough Cinquefoil (Potentilla norvegica)
Ox-eye Daisy (Leucanthemum vulgare)
Rose (Rosa)
Daisy Fleabane (Erigeron annuus)
Reed Canary Grass (Phalaris arundinacea)
Privet (Ligustrum obtusifolium)
Common Milkweed (Asclepias syriaca)
Yarrow (Achillea millefolia)
Staghorn Sumac pollen cones
Bird Vetch (Vicia cracca)
Poison Ivy (Toxicodendron rydbergii)
Timothy (Phleum pratense)
Motherwort (Leonurus cardiaca)
Ninebark ((Physocarpus opulifolius)
Norway Spruce (Picea abies)
Birdfoot Trefoil (Lotus corniculatis)
Choke Cherry (Prunus virginina)
Teasle (Dipsacus fullonum)
Hawthorn (Crataegus)
Leafy Spurge (Euphorbia virgata)
Purple-flowering Raspberry (Rubus odoratus)
Honeysuckle (Lonicera)
Crown Vetch (Securigera varia)


I am often asked if this is rhubarb. Though somewhat of a rhubarb look-alike, this is Burdock.

Burdock (Arctium)


Thanks to Heather Pantry for this.

I saw a strange sight this morning.  A Red-tailed hawk sat breakfasting on a squirrel and, in the branches above it, a Baltimore Oriole sang continuously for at least ten minutes until the Hawk flew off.  While the Oriole sang, Chickadees and a Blue Jay dropped down to see what all the fuss was about and eventually the Hawk looked up at them.


The earliest breath of June
Blows the white tassels from the cherry boughs,
And in the deepest shadow of noon
The mild-eyed oxen browse.                                  – Elizabeth Ann Allen (1832–1911)

Miles Hearn

1 thought on “Sun Valley – The Old Leaside Dump: June 2021

  1. Lisa Volkov

    Great hawk pictures, Heather!
    The area looks so lush, despite the absence of rain. Beautiful botanicals! And yes, I got the mystery plant!
    Thanks, Miles!


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