Earlier this year, I led a walk for the Toronto Field Naturalists at the Birch Cliff Quarrylands. On that day, we were looking for weeds and, of course, found many.
In December of 2018, I led another to experience a walk here in winter conditions.
Two days before that walk, I went out and took many photos which I show in this post.
The Quarrylands comprise 49 acres at Victoria Park Avenue and Gerrard Street East.
The area is an interesting mixture of field:
and improvised dump:
Parts of the forest are surprisingly beautiful with mature White and Red Oaks.
The GO trains rush by about every ten minutes:
Some views of the forest:
of the fields:
There is a grassy park area just north of Gerrard Street:
A few birds were about including this Cooper’s Hawk:
A Bald-faced Hornet’s nest:
even a shrub in bloom!
Witch Hazel (Hamamelis virginiana)
The graffiti artists are at work here:
Even some trees are “tagged”:
more signs of dumping:
Once this area was a brickworks and then a gravel quarry.
In the 1950’s it became an unregulated dump. Everything from radioactive paint to barrels of solvents lie just below the surface. Locals say that if the gasses brewing below the ground were to ignite, half of Scarborough would go with it.
This fenced-in brick shed contains a flare stack which burns off gasses 24 hours a day.
There are dozens of these bright blue, square vertical boxes scattered about the property:
They are test locations for extracting samples of the toxicity lurking below.
At one time the area was to be used for a Scarborough Expressway which was never built.
There is talk of putting a huge apartment complex here though it is not definite.
We saw a large flock of pigeons en route to the Quarrylands: