Toronto Walks: Forest Hill

Before I get to our walk I would like to mention what my spine MRI found and the back pain I’ve been experiencing when I walk. It directly affects these travel posts and I don’t know how many more I can do.

The MRI found a number of problems both in the lower lumber spine and the hip. However the one of most concern to my doctor is severe, lumbar spine stenosis. This is a narrowing of the space in the vertebrae where the spinal cord and other nerves pass through. My GP has asked for a referral to a spine doctor for further discussion.

I have 2 more posts saved that I will do in the coming weeks. But, for now, here’s Forest Hill. It was a village in 1921, located north of Toronto, and amalgamated into the city in 1967. According to Wikipedia, it was originally called Spadina Heights which was from the Objibwe word ishapadenah, meaning hill.

Forest Hill is known for it’s elegant and stately homes – which we will see.

You can approach your walk from several different points – south at St. Clair, Bathurst & Eglinton or Avenue Road and Eglinton.

I decided to walk south from Eglinton along Lascalles, just east of the Forest Hill border. It happens to be the #35 Bicycle route south that I used to take everyday when I worked downtown (before COVID).

I decided not to take Eve on this one. It was a chilly morning for one thing. Also, I planned to have lunch at a restaurant in Forest Hill Village after the walk.

One of the reasons for going this way was to visit Neshama Playground in Oriole Park. It’s entrance is located at Chaplin Cresc. and Colin Ave. Neshama (Hebrew for soul or spirit) was opened in 2012 and unique at that time. It was to be a playground for all, regardless of ability. Both the city and private donors (who raised $700,000) paid for the special equipment, flooring, splash pads and signage.

Nowadays, playgrounds like these are replacing the older ones. But it was the first of its kind when it was officially opened by Lieutenant Governor David Onley. There is a magnificent Willow tree that stands guard over the children.

When it first opened, bicycles used the cement path next to it to speed through the park. That represented a danger to the kids playing. A fence was erected. Barriers put in place at the entrance, and signs to direct bicyclist to the other pathway in the park.

From the park I headed west on Kilbarry Road – crossed Oriole Parkway and Avenue Road walking past Upper Canada College.

I decided to see if I could cut through Upper Canada College.

I headed around to the front of the buildings to go west along Frybrook Road.

Short walk along Frybrook and found this at the corner of Dunvegan

Headed north on Dunvegan.

The houses were mainly built in the 1920s but there were a number of modern designs.

I had a long, resting sit. As I looked at these large structures I couldn’t fathom what to do with all that room. I thought of my little one bedroom apartment and how everything is convenient and in its place. I guess these houses are for raising big families.

I liked how the barrier hedge formed this perspective leading to the red maple.

At the corner of Dunvegan and Kilbarry I headed north on to Old Forest Hill Road. This was a 3 way intersection that I use to pass on my bike as I headed to the Russell Hill Road bike lane.

Landscaping and gardens are wonderful to look at in the summer.

Old Forest Hill crosses Russell Hill Road. I turned left and headed south on Russell Hill. All of them have video monitoring of the front premises. I’m sure there was some security guard watching me walk from house to house – taking photos. I have expected a police car to pull up.

I took a short left on to Kilbarry as I headed to Warren Road. Warren would take me past Bishop Strachan School, the oldest girls boarding school in Canada.

The back of the school with the sports field.

The side entrance had a bench for me to sit on. There was a little plaque.

Turned right on to Lonsdale and headed to Grace Anglican Church.

I went to a choral concert here a few years ago and it was delightful. The sound was perfect. I see by the poster they still do concerts.

However, they did have a clothing sale on and there was a long line up to get in. Guess the pickings are pretty good in Forest Hill.

My guide book says that the church is mentioned in John Irving’s “A Prayer For Owen Meany”. It is on my reading list so will be able to relate to whatever scene takes place.

I head down Lonsdale to Spadina Road where Forest Hill Village is. I leave the stately mansions behind and, just before Spadina, there are a series of 3 storey walk up apartment buildings. They are the kind that I live in and I feel comforted at the site.

I had planned to have lunch but it was only 10:30 and the restaurants didn’t open until 11. I went to What a Bagel but they were packed. But on Lonsdale there was a Freshii with no one in it. I got the Sesame Crunch wrap along with a carrot juice. I had felt depleted after the 2.5 hour walk. But the Freshii food revitalized me.

I headed down to St. Clair at took the bus back to the subway station to head home. Eve was very happy to see me and I told her I would take her on the next walk.