Saturday, September 26, 2009

Heritage: An Urban Heritage River

Guides from the Weston Historical Society paused to provide background on the Humber River at Cruickshank Park in the former Town of Weston in Toronto, Ontario on 20-September-2009

TORONTO, ONTARIO - As part of the celebrations of the tenth anniversary of the designation of the Humber River as a Canadian Heritage River, the Weston Historical Society and Heritage Toronto put on a walk along the Humber River in the former Town of Weston, now part of Toronto.

The Humber River flowed quietly through the Weston neighbourhood of Toronto, Ontario on 20-September-2009

The walk traced the Humber River from the former Canadian National bridge over the river (currently single-track, planned to be replaced with a four-track bridge for expanded airport service) northwest of Weston to Raymore Park, south of the town, a portion of the river that I had never explored before.

Weston's old town bell was located in Cruickshank Park along the Humber River on 20-September-2009

The theme of the day was mill sites--the entire length of the walk was once contained them, many of them built or owned at one time or another by the Holley family. The major park, though, traces its lineage to the Wadsworth family, later succeeded by the Cruickshanks, who donated the land to the city in 1928, creating Cruickshank Park. By 1952, the city had purchased land between Cruickshank and Sunset Parks, creating today's longer Cruickshank Park along the Humber.

An ossuary (large pit burial ground) was located somewhere near this site in Lions Park near Weston in Toronto, Ontario on 20-September-2009

Pre-European history also is prominent in this section of the river, as near Lions Park is the location of an ossuary. In 1911, human remains dating from the fifteenth century had been found here, and aboriginal groups had gathered them an interred them in a large pit, called an ossuary.

The remains of the older Raymore Bridge destroyed during Hurricane Hazel in 1954 became a monument next to the new bridge over the Humber, seen 20-September-2009

Of course, the most prominent history in this area was the damage caused by Hurricane Hazel in October 1954. The Humber River had crested at 30 feet above its base in this area, sweeping away--amongst other things--an entire street of fourteen homes. The remains of the old pedestrian bridge at Raymore Drive marked the end of the walk at the replacement bridge.

The chance to see a portion of Humber River with references to every era of its history was a great way to celebrate its tenth anniversary as a heritage river.

No comments: