Toronto’s corridor of power

On Sunday afternoon I walked this 8.4km stretch of the Finch hydro corridor (almost) in between the rain showers. The clouds came and went and came. The long grass was wet and sparkled in the setting sun. By the end my feet were soaked from the wet grass, but relatively clean despite some big muddy sections and mostly off road walking. This walk will be the subject of the upcoming Toronto Flaneur column in the print edition of Spacing, but here is a photo preview of what I’ll be writing about (photos via iPhone — apologies for lowish quality). I won’t describe much here except to paste in the handful of random Twitter observations I made as I walked (they only roughly correspond to the photos and should not be read as captions). It was a magnificent solitary walk, maybe one of the best I’ve had in Toronto. I started at the northern exit of Finch Station on Yonge Street, and ended at the bus stop at Finch and Don Mills Road.

Thrwarted by raging brook. Must find way across. Towards Bayview now. Can’t pass. Feel like creep skulking by playground looking for way out.

Back on corridor. “Cummer Valley”. Shit, in middle of dog run for giant dogs.

Swiss Chalet, abandoned Esso, now huge valley. Can see for kms.

Old Cummer Go station. Violated CN tresspass warning. Can’t turn back now.

Tall grasses. High country. Can see HiWay 404. Wish for S’bucks or at least Tim Hortons.

Hit the wall at 404. Sound barrier. Seneca. Sun sets feet wet. Now where?

Sad Seneca student carrying heavy No Frills bags down muddy path. Long walks. Finch so wide.

Sweet lord gas station Tim Hortons. Pizza Hut too. 22% civilization good enough.

Don mills bus now. All way to Pape stn. No backtracking. Now circling the peanut! 

Bus only at Eglinton/Flemo park. Toronto is bbbbbiiiiiggggg.


  1. When I worked on the Provincial Hydro Corridors Secondary Use team, the City submitted a huge wishlist/plan for what they would do with the corridor if permitted. Loads of transit.

  2. I was wondering what all those twitters were about yesterday.
    I even looked up Old Cummer Go Station just to see some of the landmarks you were going on about.
    Now I understand.

  3. Old Cummer will always get people whipping out the google.

    It does seem logical for a transit corridor — and there are some dense nodes along the way — and lots of low, flat sprawl.

  4. But it can’t be a transit corridor! People can’t walk out of their front doors and step on a streetcar if you put it into a hydro corridor. Transit belongs in the street, where it can wait at red lights like everyone else.

  5. Any effects of electromagnetic radiation? Mutations maybe?

  6. I like your shadow.

    Where were you when the storm hit?

    Some of your comments under the photos don’t line up with the right photo.

  7. I love the way hydro tower march into the distance like invading giant robots.

    Not sure if hydro corridors would work for transit, but they would definitely work for bike/walking paths and sports fields. It would be cheap to do, too. It’s crazy that the province and city haven’t been able to get their act together to make that happen.

  8. I was glad to find this article, as I grew up just about across the road from the hydro corridor (just a bit west of Bayview).

    It was obviously much less developed in the 1950’s… in fact, there was a barn on Bayview, pretty much where the hockey arena is today. A farmer kept cows there, and grew hay in the fields surrounding the hydro pylons.

    He’d bale the hay with his tractor, and we used to drag the bales together to build forts. I remember at least once when the fence broke, and we found cows strolling down our street.

    The ravine there (where you show the brook) was a bit deeper and a little wilder then (maybe my imagination… but there has been landfill). Good tobogganning and exploring. Foxes, pheasants and more there.

  9. I grew up not far from the Hydro corridor. Many memories of riding my bike along there.

  10. Great article/adventure Shawn. I’ve recently been doing research on these types of green spaces in cities. My interest in hydro corridors peaked this past weekend when I tracked two coyotes using one to navigate through downtown Burlington. lots of potential for humans and wildlife in these corridors I suspect. Thanks again for mapping out your adventure.

  11. you definitely walked by my house there (actually the one pic was feet from it). I have to admit in 19 years of living there I never walked that far at once. It is a great walk, if the hum of the wires don’t drive you mad.

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