EDITOR: This continues Shawn Micallef’s posts following the Green Line hydro corridor through midtown Toronto, location of the Green Line Ideas Competition. Check out greenlinetoronto.ca to find out how you can participate.
Section 14 – Shaw to Christie
After crossing Shaw Street the generally unencumbered Green Line walk comes to an end as a wrought iron fence separates the sidewalk from a community housing parking lot. However, the dirt pathway worn in the grass leading to the fence is evidence it has not stopped much traffic, and the fence can be climbed over relatively easily if one is able-bodied, though cyclists and others are better off heading around the block to continue on.
Once again the Green Line is calm, with very few cars on Melita Crescent that separates Frankel Lambert Park and the town homes on the north side. Residents here have no front yards, as houses are very urban and built right to the sidewalk, but the park functions as a communal yard for everyone. The park has a playground and basketball court, and while not in the best of condition is most interesting because of odd concrete structures that seem like the ruins of a modern building. They are quite possibly the remains of a building that was taken down for the hydro lines as there is a cement wall (now covered in murals) running along part of the southern section of the park along the railway tracks, and a low foundation leading perpendicular from the wall at the east end.
Towards Christie Street, by Christie Gardens (a seniors housing and long-term care facility) and the Fred Dowling Co-op, there are allotment gardens cared for by the Friends of Frankel Lambert Park. A small plaque attached to a pole with a weathervane on top by the garden dedicates it to the memory of L. Terrell Gardner, “humanist, family man, mathematician, peace activist, choral singer, cyclist. Born 22 September 1926, Cleveland, Ohio; died 22 December 2010″. If you look closely all across the city, little memorials, official or not, like this can be found.
South, across the tracks, another of Dupont’s great industrial buildings rises high in the sky. It’s mid-rise height is of note because there was a Model T test track on the roof when this building opened in 1915 as Ford showroom and car assembly factory. Today various offices and the Faema Café, where Green Line-goers can find some European civilization, are housed within.
Section 15 – Castleview Whychwood Towers and TTC Hillcrest Complex
The most “off road” portion of the Green Line begins across Christie Street. Off road in the sense that our mercurial path is now fully dirt and more of a construction site than not, with bulldozed piles of earth and tread tracks filled with water. Proximity to the tracks here is close, with no fence and parked boxcars could be accessed, though it seems likely they could move at any time. The parking lot for the Castleview Wychwood Towers long term care facility extends along for a bit of the walk, then the back of a building boxes in the Green Line until the dirt trail leads to a chain-link fence that wraps around the Toronto Transit Commission’s Hillcrest complex, a works yard for Streetcars and busses and the control-centre for the entire transportation network.
Interesting here is the new spur line that runs off the CPR railway and into the Hillcrest Yard, allowing for delivery of new streetcars and a rare TTC-to-large-gauge-railway connection. The TTC parking lot cannot be accessed without climbing a high fence, so access to Bathurst is either gained by walking back and heading the Dupont or (longer) Davenport routes though there is enough room to creatively figure out a way through this non-work area.
Section 16 – Tarragon Village
This brief stretch of the Green Line becomes considerably greener as crossing Bathurst means the leafy Annex neighbourhood begins (though some would say the neighbourhood ends at the railway). Bridgmen Avenue runs along parking lots lined with scrubby vegetation under the hydro lines that fill with cars for either the nearby Tarragon Theatre or with George Brown college students. The north side of the street is a mix of old industrial buildings — one of which has housed the Tarragon Theatre since 1971 — and homes. The theatre is the northern location of three of Toronto’s independent small theatres that line Bathurst (the other two being Theatre Passe Muraille and the Factory Theatre, both to the south).