Thousands of years before the arrival of Europeans in Canada, trade goods were moved great distances over established trade routes. One of these routes was the Toronto Carrying Place. This ancient trail was a major link between the aboriginal peoples where copper, tobacco, shells, local dried fish, fish nets, furs and other goods were transported for trade over this trail.
The Toronto Carrying Place began at the marshes of the mouth of Humber River to the Oak Ridges Moraine and onto the Holland river and Lake Simcoe. The French learned of the trail in 1615 and used it for the next 150 years. Remnants of the trail exist today in portions of Riverside Drive, Humbercrest Boulevard, Weston Road and Pine Valley Drive. The Humber River was named by Lieutenant-Governor Simcoe.
Shortly after moving into this area, a dog was added to our family. Tillie and I, soon found our way, quite by accident into the King’s Mill park. Over the years, I have seen this park go through several stages, from a well manicured park, to a park that was totally natural and now it is a bit of both. This has brought an abundance of birds, plantlife and wildlife to the area.
Every spring, we are amazed by the snapping turtles venturing out of the Humber River, to travel across the land and lay their eggs in what seems to be the most unsuitable locations. Once, Tillie and I came across a snapping turtle on a ridge that overlooks the river. I didn’t know what it was doing, so I picked up the back end, saw the eggs in the big hole and gently and quickly placed the back end back down on the ground. I was very lucky that I didn’t get bitten, as I have since learned, they will try and bite you!
Seeing the deer grazing in the park is always inspiring. A friend of mine captured photos of a mother and her new born deer outside of a glass window of the Old Mill apartments. The newborn deer was prancing about, trying out its new legs. Foxes were a frequent site, but the coyotes have moved in and fox sitings are rare these days.
There is the “back woods” that feels like you are walking somewhere in the countryside. I believe that we are very fortunate to have this piece of the country within the city, where we can enjoy the changing seasons and all that nature has to offer.
** Thank you to Peter Depaolis for the photos of Kingsmill Park, Humber River ice dams and newborn deer with mother
** Historical information from the Humber River Heritage Committee Brochure.