April 07, 2024

East Don Trail Part 2 & The Meadoway

On March 16, I visited the southern half of the East Don Trail from the Forks of the Don to a dead end where a tunnel will be installed under the Richmond Hill GO line. Being curious to find out what the other side is like – as well as how it will connect with The Meadoway – I did a 56-kilometre ride yesterday to check the northern half of the East Don Trail, as well as newest segment of The Meadoway that opened last fall.

Northern Half of East Don Trail

The East Don Trail starts at the Bermondsey Transfer Station which was muddy towards the bridge site.

This trail ramp leads up to the east bridge landing.

This construction site photo gives an idea of where the bridge will be placed; that being between the east bridge landing on the left and the top level of the switchback structure on the right.

After crossing the railway tracks – which some others have already been doing – you can see an open slot at the top where the bridge will go. I was informed by a fellow cyclist that some VIA Rail trains still run through on weekends, so please keep that in mind if you risk going in the area.

A fence was placed across Bridge 5, but you can still pass through it.

The section between Bridges 5 and 4 is already paved.

A metal boardwalk is used to connect Bridges 4 and 3.

Just past Bridge 3 lies the other dead end.

From Bridge 3, you can see the informal path to the other side of the East Don Trail, as well as Sauriol Cliff.

A view of the switchback structure from the south.

Here is the path needed to get around the construction fencing.

The bridge segments are already near the construction site.

When I asked the TRCA’s East Don Trail team about the Metrolinx bridge and tunnel segments, I got a reply from them on April 2 saying, “the bridge is currently scheduled to be installed in the next 3 weeks pending receipt of right-of-way permits as well as weather conditions.” As for the tunnel work, they said the track closure to install the tunnel and relocate utilities is scheduled for Fall 2024; meaning Phase 1 of the East Don Trail will probably not open officially until 2025.

The Meadoway

On the way towards the newest addition to The Meadoway, I noticed some flooding northeast of the Brimley and Lawrence intersection.

The newest part of The Meadoway goes from Orton Park to Neilson Roads. There was construction fencing the last time I passed by there in July 2022.

A steep downhill near Ellesmere. Construction is expected to start on Ellesmere in 2026 on a complete street including bike lanes from Orton Park all the way to Kingston Road.

A slight switchback leading to the Highland Creek bridge.

The trail forks just before the bridge. Turning right will lead you to a trail (and bridge) leading to the Highland Creek Trail.

After crossing the bridge and short metal boardwalk, there is a serious number of switchbacks and hill climbs that await. If you’re looking to get some hill training in, this place would be a good candidate.

A look down of all those switchbacks.

Sadly, there is a “Trail Ends” marking at Neilson Road.

One unique feature about this part of The Meadoway is this roundabout which intersects with an existing foot path.

After going back down the switchbacks, I briefly took the trail leading towards Highland Creek.

Here is the Highland Creek bridge from the Highland Creek access trail.

At this bridge – where I could see another one – I opted to turn back.

There is another path headed west, but it was dirt which I had enough of from the East Don Trail.

Remaining Sections of The Meadoway

There were five remaining sections of The Meadoway that need to be completed. A construction notice was issued for the Military Trail to Morningside segment which stated construction is expected to be done by September 2024. As for the Bermondsey to Eglinton segment (pictured below) which will connect with the East Don Trail, I got this note from The Meadoway team on March 20.

“This portion of the Meadoway Trail between Eglinton Avenue East to Bermondsey Road. is currently in detailed design and planned for implementation starting in 2024, pending required approvals. Two at grade road crossings are required to complete a safe and connected trail system. The Bermondsey Rd signalized crossing was approved by Council in spring 2023 and designs for that crossing are part of the detailed design exercise underway. The Eglinton Avenue East crossing is currently in development and requires engagement with affected stakeholders to ensure a safe crossing of the existing Eglinton LRT.”

I then followed up about the three remaining sections and got the following feedback from The Meadoway team on March 28, as well as a note saying that the conversion and preparation of the hydro corridor from mown grass to meadow habitat is complete for the entire 16 km of The Meadoway.

  • Section 3 from Kennedy Road to Marcos Boulevard (pictured below) – TRCA will be issuing a Request for Tender in 2024 with implementation tentatively commencing in 2025.
  • Section 6 from Neilson Road to Military Trail (crossing the Ellesmere Ravine) – The future connection in this section requires planning for a crossing over the incised ravine within the hydro corridor. TRCA is waiting for funding opportunities to begin the planning phase for this section.
  • Section 6 from Morningside Avenue to Conlins Road (via Chartway Boulevard) – Initial discussions and data collection has started, though funding for planning and implementation have not yet been secured.

Next Steps

Since the Neilson to Military Trail and Morningside to Conlins sections are not yet funded, it would be worthwhile to e-mail Mayor Olivia Chow and your councillor to support funding the rest of The Meadoway. The Meadoway and the East Don Trail will become a key recreation corridor linking Scarborough with Downtown Toronto. There is also the need to complete the Finch Hydro Corridor which – along with The Meadoway and the Don River Trails – can form a loop.

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