Scarborough Bluffs

The Scarborough Bluffs are an escarpment, which is a steep slope or long cliff that occurs from faulting and resulting erosion and separates two relatively level areas of differing elevations. Yes, I googled that. So now you don’t have to anymore. You’re welcome.

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View from Bluffers Park of Scarborough Bluffs with Scarborough Bluffs Park on top. Confusing Escarpment naming right there!

Scarborough was named in 1793 by Elizabeth Simcoe, the wife of John Graves Simcoe, who was a person in Canada at some point in time. The cliffs, I’m sorry, escarpment, reminded her of the town Scarborough in North Yorkshire, England, so she decided to rename the place.

Elizabeth Simcoe

“I’d better give this place a cool name like ‘Partycliffs’, ‘Escarpmentland’ or ‘Blufftopia’.

Due to erosion it can be a pretty dangerous place, so if you visit please be safe and stay away from the edge. I’m only caring for your safety. And also don’t want the view to be spoiled by fences they put up because people can’t control themselves. WILL SOMEBODY PLEASE THINK ABOUT THE PICTURES.
No but seriously, be careful.

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Anyway, I visited Scarborough Bluffs Park and Bluffers Park on a relatively cold and windy saturday afternoon. I decided pretty late in the afternoon to go there (mainly because mother nature was all like “oh my god cloudy or sunny, or maybe even a dash of rain, I can’t decide!”) and so I didn’t have a whole lot of time to fully explore the area.

I first took a walk through SBP, from where you have a nice view over BP and Lake Ontario. The park itself was ok, I’m sure it’s prettier and nicer to be in during spring and/or summertime. Then I followed Brimley Road to Bluffers Park where I spent the rest of my time. A bit more to the East there’s also Cathedral Bluffs Park, which I will definitely check out next time I visit.

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Bluffers Park was actually pretty nice. It’s not very big but it seems to be a popular destination in summer and I can totally see why. It’s surrounded by a few small beaches and 1 big one. It has some nice spots to chill, pick nick, swim, build some watercastles, arrange the ducks from ugly to gorgeous or whatever you might do in a day at the beach. The biggest downside is that it is quite a hassle to get to by public transport. It’s a bit of walk from the closest bus stop and not a very safe one at that because there are no sidewalks. I faced the danger though, because I’m just so adventurous. And also I needed to pee.

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Does this not scream DANGERRRR! ?

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Cold & dark – time to go home!

7,5/10 – Small and not public transport friendly but pretty and decent toilets.
Check out the rest of my pictures here!

Humber Bay Park East

Humber Bay Park East is a waterfront park located in Etobicoke, west of downtown Toronto. It’s no High Park or anything in size but makes up for that in other ways. It has some very nice cycling/walking trails, well-placed pick-nick benches and most importantly provides amazing views of the Toronto city skyline.

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My first and favourite view of the city

I first visited the park the third day I was in Toronto. It was 4pm already but the weather was nice and I was keen to explore so I grabbed my camera and started walking. Having completely mis estimated the distance from where I lived at the time to the park I was glad to finally arrive (and angry that I didn’t bring anything to drink or eat along the way).

Initially I regretted the long walk there but after a little while of strolling through the park that definitely changed. I (literally) stumbled from one nice spot to the other, not knowing where to point my camera first.

I might have stumbled and almost fallen face first in this nice little pond

I might have stumbled and almost fallen face first in this nice little pond

Even though the park is relatively small it has a good variety of nice places to sit. There were some people but overall it was very quiet, although I can imagine that would change during summertime. After a while I went to the far east point of the park and found myself a good place to sit. As I sat down the sight of the sunset reflecting in the downtown high-rise windows immediately made me forget my earlier regrets. While watching the sun go down on Toronto (hehehe) all sorts of feelings came over me (hehehe).

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You don’t need to see the actual sun to enjoy a sunset thanks to modern architecture and science.

There was mostly doubt and fear (“Have I done the right thing? What if I hate it here?”) but also excitement and curiosity (“I’m in Canada! I wonder what poutine tastes like?”) And just plain happiness (“I’ve found food in my backpack!”). Let me tell you, if you are ever doubting your life choices and want to be all emotional sitting on a rock eating tasteless candy, Humber Bay Park East is the perfect place to do it at.

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I can see my house from here!

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Even without the skyline the view is pretty good

You can close to the park using public transport but I do recommend starting your walk a bit more to the east and just following the path by the water. No particular reason, it’s just a very nice walk.

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You can see the skyline from a very slightly different angle

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And sometimes people leave you little pieces of art

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Which are called cairns apparently

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Ermahgerd, cairns! (This joke’s for you, you know who you are. And if you don’t, you’re Jonathan.)

8/10 Slightly harder to get to than for example High Park but nice layout and amazing view.

More pictures here!

High Park

High Park originated as a piece of land that John George Howard (civil engineer and Toronto’s first professional architect) bought in 1836 to build a sheep farm on. He later donated it to the city of Toronto on several conditions including no serving of alcohol and that the City hold the park “for the free use, benefit and enjoyment of the Citizens of Toronto for ever and to be called and designated at all times thereafter High Park”.
Even though I am not officially a citizen of Toronto I will make good use of this kind donation and also try not to get drunk in the park, thanks John!

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This place is without a doubt one of my favourite places in Toronto. For me less than a 10-minute walk away (for others close to the High Park subway station) it is the perfect place to go out on a sunny day and just relax and enjoy all the park has to offer. Which is quite something! Nice forests with endless trails to walk or cycle, a mini-zoo with lama’s and yaks and other not very rare but still pretty cool animals, a huge dog-off-leash zone, a free outdoor pool which I suspect becomes an ice rink during winter, an amphitheatre, sports fields, a nice pond and lots of squirrels and photogenic swans and ducks.

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Nice swan posing

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Nice squirrel posing

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Nice forest posing

You can easily fill half a day with just strolling around and enjoying the view, looking at animals and talking to people, which is what I usually do. Well that or go to the dog-off-leash space, look for a black labrador, pretend it’s my dear Zazou and try to teach it Dutch words. (Apparently chasing random dogs yelling “ZIT, ZIT!” is not a good way to make friends at the park.)

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I have seen a lot of cool dogs at the park, but none of them as pretty as this lady right here.

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The park has trees, grass, leafs, the whole shebang!

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Score: 9/10 – Lovely big park, very pretty, lots to do but toilets are below par

To see the rest of my pictures, click here!

UPDATE:
Since I’m trying to up my film skills a bit I spent a day in High Park filming instead of taking pictures. (Well, I did both, not taking pictures when holding a camera is hard impossible.) Here is the result:

High Park Fall from Jasmijn_ on Vimeo.

And so it begins!

After step one (getting the Working Holiday Visa) step two is now also complete! I booked my ticket from Amsterdam – Toronto, I leave on Tuesday the 8th of october. (Yes, I have made this public so you can all organize a goodbye-party at Schiphol Airport. Yes, that is a hint. No, it’s not very subtle. I like pie.)

Several people have asked me why I chose Canada for this longtime adventure, in this post I’ll try to answer that question.

Its reputation: Canadians are nice. For someone who apologizes when somebody bumps into her (I was clearly in the way) and has a passion for holding doors open for people behind her I feel I would fit right in. I know I’m basing this on a stereotype, but stereotypes are stereotypes for a reason, right?

Canadian Vandalism
Why thank you, criminal!

Its nature:  I find Canada gorgeous! (Though keep in mind that I’m Belgian, so my geological beauty treshold is quite low.) From the prairies in Saskatchewan and Manitoba to the infinite amount of mountains and lakes in B.C., Newfoundland and everywhere else.

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You jelly, world?

The Canadian fauna is also very impressive. Canada is the home of the Arctic Fox, the Black Bear, the Elk, the American Beaver, and many more beautiful animals. The only wildlife I’ve seen here is our slightly autistic cat chasing an already crippled moth.

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Haha, cute!

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Haha, cuuute!

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Haha, cuuuute!

Its languages: It might sound not very adventure-y, but I wanted to go somewhere where they speak a language that I can speak as well. From my time spent in Nottingham I experienced that speaking another language for days/weeks/months on end is tiring, not matter how good you are at it (unless it’s your mother tongue of course.) It takes up more of your brainpower than you might think (and usually most of my brainpower goes to thinking about what to eat that day.) My stay starts in Toronto, part of the English-speaking part of Canada but I do hope to spend a good amount of time in Montreal and Quebec as well, pour pratiquer mon Français! Also, they seem to have some language issues and some of them want to be independent and whatnot, so I figure I’ll feel right at home!

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Can you feel the love?

Its genes: A picture is worth a thousand words:

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Imagine this covered in Maple syrup.

Sure, there are some downsides as well. Canada gets called boring a lot (probably by America) because nothing ever happens there. Their winters are comparable to white hells (except for the heat, of course.) And they apparently have the tendency to use both the metric and imperial system, just mix ’em up a little. (as if measuring isn’t hard enough as it is!) But I’m willing to face all that for all the goodness that is Canada (and the poutine. Especially the poutine.)

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How can anyone say nothing ever happens in Canada?

So there you go!