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Save the Don River

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Published on Sep 28, 2008

http://web.295.ca/~mbmusic/

I grew up less than a mile from the forks of the Don River. I spent many warm summer days swinging from a "Tarzan" rope and splashing into the refreshing water near Flemington Park Golf Club. Im sure the water wasnt pristine, even back then in the seventies, but I didnt know better. Some old fire hose tied to a sturdy tree limb overhanging the river was all that was needed for a great time. Many school trips found me in the valley learning to identify trees, orienteering and other activities. A favorite was our yearly visit in Spring to the Maple Sugar bush that was located at the south end of what is now Charles Sauriol Conservation Reserve. The day began with a short bus ride from Selwyn Public School to the cookhouse. Part of the adventure included crossing the river on a small footbridge with no handrailing. This bridge remains in my memory because one of my classmates, Bina, wore her mothers shoes to school on the day of our Sugar Bush trip, fell off the footbridge and was rescued from the river by our teacher. Bina was unhurt, just a little embarrassed. The trip always ended with a sampling of the Maple Sugar. Yum. The valley was also a second home during most of my teenaged years. A large group of friends would play a game of team tag we called "Crest and the Cavity Creeps", with the "Crest" team hunting the "Cavity Creeps" through the valley. (who says teens dont have a sense of humour) We also went on many extensive hikes that we referred to as "safaris", along the river. During my later teenage years the valley was a refuge from the eyes and ears of our parents, neighbours and law enforcement officials, when we wished to indulge in the barley and hop experience. As a young adult I continued to cherish the valley and began to understand the decline it suffered through neglect and indifference. It wasnt until the 90s, when I began to notice deer tracks and see hawks, turtles and foxes re-populating the valley that I realized how much the ecosystem had diminished during my childhood. As a maturing adult I now appreciate the important work individuals like Charles Sauriol and many volunteers and nature enthusiasts have done for the valley. I continue to take full advantage of the Don Valley daily, through cycling and blading the trails of Taylor Creek, Serena Gundy, Edwards Gardens and Sunnybrooke parks. Hiking in Charles Sauriol Conservation Reserve is a treat not many people take advantage of. I love the Don Valley and hope it will be revitalized and protected for kids and adults to enjoy forever.

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