Category Archives: Fitness

Fitness

The Eastern Section of the Martin Goodman Trail in Toronto

The eastern section of the Martin Goodman Trail in Toronto offers free running and biking fitness opportunities, along with a scenic view of Lake Ontario. Several other facilities are nestled near this biking trail. Join me on a quick tour on a Monday morning in the summer.

"A 2.5Km Section of Martin Goodman Trail in Toronto" image (c) by Mike DeHaan via gmap-pedometer
“A 2.5Km Section of Martin Goodman Trail in Toronto” image (c) by Mike DeHaan via gmap-pedometer

Finding the Eastern End of the Martin Goodman Trail

The Martin Goodman Trail’s eastern tip is at the south end of Fernwood Park Avenue in the eastern Beach neighbourhood of Toronto, off of Fir Avenue, and south of Queen Street East.

"Fernwood and Fir in the Beach neighbourhood in Toronto" image (c) by Mike DeHaan
“Fernwood and Fir in the Beach neighbourhood in Toronto” image (c) by Mike DeHaan

The Balmy Beach Club is just east of Fir and Fernwood, and south of Queen St. East, past the curve in the road shown in the above image.

Let’s turn right, instead, to join the Martin Goodman Trail at the south end of Fernwood.

"Looking south-east onto the Martin Goodman Trail from Fernwood" image (c) by Mike DeHaan
“Looking south-east onto the Martin Goodman Trail from Fernwood” image (c) by Mike DeHaan

Heading West along the Martin Goodman Trail in Toronto

Heading west along the Martin Goodman Trail from Fernwoood, we immediately see the boardwalk between the trail and Lake Ontario. While runners may use either the trail or the boardwalk, cyclists should stay on the paved trail.

If you turn left (east), you’d find the Balmy Beach Club’s south entrance on the Boardwalk. In the summer, some beach volleyball nets get a workout there. But that’s behind us as we travel west.

"Leuty Lifeguard Station and the Boardwalk in Toronto" image (c) by Mike DeHaan
“Leuty Lifeguard Station and the Boardwalk in Toronto” image (c) by Mike DeHaan

The above picture shows the Leuty Lifeguard Station on the beach, as well as a lifeguard’s chair. The flags indicate water quality and whether a lifeguard is on duty.

The boardwalk has benches, obviously, but let’s keep going on our fitness trek.

In fact, this section of the trail has about half a dozen fitness stations. Look for wooden beams where you can do pull-ups, inclined sit-ups, and other exercises. Sorry that I didn’t take photos!

"The Kew Beach Lawn Bowling Club in Toronto near the Martin Goodman Trail" image (c) by Mike DeHaan
“The Kew Beach Lawn Bowling Club in Toronto near the Martin Goodman Trail” image (c) by Mike DeHaan

Beyond that fence, the light green grass is part of the Kew Beach Lawn Bowling Club, just north of the Martin Goodman Trail. A couple decades ago, when I was a participant, the sport of fencing was the second-safest in Canada. The safest? Lawn bowling.

I didn’t take a picture, but Kew Gardens also hosts a small ice hockey rink (just west of the lawn bowling club).

"Tennis Courts at Kew Beach in Toronto north of the Martin Goodman Trail" image (c) by Mike DeHaan
“Tennis Courts at Kew Beach in Toronto north of the Martin Goodman Trail” image (c) by Mike DeHaan

Next we find the tennis courts, again north of the trail.

Note that there are any number of micro-trails that join the streets of the Beach neighbourhood to the Martin Goodman Trail. This photo also shows one of the decorative boulders (on the far right) and a functional garbage container. Earlier in my run I passed a garbage truck making its rounds, as well as a couple of other service vehicles. Toronto Parks and Recreation Department keeps this trail, and Toronto’s many parks, in fine form.

"The Donald D Summerville Olympic Pool near the Martin Goodman Trail" image (c) by Mike DeHaan
“The Donald D Summerville Olympic Pool near the Martin Goodman Trail” image (c) by Mike DeHaan

The Donald D Summerville Olympic Pool towers above (and just to the north of) the Martin Goodman Trail. It’s just south of the eastern end of Lake Shore Blvd E., where it curves north to become the foot of Woodbine Avenue. I have no idea why someone decided to build an elevated swimming pool, but it is highly regarded among those looking for a place to swim.

It’s worth noting that this whole stretch of the Martin Goodman Trail has sandy beaches. The many lifeguard chairs attest to its reputation as a “swimmer’s beach”; one of several in Toronto.

The upper left of the above photo shows another “bathing station”: a place to change your clothes. Beach volleyball is a big feature of this section of the Martin Goodman Trail, just west of that bathing station.

Just to the north of the bike path, and before reaching the swimming pool, is the first of several children’s playgrounds along this section of the trail.

"Meeting the Ashbridges Bay Park Road from the Martin Goodman Trail" image (c) by Mike DeHaan
“Meeting the Ashbridges Bay Park Road from the Martin Goodman Trail” image (c) by Mike DeHaan

We’ve gone past another children’s play area, and through a wider park area that hosts a lot of picnics on weekends.

The above photo shows the Martin Goodman Trail meeting the Ashbridges Bay Park Road, which I always call “the driveway south from Coxwell”. Turn left to find a parking lot, as well as a section of trails that the Beaches Running Room calls “the Peanut”. (That’s based on the aerial view of an elongated figure-8 biking trail). That area hosts Canada Day Fireworks in Toronto at Ashbridges Bay, an annual free summer Toronto event that I usually watch from nearby Woodbine Park.

However, we’re turning right (north) towards the intersection of Coxwell and Lake Shore Blvd East.

"The Martin Goodman Trail meets Lake Shore Blvd East at Coxwell" image (c) by Mike DeHaan
“The Martin Goodman Trail meets Lake Shore Blvd East at Coxwell” image (c) by Mike DeHaan

The Martin Goodman Trail continues left (west), south of Lake Shore Blvd East. I didn’t take a picture of Ashbridges Bay, to the left of the trail. Today the Boy Scouts facility was hosting some children in canoes (or something… I was busy running) in the bay.

Across Lake Shore Blvd, the above photo hints at the skateboard park on the north-west corner of this intersection. I run past there quite often; and it’s rare to see fewer than a dozen youngsters training or just enjoying the free facility.

Looking Back at the Ashbridges Bay Park

"Ashbridges Bay Park Road at Coxwell and Lake Shore Blvd East" image by Mike DeHaan
“Ashbridges Bay Park Road at Coxwell and Lake Shore Blvd East” image by Mike DeHaan

The above photo looks back, east, along Lake Shore Blvd East and across the intersection for Coxwell and the park road (to the right). Woodbine Park is to the left; it has become the home of many free annual Toronto events such as AfroFest and the Muhtadi International Drumming Festival.

Are You Going Further West along the Martin Goodman Trail?

If you head west along the Martin Goodman Trail from Coxwell, it turns south onto Leslie Street. You will recognize it as a construction zone for the new TTC streetcars, but it should become a really pleasant “linear park” at that corner.

The south end of Leslie has the gate to Tommy Thompson Park; but the Martin Goodman Trail turns west at that gate, following Unwin Avenue. You will eventually find Clarke Beach, where the trail turns north onto Cherry Street. And that’s all the foreshadowing for this article.

The local Running Room in the Beaches makes good use of the eastern-most section of the Martin Goodman Trail. It’s one of the flatter biking trails in Toronto, but that’s something that runners can really appreciate.

One word of caution: these 2.5 kilometres of parkland attract huge crowds on summer holiday weekends. It’s definitely not a fitness trail at those times, unless you’re training for slow-motion dodge-the-families-with-children.

Looking for More Fitness Trails in Toronto Canada?

I have recently begun to note fitness trails in Toronto, in addition to noting many of the annual Toronto events that I find interesting, free or frugal.

Disclaimer: DeHaan Services has no relationship to the organizer(s); I am not reimbursed for writing this article. (The site is monetized; buy something through an ad and I should earn a commission). However, DeHaan Services does write web site or advertising copy for clients. Our skills are demonstrated in online articles in Decoded Science, Decoded Pregnancy and other online sites. That’s why DeHaan Services highlights those online articles on this site.

Click the “Fitness” category at the bottom of the left-hand column for recent articles in this vein. Thanks!

Thanks for reading about the eastern section of the Martin Goodman Trail in Toronto.

Taylor Creek Park in Toronto for Fitness

On Simcoe Day, my wife and I went for a quiet walk at Taylor Creek Park in Toronto. It was well-used, but not crowded, with other hikers, dog walkers, cyclists and runners: a mix of fitness and outdoors enthusiasts, and perhaps a few who find it a safe route to bicycle for work or errands.

Since I’d spent many words recently describing the multi-purpose Martin Goodman Trail along Queen’s Quay, I thought I’d write about the Taylor Creek trail too.

"A 3.5Km Trail in Taylor Creek Park in Toronto" image (c) by Mike DeHaan via gmap-pedometer
“A 3.5Km Trail in Taylor Creek Park in Toronto” image (c) by Mike DeHaan via gmap-pedometer

About Taylor Creek Park in Toronto

The main trail in Taylor Creek Park extends about 3.5 kilometres (about 2 miles) from Victoria Park, west to the parking lot off Don Mills Road. You do have to cross Dawes Road, but the rest of the trail is a multi-use bicycle and walking trail.

There are several stairs or paved climbs out of the valley, with signs like the one in the picture below. The Parks and Recreation department of the City of Toronto has ensured you should not get lost… or at least there are signs to let you know where you are.

"A Sign in Taylor Creek Park near the O'Connor Bridge in Toronto" image (c) by Mike DeHaan
“A Sign in Taylor Creek Park near the O’Connor Bridge in Toronto” image (c) by Mike DeHaan

About the Taylor Creek Trail

The trail is pretty flat, but there are enough curves that cyclists should pay attention to the speed limit. It’s easy to find pedestrians, or youngsters learning to bike, who don’t stick close to the right-hand side of the trail.

The Taylor Creek trail is not a big challenge, unless you want to run or bike up out of the valley. The transition at Dawes Road is pretty forgiving, but the road itself climbs in either direction. As noted, some neighbourhood streets access the park by stairs rather than paved trails.

The park has two washroom facilities and other amenities. I forgot to test the drinking fountain just west of the Dawes Road parking lot. The one near the O’Connor bridge does not work; if memory serves, the city shut off any drinking fountains that are too far away from the water mains, due to health concerns about stagnant water in the pipes.

There’s lots of grass, as well as marshy ground, throughout the park. The trail actually follows Massey Creek from the east, until it merges with Taylor Creek.

One great feature of Taylor Creek Park is that you can be out of sight of any buildings at all, thanks to tall trees right beside the path and, also, up the slopes of the valley.

"Trees Border the Taylor Creek Trail in Toronto" image (c) by Mike DeHaan
“Trees Border the Taylor Creek Trail in Toronto” image (c) by Mike DeHaan

 Beyond Taylor Creek Park

The parking lot at the west end of Taylor Creek connects to a trail for the Lower Donlands. I’ve run that trail from Lake Shore Blvd East, near the mouth of the Don River, and up to Sunnybrook Park. So the Taylor Creek Park trail is a gateway to the Don Valley. And if you go south to the trail just north of Lake Shore, you meet the Martin Goodman trail with options for downtown or to the eastern Beaches.

Looking for More Fitness Options in Toronto Canada?

My blog sometimes notes opportunities to add fitness to your life in Toronto, in addition to annual Toronto events that I find interesting, free or frugal.

For a double-handful of walking or hiking opportunities, download a copy of “BEST HIKES AND WALKS IN TORONTO: 10 Hiking and Walking Trails in Parks and Outdoors” from Amazon.ca to your Kindle reader (or your computer, after you’ve added the Kindle application).

"A Runner on the Taylor Creek Trail in Toronto" image (c) by Mike DeHaan
“A Runner on the Taylor Creek Trail in Toronto” image (c) by Mike DeHaan

Disclaimer: DeHaan Services has no relationship to the organizer(s); I am not reimbursed for writing this article. (The site is monetized; buy something through an ad and I should earn a commission). However, DeHaan Services does write web site or advertising copy for clients. Our skills are demonstrated in online articles in Decoded Science, Decoded Pregnancy and other online sites. That’s why DeHaan Services highlights those online articles on this site.

Click the “Fitnes” category at the bottom of the left-hand column for recent articles in this category. Thanks!

Thanks for reading about Taylor Creek Park in Toronto.

One View of the 2015 Toronto Challenge 5K Charity Run

Here is one view of the 2015 Toronto Challenge charity run and walk – my own. I’ve run in this annual Toronto event in the early summer every year since 2001. Still, each year has it’s own twist.

(Updated June 14, 2015): added the “After Running the 2015 Toronto Challenge 5Km” section below.

Mike DeHaan finishing the 2007 Toronto Challenge, image by Toronto Challenge organizers
Mike DeHaan finishing the 2007 Toronto Challenge, image by Toronto Challenge organizers

The Basics of the Toronto Challenge

Briefly, the Toronto Challenge is a charity event in support of many assisted-living facilities in Toronto. The people who benefit may be the elderly and frail, or those with developmental challenges.

Participants may choose to raise funds for any one of the organizations, so you can be very motivated for a specific not-for-profit agency.

The Toronto Challenge event includes a timed 5 kilometre race, a 5Km walk, and a 1Km walk. (To Americans, those distances are 3 miles, 3 miles, and 1,100 yards respectively).

One Surprise Before the 2015 Toronto Challenge

My surprise came when I registered through the online web site last Sunday. It happened to be the final hours for online registration, so I was quite lucky to catch that break. So I learned that online registration closes a week before the run.

In most previous years, I’d signed up in person at a Running Room store here in Toronto. I haven’t been in the store recently, so this was my first online sign-up for the Toronto Challenge. (Not my first sign-up through the Running Room web site, however).

Oh yes… one year I registered in person at Metro Hall, just an hour before the race. That was fine, except that one must pre-register to get a T-shirt. They are good, long-lasting cotton T-shirts; definitely worth getting. I vowed never to miss pre-registration again.

"Setting the stage for the 2015 Toronto Challenge 5Km Charity Run" image (c) by Mike DeHaan
“Setting the stage for the 2015 Toronto Challenge 5Km Charity Run” image (c) by Mike DeHaan

After Running the 2015 Toronto Challenge 5Km

My first really great moment was guiding one of the race volunteers to Metro Hall; it was her first time at the venue, and didn’t know which way to go from Queen and University to get to King and Simcoe. Later she was handing out water at the half-way mark on the 5Km route.

This was the first Toronto Challenge morning that was cool and a bit rainy. Usually it’s been really warm and sunny by 9:30am.

I beat the half-hour mark for the run; slower than usual, but consistent with how my training runs have gone this spring.

Gatorade, pizza, a banana and a juice box fueled me for the 7Km run home, at a slower recovery pace. I haven’t been so glad to stop for red lights for years!

Once again, I was inspired and humbled to see that many of the participants also are the beneficiaries of this Toronto Challenge charity event. Seniors with limited energy or mobility, as well as developmentally challenged folk of different ages, take part in fund-raising and in the walk events (5Km and 1Km). When I headed home about an hour after the start of the race, I crossed the path of a few 1Km walkers – still going under their own power! – as well as a number of the 5Km walkers.

"Mike DeHaan after the 2015 Toronto Challenge Charity Run" image (c) by Mike DeHaan
“Mike DeHaan after the 2015 Toronto Challenge Charity Run” image (c) by Mike DeHaan

A Previous Article on the Toronto Challenge

I’ve written about the Toronto Challenge before, of course. I was surprised that the most recent article was “A Novel Route for the 2012 Toronto Challenge“. That has most of the details: where to find Metro Hall, and the route so you could watch.

Well, I did update that blog post in 2013 and 2014; but it seems time for a new entry.

The Toronto Challenge still uses the 2012 route, mainly because Queen’s Quay is still under construction, although it is nearly ready for the PanAm and ParaPan games in a few weeks. My guess is that we would return to the previous route next year.

Looking for More Annual Events or a Holiday in Toronto Canada?

My blog tracks many of the annual Toronto events that I find interesting, free or frugal.

The Toronto Challenge costs $20 ($22.50 online) to enter, but it supports a family of worthy causes in Toronto. With some free refreshments and a T-shirt, it’s pretty good value for a Sunday morning.

Disclaimer: DeHaan Services has no relationship to the organizer(s); I am not reimbursed for writing this article. However, DeHaan Services does write web site or advertising copy for clients. Our skills are demonstrated in online articles in Decoded Science, Decoded Pregnancy and other online sites. That’s why DeHaan Services highlights those online articles on this site.

Click the “Toronto Events” category at the bottom of the left-hand column for recent articles in this category. Thanks!

Thanks for reading about the 2015 Toronto Challenge charity event.