Don River, Toronto

From Academic Kids

This article is about the river in Toronto, Canada. For other rivers with the same name, see Don River.

The Don River is one of two rivers bounding the original settled area of Toronto along the shore of Lake Ontario, the other being the Humber River to the west. The Don is formed from two rivers, the East and West Branches, that meet about 7 km north of Lake Ontario while flowing southward into the lake. The area below the confluence is known as the lower Don, and the areas above as the upper Don. The Don is also joined at the confluence by a third major branch, Taylor Massey Creek.

The eastern arm of the rivers starts near the Oak Ridges Moraine just to the west of Yonge Street, flowing south-eastward through ravine forests in Richmond Hill, Thornhill, east of Willowdale and Don Mills. A second branch of the eastern Don, known as German Mills Creek, parallels the main eastern branch and joins it at Steeles Avenue, the northern boundary of Toronto.

The western half starts near the area of Maple, flowing south-west through the suburban industrial belt of Concord (Vaughan), a reservoir, and then through the York Mills and Leaside areas before joining the eastern half. It crosses Yonge Street at Hogg's Hollow. Taylor Creek runs almost due west from Scarborough.

Charles Sauriol Conservation Reserve is located near the forks of the Don River. It was at one time home of a Maple sugar shack and tapline, which was visited yearly by students from across East York. Charles Sauriol Conservation Reserve is a rarely used area of the river valley. Charles Sauriol was a historic protector of the Don.

The mouth of the Don was relocated some 500 m to the west by a land expansion of about 3 km² to make room for an industrial area. This also moved the confluence further from the lake, to 7 km from about 6 km before the expansion. Unlike the mouth of the Humber, which is located in a recreational area and is navigable, the mouth of the Don is located in a heavily industrialized area, and spanned by a number of low bridges which make navigation impassable. In late 2000, several plans were being drawn up to redevelop the area, including relocating the mouth closer to its original location, and developing a canal system around the area.

The Don had been heavily developed in the earlier portions of the 20th century, with several factories, two rail lines and then a freeway, the Don Valley Parkway, being built in the river valley. The last of the industrial plants, Domtar Polyresins, closed in the 1980s and has since been reused as the Toronto Police Force K-9 training site. The only remaining industrial use on urban portions of the river is the North Toronto Sewage Treatment plant, whose use is currently under review.

Much of Taylor Creek and the southern portion of the western branch are surrounded by parkland. In more recent years the retreat of the industrial plants and rail infrastructure has freed up room which is now being turned into bicycling trails, which now extend from the shore of Lake Ontario northward in several directions to provide some 30km of off-road paved trails. While Toronto is fairly flat in general, local cyclists have developed a number of technically challenging singletrack trails throughout the area, following the main trails.


  • Don River (lower Don)
    • Castle Frank Brook
    • Yellow Creek
    • Mud Creek
    • Cudmore Creek
  • Don River West Branch
    • Wilket Creek
    • Walmsley Creek
    • Burke Brook
  • Don River East Branch

See also

External links


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