Riding the Leslie Spit

Living in Toronto can make you crave a bit of nature sometimes.  Lucky for us, the Leslie Spit is just down the road. If you’re interested in going for a ride on a beautiful peninsula that cuts through marshes, bird habitat and juts out into Lake Ontario then this trail is for you.  You can access the trail from Unwin and Leslie St.  You’ll see a sign for Tommy Thompson Park at the entrance.  The road is mostly paved with a few gravel portions and a footbridge that can slow you down but also make the ride more interesting. This is a great place for kids to explore nature and get comfortable on their bikes.

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You can see the Toronto Harbour, the boat docks, the lake and the city skyline on your ride. You’ll also see wildflowers and wildlife, possibly even a snake. The Friends of the Spit have more details on the flora and fauna that can be found there. The end of the trail loops around a little lighthouse. My favorite part of the loop is the piles of bricks, cinder blocks, re-bar, driftwood and tiles scattered about. It is a reminder of Toronto’s past and future. Good shoes are definitely recommended if you like to rummage around.

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On the way back from the lighthouse you can take a fork on the right that goes South around the marsh and back to the trail entrance. The ride is lovely and gets you closer to the lake.

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If there was one thing I could change about the trail it would be the sharp speed bumps they use to control cyclists speed. You have to almost completely stop your bike (unless you have great shocks) to go over them. I’m sure they could come up with a softer and safer solution – rumble strips or more graduated speed bumps would probably work much better.

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The spit is only open on weekends and holidays because it is used as a clean fill dumping ground. The spit is actually a man-made peninsula, started in the 1950s,  built on the fill that comes from construction holes dug around the City of Toronto. If you have some time go check it out.

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