Philosopher’s Walk – A Hidden Downtown Retreat on Toronto’s Lost Creek

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2020 - The Alexandra Gates at the north end of Philosopher's Walk between the Royal Ontario Museum and The Royal Conservatory of Music, looking south
2020 – The Alexandra Gates at the north end of Philosopher’s Walk between the Royal Ontario Museum and The Royal Conservatory of Music, looking south

Philosopher’s Walk is located downtown on the St. George Campus of the University of Toronto. The picturesque, hilly footpath runs north-south from Bloor St W to Hoskin Ave. It’s bound by the Royal Ontario Museum, the University of Toronto’s Edward Johnson Building and Faculty of Law, Trinity College and The Royal Conservatory of Music.

A Gathering Place for Indigenous Peoples

Before Toronto was settled, the land was filled with forests, marshes and waterways. It remains the traditional territories of Indigenous Nations, which include the Huron-Wendat, Haudenosaunee Confederacy and the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation. The area provided an abundance of vital food for the Indigenous peoples. That included wild rice, roots, beans, squash, corn and berries from the land, along with trout and salmon from the rivers. One of those waterways was Taddle Creek.

The History of the Once Noble Taddle Creek

1880 - McCaul's Pond fed by Taddle Creek
1880 – McCaul’s Pond fed by Taddle Creek (University of Toronto Archives, 2009-55-1MS)

The 6 km river began at what we know today as the Wychwood Park neighbourhood. It bisected present-day Toronto, winding its way to eventually drain into Lake Ontario at The Esplanade and Parliament Square Park – where the shoreline once was.

In the 1860s, the portion of Taddle Creek that flowed south through the University of Toronto grounds was dammed to create McCaul’s Pond. It was a popular spot for students to fish, skate and socialize. Each fall, floundering freshmen were tossed into its waters during initiations.

Unfortunately, the creek was used to dump industrial and residential waste. Through the development of Toronto, much of the river had been pushed into man-made caverns and sewers, diverting into the depths of Lake Ontario.

While McCaul’s Pond was a pastoral place, damming the creek to create the pond also made it a place where pollution was collected. Not only was it a public health hazard, but there was also a very strong odour. In 1884, this section of the creek that swept through the University’s grounds was one of the last pieces to be covered.

The Creation of Philosopher’s Walk

Once buried, the gentle hills created by Taddle Creek and its ravine became Philosopher’s Walk. For more than a century, University students, professors, locals, and visitors have strolled through the scenic hollow for quiet contemplation.

The Alexandra Gates

1901- The Alexandra Gates in their original location on Queen's Park, just south of Bloor St W - created by the Imperial Order of the Daughters of the Empire to commemorate the visit of the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall and York
1901- The Alexandra Gates in their original location on Queen’s Park, just south of Bloor St W – created by the Imperial Order of the Daughters of the Empire to commemorate the visit of the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall and York (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1231, Item 180)

The northern entrance on Bloor St W is called The Alexandra Gates. Located just west of the Royal Ontario Museum, the gates were built in 1901. They were initially positioned at the northern entrance of Queen’s Park, just south of Bloor St W.

Also known as the Queen Alexandra Gateway, they were created by the Imperial Order of the Daughters of the Empire, a women’s charitable organization, to commemorate a British royalty visit of the then Duke and Duchess of Cornwall and York. The gate is named after Alexandra, the reigning Queen at that time. The architect partnership of Chadwick & Beckett designed the structure.  In 1906, the association formally gave the gateway to the City. It was moved twice to make way for road widening and the subway, and in 1960, they were moved to their current location.

In 2009, the Alexandra Gates’ majestic stone pillars, ornate wrought ironwork and serpent-headed lamps were fully restored.

The Bennett Gates

2020 - The Bennett Gates on Hoskin Ave, at the south end of Philosopher's Walk
2020 – The Bennett Gates on Hoskin Ave, at the south end of Philosopher’s Walk

The southern entrance on Hoskin Ave is called the Bennett Gates. They’re located between Queens Park Cres W and Devonshire Place. Named after Avie Bennett, they were built in 2006 to commemorate the commitment and donations he made to the University. A Torontonian, Mr Bennett was a philanthropist, businessman and publisher.

Did You Know?

  • The name Taddle Creek is thought to be formed by mistake from the family name Tattle. In the 1840s, the Tattle family homestead was located near St Clair Ave and Bathurst St. The waterway flowed through their farm and was the approximate source of Taddle Creek.
  • McCaul’s Pond was named after The Reverend John McCaul, the second president of the University of Toronto.
  • City planning documents called Philosopher’s Walk “a relic ravine topography and unique linear park.”
  • In 1995, the University of Toronto completed the extension southward to Hoskin Ave during a restoration of the walkway.
  • Midway through the footpath is a 20 to 30-seat amphitheatre made from Wiarton limestone. Built in 2010, it has been specially designed to be an acoustically energetic setting for casual lectures, live performances and other learning experiences.
  • Philosopher’s Walk is 375 m or 1,230 ft in length. It’s a nice spot to have some lunch and enjoy nature.
  • Even though the Taddle has been long banished below Toronto, it has been known to spring up from time to time. A few notable occasions include at the Hart House Theatre (1930), the cellar of the University’s library stacks (1948) and when they were building Metropolitan Toronto Police Headquarters at College and Bay Sts (1985).
  • The last remains of Taddle Creek that are above ground can be seen in the pond in the Wychwood Park area, north of Davenport Rd, between Bathurst and Christie Sts.

Philosopher’s Walk Photos

2023 – Looking southeast towards the northern entrance of Philosopher's Walk on Bloor St W, located just west of the Royal Ontario Museum
2023 – Looking southeast towards the northern entrance of Philosopher’s Walk on Bloor St W, located just west of the Royal Ontario Museum
1901- The Alexandra Gates in their original location on Queen's Park, just south of Bloor St W - created by the Imperial Order of the Daughters of the Empire to commemorate the visit of the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall and York
1901- The Alexandra Gates in their original location on Queen’s Park, just south of Bloor St W – created by the Imperial Order of the Daughters of the Empire to commemorate the visit of the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall and York (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1231, Item 180)
2020 - The Alexandra Gates at the north end of Philosopher's Walk between the Royal Ontario Museum and The Royal Conservatory of Music, looking south
2020 – The Alexandra Gates at the north end of Philosopher’s Walk between the Royal Ontario Museum and The Royal Conservatory of Music, looking south
2023 - The plaque reads:

Philosopher's Walk

"Celebrated in poetry, song and paintings, the picturesque Taddle Creek ravine is a popular place for contemplative strolls and quiet reflection by University of Toronto students and professors, visitors to the City and Toronto citizens alike. The site's character and its sense of place are intrinsically linked with Taddle Creek. However, for more than a century, the open lawns and mature oak and beech tree canopy are what has characterized Philospher's Walk. More recently, new plantings have been introduced to complement the informality of the walkway and to recreate the naturalistic landscape design of the 19th century. As the City intensifies and building density increases, green space becomes more important to our community's health and well-being.

The University of Toronto is pleased to recognize TD Bank Financial Group for its demonstrated interest in environmental sustainability and education. Their support has contributed to the revitalization of Philopspher's Walk, bringing to life its natural and cultural history and place in the public imagination."
2023 – The plaque reads:

Philosopher’s Walk

“Celebrated in poetry, song and paintings, the picturesque Taddle Creek ravine is a popular place for contemplative strolls and quiet reflection by University of Toronto students and professors, visitors to the City and Toronto citizens alike. The site’s character and its sense of place are intrinsically linked with Taddle Creek. However, for more than a century, the open lawns and mature oak and beech tree canopy are what has characterized Philospher’s Walk. More recently, new plantings have been introduced to complement the informality of the walkway and to recreate the naturalistic landscape design of the 19th century. As the City intensifies and building density increases, green space becomes more important to our community’s health and well-being.

The University of Toronto is pleased to recognize TD Bank Financial Group for its demonstrated interest in environmental sustainability and education. Their support has contributed to the revitalization of Philopspher’s Walk, bringing to life its natural and cultural history and place in the public imagination.”
2020 – Looking north from Philosopher's Walk towards Bloor St W, you can notice the Alexandra Gates
2020 – Looking north from Philosopher’s Walk towards Bloor St W, you can notice the Alexandra Gates
2020 - The former Taddle Creek created the gentle hills of Philosopher's Walk
2020 – The former Taddle Creek created the gentle hills of Philosopher’s Walk
2020 – Looking south towards Philosopher's Walk, with the Royal Ontario Museum visible on the left and the Royal Conservatory of Music on the right
2020 – Looking south towards Philosopher’s Walk, with the Royal Ontario Museum visible on the left and the Royal Conservatory of Music on the right
2021 – Looking south in Philosopher's Walk with University of Toronto Varsity Arena on the right
2021 – Looking south in Philosopher’s Walk with University of Toronto Varsity Arena on the right
2023 – The Bennett Gates are the southern entrance of Philosopher's Walk from Hoskin Ave, located between Queens Park Cres W and Devonshire Place. They were built in 2006 to commemorate Avie Bennett, a philanthropist, businessperson, and publisher from Toronto who made generous donations to the University
2023 – The Bennett Gates are the southern entrance of Philosopher’s Walk from Hoskin Ave, located between Queens Park Cres W and Devonshire Place. They were built in 2006 to commemorate Avie Bennett, a philanthropist, businessperson, and publisher from Toronto who made generous donations to the University
2021 - The Bennett Gates at the south end of Philosopher's Walk, looking north
2021 – The Bennett Gates at the south end of Philosopher’s Walk, looking north
2023 – The plaque at the southern entrance of Philosopher's Walk on Hoskin Ave reads:

"This historic gateway is named to honour the enduring commitment and contributions made by Avie Bennett to the University of Toronto." 

June 2006
2023 – The plaque at the southern entrance of Philosopher’s Walk on Hoskin Ave reads:

“This historic gateway is named to honour the enduring commitment and contributions made by Avie Bennett to the University of Toronto.”

June 2006
2020 - The Bennett Gates on Hoskin Ave, at the south end of Philosopher's Walk
2020 – The Bennett Gates on Hoskin Ave, at the south end of Philosopher’s Walk
2022 – Looking northwest towards the Bennett Gates entrance to Philosopher's Walk, with Trinity College visible in the background
2022 – Looking northwest towards the Bennett Gates entrance to Philosopher’s Walk, with Trinity College visible in the background
1868 - Taddle ravine and McCaul's Pond with University College in the background, looking southwest
1868 – Taddle ravine and McCaul’s Pond with University College in the background, looking southwest (Toronto Public Library r-3163)
1876 - Taddle Creek and McCaul's Pond with University College in the background, looking southwest
1876 – Taddle Creek and McCaul’s Pond with University College in the background, looking southwest (1876 watercolour by Lucius O’Brien – University of Toronto Archives, 2003-19-1MS)
1884 - Goads Map showing the location of Taddle Creek, McCaul's Pond and present-day Philosopher's Walk
1884 – Goads Map showing the location of Taddle Creek, McCaul’s Pond and present-day Philosopher’s Walk (Toronto Public Library)
2022 – The plaque at Philosopher's reads:  

Taddle Creek 'lost river'    

This naturalistic ravine park setting know as Philosopher's Walk was once host to Taddle Creek, which over time has become 'lost' to Toronto's citizens. Taddle Creek flowed south for approximately 6 km from its source area on the edge of the old Glacial Lake Iroquois shoreline near St. Clair Avenue where it joined the Don River as it entered Toronto harbour near the Distillery District. Water quality was maintained by natural vegetation covering the watershed and aquatic organisms in the stream course. Taddle Creek provided habitat for fish and wildlife and a gathering place for Toronto's early inhabitants, notable the Ojibway. 

As a result of the damming of McCaul's Pond to the south, impeding the natural flow of Taddle Creek, and contamination that polluted the river and brought about the risk of typhus and other disease, the creek was buried south of College Street by the 1850s and north of Bloor Street by the 1870s. The old town of York had grown and the surrounding neighbourhoods had intensified, making an underground sanitation and sewage system a priority. The part of Taddle Creek remaining at the surface on University lands was diverted to this subterranean system and buried by 1884. The topography of this ravine remains as a tangible reminder of Taddle Creek, with the dips and valleys defining the original river banks and the walkway itself following much the same path as the 'lost river.' 

View of Taddle Creek ravine from an original watercolour by Anne Langton. Dated 1884. 
From the collections of the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library, University of Toronto.
2022 – The plaque at Philosopher’s reads:

Taddle Creek ‘lost river’

This naturalistic ravine park setting know as Philosopher’s Walk was once host to Taddle Creek, which over time has become ‘lost’ to Toronto’s citizens. Taddle Creek flowed south for approximately 6 km from its source area on the edge of the old Glacial Lake Iroquois shoreline near St. Clair Avenue where it joined the Don River as it entered Toronto harbour near the Distillery District. Water quality was maintained by natural vegetation covering the watershed and aquatic organisms in the stream course. Taddle Creek provided habitat for fish and wildlife and a gathering place for Toronto’s early inhabitants, notable the Ojibway.

As a result of the damming of McCaul’s Pond to the south, impeding the natural flow of Taddle Creek, and contamination that polluted the river and brought about the risk of typhus and other disease, the creek was buried south of College Street by the 1850s and north of Bloor Street by the 1870s. The old town of York had grown and the surrounding neighbourhoods had intensified, making an underground sanitation and sewage system a priority. The part of Taddle Creek remaining at the surface on University lands was diverted to this subterranean system and buried by 1884. The topography of this ravine remains as a tangible reminder of Taddle Creek, with the dips and valleys defining the original river banks and the walkway itself following much the same path as the ‘lost river.’

View of Taddle Creek ravine from an original watercolour by Anne Langton. Dated 1884.
From the collections of the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library, University of Toronto.
1930 - The Alexandra Gates and Royal Ontario Museum, looking southwest from Bloor St W and Queens Park
1930 – The Alexandra Gates and Royal Ontario Museum, looking southwest from Bloor St W and Queens Park (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1244, Item 1140)
2020 - The wrought ironwork of the serpent-headed lamps on The Alexandra Gates, at the north end of Philosopher's Walk
2020 – The wrought ironwork of the serpent-headed lamps on The Alexandra Gates, at the north end of Philosopher’s Walk
2023 - The plaque reads:

Queen Alexandra Gateway

"Since 1962, the historic Queen Alexandra Gateway has served as a formal entrance to Philosopher's Walk, a meandering ravine which cuts through the northeastern grounds of the University of Toronto. Built to commemorate the 1901 visit of the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall and York (later crowned King George V and Queen Mary), the gateway initially stood at the southeast corner of Bloor Street and Queen's Park. It was later removed to make way for the construction of the subway and the widening of Queen's Park.

The Queen Alexandra Gateway - with its elaborate stone pillars, serpent-headed lamps and elegant ironwork - was fully refurbished in 2009, thanks to the generous support of TD Bank Financial Group. The restoration was part of a broader initiative to reassert Philosopher's Walk as a vital green space for the enjoyment of the community and to complement revitalization efforts at the Royal Conservatory of Music and the Royal Ontario Museum."
2023 – The plaque reads:

Queen Alexandra Gateway

“Since 1962, the historic Queen Alexandra Gateway has served as a formal entrance to Philosopher’s Walk, a meandering ravine which cuts through the northeastern grounds of the University of Toronto. Built to commemorate the 1901 visit of the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall and York (later crowned King George V and Queen Mary), the gateway initially stood at the southeast corner of Bloor Street and Queen’s Park. It was later removed to make way for the construction of the subway and the widening of Queen’s Park.

The Queen Alexandra Gateway – with its elaborate stone pillars, serpent-headed lamps and elegant ironwork – was fully refurbished in 2009, thanks to the generous support of TD Bank Financial Group. The restoration was part of a broader initiative to reassert Philosopher’s Walk as a vital green space for the enjoyment of the community and to complement revitalization efforts at the Royal Conservatory of Music and the Royal Ontario Museum.”
2020 - Commemoration plaque on the Alexandra Gates at Philosopher's Walk
2020 – Commemoration plaque on the Alexandra Gates at Philosopher’s Walk
2020 - The Alexandra Gates at the north end of Philosopher's Walk, on the west side of the Royal Ontario Museum
2020 – The Alexandra Gates at the north end of Philosopher’s Walk, on the west side of the Royal Ontario Museum
1912 - Firefighters at Bloor St W and Queen's Park, looking southeast towards the east pillar of The Alexandra Gates in its original location, and the Department of Household Science Building
1912 – Firefighters at Bloor St W and Queen’s Park, looking southeast towards the east pillar of The Alexandra Gates in its original location, and the Department of Household Science Building (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1244, Item 1382)
1920 - Queen's Park at Bloor St W, looking southeast towards the west pillar of The Alexandra Gates in its original location, and the Department of Household Science Building
1920 – Queen’s Park at Bloor St W, looking southeast towards the west pillar of The Alexandra Gates in its original location, and the Department of Household Science Building (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1244, Item 7163)
2022 - The plaque reads: 

Queen Alexandra Gateway 

"This stone and wrought iron structure was a gift to the Imperial Order Daughters of the Empire to commemorate the visit, on October 10 and 11, 1901, of their Royal Highnesses, the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall and York.  

The gateway, designed by Chadwick and Beckett, architects, originally stood on Bloor Street at the northern entrance to Queen's Park. It had to be moved twice to accommodate transportation improvements and was finally located here in 1962. The wrought iron lamps were restored in 1990 as a special project by the staff of the Faculties and Services Department of the University of Toronto.  

The University of Toronto fully restored the gateway and the southward extension of Philosopher's Walk extending southward in 1995. A rededication ceremony was held on October 14, 1995."
2022 – The plaque reads:

Queen Alexandra Gateway

“This stone and wrought iron structure was a gift to the Imperial Order Daughters of the Empire to commemorate the visit, on October 10 and 11, 1901, of their Royal Highnesses, the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall and York.

The gateway, designed by Chadwick and Beckett, architects, originally stood on Bloor Street at the northern entrance to Queen’s Park. It had to be moved twice to accommodate transportation improvements and was finally located here in 1962. The wrought iron lamps were restored in 1990 as a special project by the staff of the Faculties and Services Department of the University of Toronto.

The University of Toronto fully restored the gateway and the southward extension of Philosopher’s Walk extending southward in 1995. A rededication ceremony was held on October 14, 1995.”
1932 - The Alexandra Gates in their original location on Queen's Park, on the south side of Bloor St W - the Church of the Redeemer is on the northeast corner
1932 – The Alexandra Gates in their original location on Queen’s Park, on the south side of Bloor St W – the Church of the Redeemer is on the northeast corner (City of Toronto Archives, Series 372, Sub Series 1, Item 1087)
2021 - The former location of The Alexandra Gates at Queen's Park and Bloor St W - the Church of the Redeemer is on the northeast corner
2021 – The former location of The Alexandra Gates at Queen’s Park and Bloor St W – the Church of the Redeemer is on the northeast corner
1993 - The Alexandra Gates at the north end of Philosopher's Walk, looking southeast to the Royal Ontario Museum
1993 – The Alexandra Gates at the north end of Philosopher’s Walk, looking southeast to the Royal Ontario Museum (City of Toronto Archives, Series 1465, File 179, ID 90)
2021 - The Alexandra Gates at the north end of Philosopher's Walk on Bloor St W, looking southwest towards The Royal Conservatory of Music
2021 – The Alexandra Gates at the north end of Philosopher’s Walk on Bloor St W, looking southwest towards The Royal Conservatory of Music
2021 - The north end of Philosopher's Walk at The Alexandra Gates entrance on Bloor St W, looking southwest towards The Royal Conservatory of Music
2021 – The north end of Philosopher’s Walk at The Alexandra Gates entrance on Bloor St W, looking southwest towards The Royal Conservatory of Music
2020 - The Amphiteatre at Philosopher's Walk
2020 – The Amphiteatre at Philosopher’s Walk
2022 - The plaque reads: 

Philosopher's Walk Amphitheatre
 
“Well before European settlers arrived, the natural ravine now known as Philosopher's Walk was a likely gathering place for the Anishinaabe people (Mississauga Ojibway). During the spring, the stream that once ran through this site would have been teeming with wildlife and native fishermen would have lined the banks with gill nets and fish weirs to partake of this bounty. For them, the stream would have been a sacred site - a place of powerful and audible spirits.

Philosopher's Walk continues to be a special meeting place to this day. The amphitheatre you see here rests at the point where a number of paths intersect and is a natural gathering place for university students, school groups and pedestrians from all walks of life. Built from Wiarton limestone, the amphitheatre is designed to be an acoustically vibrant venue for informal lectures, learning experiences outside the classroom, and live performances. When not in use, it serves as a quiet oasis for contemplation in the heart of a bustling city.

The University of Toronto is grateful to the TD Bank Financial Group for supporting the creation of the amphitheatre and helping evoke the ravine's history as an important gathering place. The site will serve the University community and the many admirers of Philosopher's Walk for generations to come.”
2022 – The plaque reads:

Philosopher’s Walk Amphitheatre
“Well before European settlers arrived, the natural ravine now known as Philosopher’s Walk was a likely gathering place for the Anishinaabe people (Mississauga Ojibway). During the spring, the stream that once ran through this site would have been teeming with wildlife and native fishermen would have lined the banks with gill nets and fish weirs to partake of this bounty. For them, the stream would have been a sacred site – a place of powerful and audible spirits.

Philosopher’s Walk continues to be a special meeting place to this day. The amphitheatre you see here rests at the point where a number of paths intersect and is a natural gathering place for university students, school groups and pedestrians from all walks of life. Built from Wiarton limestone, the amphitheatre is designed to be an acoustically vibrant venue for informal lectures, learning experiences outside the classroom, and live performances. When not in use, it serves as a quiet oasis for contemplation in the heart of a bustling city.

The University of Toronto is grateful to the TD Bank Financial Group for supporting the creation of the amphitheatre and helping evoke the ravine’s history as an important gathering place. The site will serve the University community and the many admirers of Philosopher’s Walk for generations to come.”
2023 - The amphitheatre at Philosopher's Walk is situated at the point where several paths converge, making it a natural hub for university students, school groups, and pedestrians to gather
2023 – The amphitheatre at Philosopher’s Walk is situated at the point where several paths converge, making it a natural hub for university students, school groups, and pedestrians to gather
Dec 2022 - The plaque in Philosopher's Walk reads:

"These fourteen trees are with sorrow planted in memory and in honour of fourteen sisters slain because of their gender in Montreal on December 6, 1989. May commitment to the eradication of sexism and violence against women be likewise planted in the hearts and minds of you who stand here now and of all who come after. It is not enough to look back in pain. We must create a new future."

This memorial created by “Women Won’t Forget” December 6, 1990
Dec 2022 – The plaque in Philosopher’s Walk reads:

“These fourteen trees are with sorrow planted in memory and in honour of fourteen sisters slain because of their gender in Montreal on December 6, 1989. May commitment to the eradication of sexism and violence against women be likewise planted in the hearts and minds of you who stand here now and of all who come after. It is not enough to look back in pain. We must create a new future.”

This memorial created by “Women Won’t Forget” December 6, 1990
Dec 2022 - The plaque in Philosopher's Walk reads:

“These fourteen trees are with sorrow planted in memory and in honour of fourteen sisters slain because of their gender in Montreal on December 6, 1989. May commitment to the eradication of sexism and violence against women be likewise planted in the hearts and minds of you who stand here now and of all who come after. It is not enough to look back in pain. We must create a new future.”

This memorial created by “Women Won’t Forget” December 6, 1990
Dec 2022 – The plaque in Philosopher’s Walk reads:

“These fourteen trees are with sorrow planted in memory and in honour of fourteen sisters slain because of their gender in Montreal on December 6, 1989. May commitment to the eradication of sexism and violence against women be likewise planted in the hearts and minds of you who stand here now and of all who come after. It is not enough to look back in pain. We must create a new future.”

This memorial created by “Women Won’t Forget” December 6, 1990
1880 - McCaul's Pond fed by Taddle Creek
1880 – McCaul’s Pond fed by Taddle Creek (University of Toronto Archives, 2009-55-1MS)
2023 - The heritage plaque reads: 

Taddle Creek

“Prior to colonization and urban development altering the landscape, the land Toronto now occupies was teeming with waterways that flowed through marshes and forests of pine and oak trees. Taddle Creek ran for six kilometres across land that remains the traditional territory of Indigenous Nations including the Wendat and Haudenosaunee and is part of the Treaty 13 lands and territory of the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation. Small rivers like Taddle Creek are known as ziibiinsan in Anishinaabemowin, the language spoken by the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation. Davenport Road, located north of here, follows the route of an Indigenous trail between the Don and Humber Rivers that connected to a wider travel network. The rivers of this area played a vital role in the lives of Indigenous peoples as springtime gathering places. Families would fish with gill nets, spears, and weirs for salmon and trout. Wild rice and berries near waterways provided abundant food and wildlife. 

As Toronto expanded around it, the southern section of Taddle Creek supported some of the city’s earliest farms and industries. One of the first industries to use the creek was the city’s first brewery, which Robert Henderson opened around 1800. The creek flowed roughly south through the University of Toronto grounds, where it was dammed in the 1860s to create McCaul’s Pond. Students boated, fished, skated, and socialized there. As the city grew, industrial and residential waste was dumped in the creek and it became a public health hazard. Taddle Creek was buried in sections and directed into the sewer system, which moved the pollution problem to Lake Ontario. By the mid-1880s, Taddle Creek was almost completely buried except in the Wychwood Park area. Today, traces of the creek remain visible in the University of Toronto’s Philosopher’s Walk ravine. Many depressions in the land and deviations in the street grid are subtle clues to Taddle Creek’s former presence.” 

Heritage Toronto 2020
2023 – The heritage plaque reads:

Taddle Creek

“Prior to colonization and urban development altering the landscape, the land Toronto now occupies was teeming with waterways that flowed through marshes and forests of pine and oak trees. Taddle Creek ran for six kilometres across land that remains the traditional territory of Indigenous Nations, including the Wendat and Haudenosaunee and is part of the Treaty 13 lands and territory of the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation. Small rivers like Taddle Creek are known as ziibiinsan in Anishinaabemowin, the language spoken by the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation. Davenport Road, located north of here, follows the route of an Indigenous trail between the Don and Humber Rivers that connected to a wider travel network. The rivers of this area played a vital role in the lives of Indigenous peoples as springtime gathering places. Families would fish with gill nets, spears, and weirs for salmon and trout. Wild rice and berries near waterways provided abundant food and wildlife.

As Toronto expanded around it, the southern section of Taddle Creek supported some of the city’s earliest farms and industries. One of the first industries to use the creek was the city’s first brewery, which Robert Henderson opened around 1800. The creek flowed roughly south through the University of Toronto grounds, where it was dammed in the 1860s to create McCaul’s Pond. Students boated, fished, skated, and socialized there. As the city grew, industrial and residential waste was dumped in the creek and it became a public health hazard. Taddle Creek was buried in sections and directed into the sewer system, which moved the pollution problem to Lake Ontario. By the mid-1880s, Taddle Creek was almost completely buried except in the Wychwood Park area. Today, traces of the creek remain visible in the University of Toronto’s Philosopher’s Walk ravine. Many depressions in the land and deviations in the street grid are subtle clues to Taddle Creek’s former presence.”

Heritage Toronto 2020
Located on Queens Park just south of Bloor St W on the east side
SOURCE
  • The Globe Newspaper Archives: Oct 11, 1901, pg 2
  • The Globe and Mail Newspaper Archives: Sep 3, 1930, pg 14
  • The Globe and Mail Newspaper Archives: Oct 29, 1948, pg 12
  • Toronto Star Newspaper Archives: Nov 7, 1985, page A6
  • The Globe and Mail Newspaper Archives: Dec 13, 2003, pg 125
  • Heritage Toronto plaque
  • Plaques placed by the University of Toronto along Philosopher’s Walk
  • Photos: Denise Marie for TorontoJourney416
  • Vintage Photos: City of Toronto Archives, Toronto Public Library & University of Toronto Archives
  • Vintage Map: Atlas of the City of Toronto 1884 by Chas E Goad from the Toronto Public Library

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