I look through my camera down into the Don River Valley. I’m standing on the north sidewalk of the Prince Edward Viaduct — more popularly known as the Bloor Viaduct — a bridge built between 1915 and 1918 to span the valley and connect Toronto’s east neighbourhoods to its downtown core. The traffic on the bridge is urban and frenetic; the valley floor, caught on my viewfinder fifty metres below, is natural and idyllic. I’m physically fixed in the city proper, but my mind is lost in the primal ravine, a lush green expanse with its own complex system of creeks and rivers extending for miles into the city in all directions. I’m standing in a spot I ought to know well: it’s less than a ten-minute walk from my home and on a thoroughfare I cross and re-cross at least twice a day. Travelling “up here” my movement is constrained, like a chess piece, by the urban grid. “Down there” the travel restrictions are fewer, and more mysterious: I can wander, amble, meander, and explore.

-Robert Burley

This project was commissioned by the City of Toronto.

An Enduring Wilderness: Toronto’s Natural Parklands
Published by ECW Press, 2017

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