High Park is a natural oasis in the hustle and bustle of Toronto. Almost 400 acres, it’s the largest park entirely within the city proper. The Grenadier Pond on the western boundary of the park spans 35 acres and a key resource for the teeming variety of wildlife.
Its urban setting reminds me of Central Park in NYC which is twice as large. Unlike the entirely manmade Central Park, however, High Park is the remaining sandy soil of retreated glaciers with a long natural history dating back to 12,800 years ago.
Here’s a lookout from Grenadier Pond:
About three weeks ago I visited High Park for the first time. It was early spring. Leaves had just started budding on trees and paths were still wet from winter, but I was able to capture some of the vibes:
Can you ID them all? I’m most curious to know what kind of tree buds are those on the upper right corner above. They look velvety and utterly exquisite.
As a birder, of course I was on the lookout for avian sightings, especially those I couldn’t find here at my own small Pond. But it was the trees that stood out for me that day. First the budding willows by the south end of Grenadier Pond:
I also came by a grove of cherry trees that were yet to bloom. And as I walked to the Nature Centre in the north side, I found this glorious oak tree. Still bare without leaves, its form was magnificent… I’ve read that the predominant oak in the savannah of High Park is the black oak. I think this is one of them. Not sure if it would look better with fully bloomed foliage. Because, right now, it looks magical:
Here’s an image from the webpage The Oaks of High Park, the illustration taken from the book Who Goes to the Park by Warab´é Aska, 1984:
I can imagine this spreading oak being a character in an animated movie just from this picture… and I can see how versatile it can be.