Kelly’s Brook Trail

After the Council decision on sidewalk snow clearing to, as Emily Deming put it, “force whole segments of the population into isolation for months of the year” (or into life threatening situations when they venture out), we needed some good news so here it is. I took photos last summer for a post about the Kelly’s Brook Trail but then never had time to write it. Since it was announced last week that the trail will go ahead, this seems like a good time to do it. The photo above is of the short section of the actual brook that is above ground, near St. Pat’s Ball Park. Most of it is underground in culverts, roughly parallel to and just north of Empire Avenue, between Mundy Pond, where it begins, and Rennie’s River where they join near Portugal Cove Rd. The rusty colour is presumably from the culverts. I’ve always felt sorry for this neglected and ill-treated little brook. However, this post is about the trail so I’ll leave that topic for later.

The proposed trail–which mostly already exists but will be upgraded to a multi-use one–will run 4.9 km. from King’s Bridge Rd. to Columbus Dr. It’s a very significant first stage in developing a network of cycling trails around the city as it passes near several different neighbourhoods and workplaces. It’s also wonderful news for active transportation in general. It will make it possible and even enjoyable for people to commute safely by bike, wheelchair, or with a stroller. Running east-west, it’s almost flat with just a very slight incline as you head west, easy pedalling for cyclists in that direction and then you can practically coast all the way back. I think I said the same thing about the Waterford River Trail but that’s because, despite all the hype about how impossibly hilly our city is, it isn’t at all when you go east-west.

I started the trail at Portugal Cove Rd. This is one of the prettiest sections as it runs along the open part of the brook, through birch woods. However, it isn’t very easily accessed by bike as it has stairs at both ends of that section–which obviously makes it completely inaccessible by wheelchair. I should also mention that it isn’t yet designated as a cycling trail but I rode it anyway. There were very few people on it, probably because it isn’t the prettiest of trails and it’s also quite chopped up with some sections hard to find. However, it was fun to explore, it runs mostly through green spaces, and once it’s developed it will be a fantastic way to get across the city.

I took a lot of photos, thinking they’d help me map the route for this post (a couple of the photos are even of maps!) but I still can’t remember all the twists and turns well enough to give instructions. So here’s a set of pictures to give you an idea what you’ll see along the trail but I suggest you just explore it someday when you have lots of time and be prepared to get lost occasionally. It is part of the Grand Concourse so you can also find a map there. Just click on the map at this link and then click somewhere near Portugal Cove Rd. and Empire Ave. They call the route the Riverdale to Mundy Pond Link but it is essentially the Kelly’s Brook Trail.

Exit the first section at Carpasian Rd. Cross the road and enter near the Elk’s Club then through the valley to Bonaventure. The brook runs underground from here on.
Follow the trail past that white bubble tent thing on the other side of Bonaventure. Cross Newtown Rd. and enter the trail again. There’s actually a Kelly’s Brook sign on this bit. Also note the “candlesticks” marking the ill-fated Covid extra-space-for-social-distancing experiment of earlier in the summer. I’m not even sure if they were meant to be for pedestrians or cyclists, or both, but I do know they didn’t work. The new trail will be a million times better!
The trail passes countless playing fields and little wildflower meadows tucked in between residential areas.
Through little laneways and more playing fields then via Graves St. to the Farmer’s Market at Freshwater (note bike racks–they are popping up all over the place!)
And yet more playing fields on the other side!
I can’t even begin to give clear instructions for the part after you get past the last of the playing fields and cross Stamps Lane. You go through a series of parking lots and little laneways, cross at old Pennywell Rd. and Empire Ave, more of the same on the other side and end up at Mundy Pond if you’re lucky. The new trail will go to Columbus Dr. but this one connects Mundy Pond to the Waterford River Trail from here so that’s what I did. This is already a pretty long post though, so I’ll save that for another one. Have fun exploring!

2 thoughts on “Kelly’s Brook Trail”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s