Leslie Street Spit – Out of the Open Water

I stumbled upon Leslie Street Spit during a random adventure in late 1990s. Back then, it was still mostly a pile of rubble. Since then, the pile has turned into a great wildlife refuge, and now this is one of my favourite lakefront destinations.  With it’s paved roads and off-road trails, alcoves and meadows, the spit, or Tommy Thompson Park, offers a lot of surprising finds and gifts.

Leslie Spit, Fall 2011

This park, like so many other places in our city, has an incidental history. The spit started as accumulation of construction landfill, with the goal of serving as a foundation for Toronto Port expansion. As Toronto began its long and painful post-industrial hangover in the 1970s, the port expansion appeared no longer necessary. Long delays in construction have given opportunity for natural life to take hold and, effectively, claim the area. The park out of a half-finished industrial expansion, for once Nature took over.

Leslie Spit Nature Trail, December 2015

Throughout the late 1970s and 1980s the industrial foundation started its conversion into one of the best and most comprehensive natural parks in the city. Today, Tommy Thompson Park offers something for everyone, from athletes to artists. A place for a full mental and physical reconditioning, all in the middle of the city. The spit is best discovered on a bicycle, a leisurely ride of about ten kilometers. Many cyclists make a mistake of making it a capture-the-flag exercise loop, but the best thing to do is explore, stop, observe and accept the offering of numerous opportunities to take this amazing place in.

Toronto, a view from the spit, Spring 2012

Sorting out through some of the older photographs from the spit, I start discovering it all anew. Remembering many rides with camera, and many more without. Early mornings and late afternoons at this beautiful park, city skyline bathed in warm side-light, sun setting over park’s alcoves, an endless stream of beautiful sights from this abandoned port expansion. The park is not only the place to experience the lake and the nature, but also one of the best vantage points onto the Toronto Island and city’s ever-evolving skyline. Toronto Region Conservation Authority (TRCA) has done a great job of creating numerous lookouts that provide an unforgettable series of views onto the city, and out into the expanse of the lake. The park offers endless opportunities to enjoy the nature, relax and find that much needed escape, an opportunity for a much needed change of scenery.

The Spit Sunset, Fall 2011


This park is unique and amazing place. Like so much of our waterfront, no end to photographic opportunities. Past photographs are strong motivation, reminder of the wind-swept peninsula jutting out into the lake, offering endless surprises and unforgettable sights.

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