A long row of willows just north and south of Rondale Boulevard west of Brookview Drive in Downsview marks what used to be the headwaters of this once 12-kilometre stream. What's left of Yellow, which used to meet the Don at the Prince Edward viaduct, comes to the surface in a ravine of beech, white pine and oaks in Mount Pleasant Cemetery known as the Vale of Avoca. The latter takes its name from the valley of the Avoca River in County Wicklow, Ireland, which is referred to in a poem by Thomas Moore as the place "in whose bosom the bright waters meet."
Burke once flowed on a level plain in the old city of
North York before rushing into the Don just north of Eglinton. One of its tributaries used to run through Sherwood Park, whose steep slopes covered in rare old growth boast one of the finest stands of native trees (130 species in all) anywhere in Toronto. There, springs can still be seen.
Castle Frank Brook
Castle Frank's Mashquoteh tributary, which takes its name from the native word meaning "the meadow where the deer come to feed," once flowed at the intersection of Avenue Road and Heath, where the estate of Upper Canada political figure William Baldwin once towered over its banks.
Little evidence remains of this tiny 3-kilometre creek between Eglinton and and the Don. It's almost completely buried, except for a section in a small ravine beside the Bayview Extension south of the CPR tracks near a cliff that once marked the shoreline of mighty Lake Iroquois.
Its Broadway tributary flowed right through the former town of North Toronto and passed the Snyder farmhouse at 744 Duplex. Walmsley's former Leaside tributary, tree-lined streets today, takes us through industrial lands on Commercial Road and the site of the former Leaside airfield, notable for being the terminus in 1918 of the first airmail flight in Canada.
Once made up of seven tributaries, Mud Creek dropped sharply, some 84 metres, from its headwaters in Downsview and into the Don. Under industrial lands, suburbs, offices and apartment buildings, a cemetery and several ravines, Mud Creek comes up for air in the lower part of Moore Park Ravine, and can also be traced through a channel between buildings at the Don Valley Brick Works, where it emerges from a culvert before flowing into the Don.
The lower reaches of Taddle Creek once flowed through the old town of York and the now-restored Distillery District, where the operations of several breweries were once sustained by its waters. That was before it became an open sewer in the late 1800s. Philosopher's Walk retains Taddle Creek's natural landscape, but the only one of its tributaries that still flows aboveground is Wychwood Creek in the toney Wychwood Park heritage district north of Davenport. In 1884, the last vestige of Taddle Creek was channelled into a sewer line and buried.
Small boats used to be able to moor at the mouth of this creek near the Old Fort York and float as far north as Bloor. The creek, which ran north through Trinity-Bellwoods Park, was spanned by several bridges, but pollution caused by settlement led to its being buried by the mid-192os. What was left of the valley was filled with soil excavated from construction of the Bloor subway line in the 1960s.
The stream rose where farms first gave way to development, but only parts of its slopes, once crowded with towering silver and Norway maples, are still visible. Petersfield, home of Peter Russell, the former Upper Canada administrator after whom the creek is named, stood near its banks. An item in the Toronto Leader dates the burial of Russell Creek to 1876.
Six small streams that once flowed into Toronto Bay all coursed through the early city. Only a few flowed with water all year round. Like other creeks in Toronto, these were buried to accommodate rapid development, but for a time a pump, believed to exist today inside the walls of the Market Building, was installed to draw water for horses.
Source: The Toronto Green Community, lostrivers.ca