The Leslie Street Spit

Living in the city, it's hard to enjoy the wildlife without taking a trip to the country. But what most Torontonian's don't know is that there's a piece of wildlife right in our own backyard.

The Leslie Street Spit, is a man-made land extension from Lakeshore (and Leslie street) that almost meets the Toronto Islands. The peninsula was originally intended to be used as breakwater for the harbour. However, shipping vessels never ended up using this area for docking, so when the city grew in the 60's and 70's, the split was used as a dumping ground for excess supply of rubble and earth that was dug up for the creation of buildings and the subway system.

However, if you take a leisurely walk on the peninsula now, you would never imagine that it's used as a 'concrete dump' - the area is sprawling with wildlife. It's amazing to think that plants and trees can even grow in a place that's literally built on rocks, bricks, and rebar.

Living nearby, my husband would frequently run and bike along the 5km strip. However, this past Father's Day, we decided to make it a (urban) family event. After a quick pit-stop at Starbucks, we ventured out to take in this awesome oasis with the kids in tow.

While we didn't make it out too far (we were traveling with a toddler who hadn't napped yet, and a 4 month old), our stroll tingled our senses in every way possible. The sight of the lake between the wildlife plants and trees was a beautiful contrast against the bricks lined along the rocks by the water. We spotted a variety of birds along our walk, a bunny, and some other critters (but no snake sightings). We stopped at an overlook and had a picnic lunch before making our way back.

While we didn't quite make it too far out, I'm already excited about coming back here again. I would probably bring a bike or jogging stroller next time we come so we can actually make it out to the end of the peninsula. I'm sure the view of Toronto from there would be awesome!

If you're interested in checking it out, the Leslie Street Spit (officially the Outer Harbour East Headland), is only open to the public from 9:00 am. to 6:00 p.m. on weekends and statutory holidays in the Summer. For more information check out the website of the friends of the spit.

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