Going down old old Pottery Road
From Moore to the Don River
The top end of Pottery Road is a small one-way stub of a road that runs north off the top of the Bayview Extension past the Loblaws to Moore Avenue. This is actually part of the "new old" Pottery Road, the only part still in use. It's the "new old" Pottery Road because originally, before Pottery Road came all the way up to Moore, it took a hard left at the CP track, climbing the Lake Iroquis embankment to meet Baview Avenue at its southern end.
From the corner of Bayview and Moore, go south but don't follow the Bayview Extension, take the residential street, called Bayview Heights, straight south a few blocks until just before it stops at the edge of the hill. On your left, looking east, is a nondescript little stretch of what can barely be discerned as a former road. This is the top of the "old old" Pottery Road.
On the right, the former Pottery Road begins its descent down the side of the hill. On the left is what looks like a big blue chair, in front of Bennington Heights School.
In fact, it is a big blue chair, some kind of sculpture. Note the chess boards in the rocks in the foreground. In the background, you can make out the tall buildings on Broadview Avenue across the Don Valley, including the new magnificent condo (just to the right of the chair) beside the Dairy Queen at Broadview and Mortimer, which coincidentally marks the southern end of Pottery Road, that end being still in use.
Partway down the hill, you can also catch glimpses of the homes on Nesbitt Drive, on the southern side of the CP tracks. The seven-storey Bayview Ghost apartment building would have dominated this outlook just to the left. These views will become obscured once the vegetation grows in for the summer.
In the summer, the former road becomes a tunnel through overgrowth that is barely passable.
At the bottom of the hill, you can see the CP tracks, and if the timing is right, which it is about once or twice an hour, this being a main line, you'll catch sight of a freight train.
Note the sewer grate in the foreground of the above picture. This is the tee box for the frisbee golf par-11 hole (yes, eleven) going to the north—but that's another story.
It is at this spot that the "new old" Pottery Road crossed the tracks on a level crossing. Here's a fabulous picture of the way it used to be: Pottery Road level crossing. Notice the hydro tower, which still stands today. The temporary tracks to the south of the main line were used while the Bayview Extension underpass was being constructed. The "new old" Pottery Road crossed the tracks and continued north. The "old old" Pottery Road took a hard left where the truck is in the picture, and went up the hill. Here's another picture of the old road going up the hill: Looking west up Old Pottery Road.
Continue walking north, along the course of the "new old" road, and then look back towards the tracks.
Looking back south to the CP tracks, note the hydro tower in the background. Compare that shot to this older one: The Bayview Ghost. Same hydro tower, with the same telephone poles beside the former level crossing. In the background, the Bayview Ghost, which was demolished in 1981.
Descend the stairs to the Bayview Extension, go under the tracks, and turn right on Nesbitt Drive. There's a small parkette on the corner, on the hill of land where the temporary tracks were. Standing here, in the middle of the former Pottery Road, look south across Nesbitt to True Davidson Drive.
Pottery Road went down the side of the hill on the right of True Davidson Drive, right about where the sidewalk on the right takes a slight angle, continuing on behind where that black snow fence is. True Davidson Drive curves off to the left and across a bridge into the exclusive Governor's Estate subdivision.
On the left, just about where that blue car is, are two pine trees. That's where we're headed next.
Here is the footpath which leads down into a small patch of forest. In the background you can just make out the bridge of the Bayview Extension which crosses an abandoned railway line, a spur line which runs from Leaside down into the Don Valley. This little patch of forest is part of the former course of Cudmore Creek, which has been buried for most of its length, from Mount Pleasant Cemetary, through Sandy Bruce Park at the top of Pottery Road at Moore Avenue, and along the Bayview Extension. Find your way through the forest to the south, down to the abandoned railway line, and go right (west).
The abandoned railway line passes under True Davidson Drive. This appears to be a popular hangout. Cudmore Creek emerges from the ground under the track here. The Bayview Ghost sat right at the top of the hill, where those new million-dollar homes are.
A few dozen metres west, just before the signal light on the right, you can just barely make out a small path that goes down into the ravine. This is where Pottery Road crossed the track, after coming down from Nesbitt Drive.
After a few steps, the Pottery Road roadway opens up and you can see more easily how it used to be a road that descended down the right side of the ravine. It is now used only by service vehicles to reach the signal light at the track; the track has been abandoned for about fifty years, but that red signal light has to stay on, 24-7, don't ask me why.
It's amazing how deep this ravine is. Governor's Estate homes at the top, Cudmore Creek at the bottom.
Follow Pottery Road down until it comes out at the Bayview Extension. Be smart, don't try to cross this busy stretch of road. Go down to the traffic lights and cross there. You can then go up Pottery Road, this portion still in daily use, to Broadview and Mortimer.
On this day, however, I was headed downtown, so I decided to follow the CN mainline along the Don River.
Here's a shot of the Don River as it slides gently along beneath the Don Valley Parkway, just south of the Pottery Road overpass. On the other side is Todmorden Mills, a famous historical site. The river channel here is actually man-made, redirected when the Parkway was built. More on this some other day.