High Park Awaits Springs Arrival

Spring is definitely in the air in HighPark despite the overnight snow and freezing rain. In fact, the last 6 weeks of Winter have been marked by constant Winter Weather Advisories including blistering cold winds. The only consolation is that Toronto has not gotten the double whammy of tons of snow as well as bitter cold that has battered New England and the Maritimes.

The temperature is so inviting a walk in  High Park takes in some familiar sights in winter white garb:

A cross country skier laments that the ski-track is ice coated and that her skiing days are numbered – “you can tell Spring is in the Air. The days are just a bit warmer than forecast and the biting winds are at bay – at least for today”. And Jane Doe the dapper dog
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and her walking companion agree whole heartedly – “Spring is overdue”.

So having been advised, this photographer sets out to capture some of the magic of a High Park Winter given only slightly more than an hour of outing time left:

It is always a pleasure to see familiar paths and walks in strange-again black and white garb. By golly, our cross country skier’s bain,  ice coating on the snow, is thick in spots and makes for tough slogging especially in the deeper snow drifts. But the most alarming thing is to see the number of trees that are either already felled or in need of culling:

Talking to a park wood cutter, I am told that the number of trees being culled is just slightly up but not as bad as in London or near Windsor where Beech Bark disease is doing damage for Beech trees  like the Dutch Elm disease did for the gloriously regal  American Elm. ” We are lucky and so far have been spared the Oak Wilt which is felling these hardwoods badly in the American Midwest.”  But I note that there are some huge oak relics scattered throughout the park. “We try to leave the trees to Natures natural course. Making exceptions to keep paths open and  clear away  fire hazards.”

I must admit these old oak and beech hulks have  their own Winter beauty marks.

Just before I have to leave  I discover a Spring-is-coming surprise:
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While hearing the cannonades from the nearby High Park Hockey Rink, I am delighted to see one of the tennis courts cleared of snow and a quartet of tennis buffs playing surprisingly good matches for so early in the season. It is another  harbinger – and such were the prospects of Springs Arrival  in High Park.

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