strange staircase Toronto

This is the strangest staircase in Toronto

Hidden in the brush of a busy intersection in Leaside is a set of stairs unlike any other in Toronto. 

Almost completely concealed from view, the entrance to this small urban wonder sits tucked away on Redway Road just before it swerves to meet Millwood: a busy intersection which belies the silent secret that hides just to its south. 

redway road staircase torontoA five-minute walking distance from the Loblaws parking lot, the Redway Road staircase may be familiar to those who've passed by it on a jog or bike ride through Crothers Woods

redway road staircase torontoFew people, however, have any reason to actually use this old, pale blue set of wooden stairs that seemingly leads to nowhere.

redway road staircase torontoIt runs completely straight almost all the way down, ending at the gated North Toronto Sewage Treatment Plant which was built to serve the Leaside area in 1929. 

The stairs were designed as an escape route for employees of the plant in case of emergencies or floods, which is likely, considering the whole area is nestled in the flood plain that is Don Valley. 

redway road staircase torontoToday, however, it's unlikely that pedestrians prefer this awkward entry point to Crothers over the more commuter-friendly entrance via the Loblaws parking lot. 

The wooden planks of the stairs are old and worn, and the splintery railings are badly in need of a paint job. 

redway road staircase torontoEverything from its faded, pastel-like colour to the structure of its support beams feels like a throwback to a different time, but the stairs are still in fairly good condition.  

redway road staircase torontoNumbering at just under two hundred steps, there are dozens of platforms that let you take a breather, with a seated bench situated halfway – though the descent is undoubtedly much easier than the walk back up. 

redway road staircase torontoYou'll hear the occasional whizzing of mountain bikers as they zoom around the multi-leveled trails of Crothers, giving you the impression of deer dashing through the forest. 

You'll find the staircase intersects with a bike trail or two before flattening out into a boardwalk.

redway road staircase torontoLeading directly to a gated entrance to the sewage treatment plant, you can either head back up to where you came from or take the opportunity to explore the wondrous beauty of Crothers Woods some more. 

redway road staircase toronto

Lead photo by

Tanya Mok. With files from Derek Flack.


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