Glen Stewart Ravine is an oasis on the east side of Toronto
Glen Stewart Ravine is one of those places that’s so picturesque, you'll be utterly confused as to why you've never visited it before now.
Imagine all the nature locales of literary yore, like Narnia or the Shire: that’s what I’m reminded of during my leisurely walk through this 11-hectare stretch.
Located just south of Kingston Road in the Beaches, this elevated boardwalk of a path is secluded and breathtakingly lush in the summer.
Walled in on both sides by steep hills, the path through this ravine is bordered by residences, with Kingston Road to the north, the properties of Glen Manor Drive to the west and Balsam Road to the east.
If arriving by TTC: a bus along Kingston Road will drop you off at either Glen Manor Drive stop, or the Malvern stop if you’re coming from the east.
By car, it’s best to embark on this journey by parking on a neighbourhood street along a more southern entry point off Glen Manor Drive and walk north. The babbling Ames Creek basically marks the beginning and end of the ravine’s most sightly sections.
It's perfect for runners who come to the ravines to utilize the two sets of towering staircases, but Glen Stewart wasn't always a safe trail to traverse.
A massive restoration saw hundreds of trees, shrubs, herbs and grasses planted in 2016. Glen Stewart’s rare red oak tree forest has also seen some restoration, with more red oaks planted to foster further growth.
The looming forest now looks like a boreal paradise, with greenery surrounding you as you walk toward the first set of steel stairs that leads up to Balsam Avenue. Formerly a set of wooden stairs that were replaced after many years of deterioration.
There are a total of 114 steps here, making this flight a total leg burner.
After you've finished this set of stairs you'll hit some flat land that will eventually take you out to Balsam's residences, where the houses are great for sight-seeing in themselves.
If you skip the Balsam exit and continue along the boardwalk you’ll come across the rounded lookout extension with two benches and a view of the ravine’s sloping, grassy walls.
You’ll begin to notice points along that path that will allow you to walk closer to the creek to better explore the wildlife; it’s quite likely that you’ll see a number of ducks and squirrels on your walk.
Glen Stewart Ravine is also home to rare witch hazel shrubs and maple trees.
After just a 15 minute walk, you'll reach the end of the path and a fork in the road that leads to Beech Avenue to the right and the bustling Kingston Road to the left. Continue to Beech for a more leisurely stroll or charge up the wooden stairs for an intense finish to your walk.
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