Boyd Conservation Park-Woodbridge

The 1km loop trail has existed in Woodbridge for decades, but was improved several years ago and officially dedicated in May 2011 to recognize the talented Canadian author and journalist and his family for supporting the Friends of Boyd Conservation Park, a local group that successfully prevented Pine Valley Drive from passing through the Boyd Conservation Park.

According to Grant Moravek, the assistant supervisor at Boyd Conservation Park at Woodbridge, the hard-packed dirt trail winds through a forested area of the park that has been deemed environmentally sensitive.

The park has unique plant life – some special lilies, a spring that never freezes (and a salamander species that’s endangered),” reports Moravek, who has worked in the park for more than a decade. Besides cherry trees, quite a few very old elms, birch trees, walnut trees and a few threatened butternut trees can also be found here, “but they can be difficult to find”, he said.

The trail, which mostly consists of hard-packed terrain and a boardwalk through a wet area, is especially suitable for beginners, Moravek said. It seems that the frequent floods here washed away a stone bridge that used to be along the seepage area, he explained.

In 1954, Dr. Edmund Boyd sold the property to the local conservation agency after he had built the bridge. Dr. Boyd was an ardent conservationist.

On its way back to the park, the Berton trail connects with the William Granger Greenway, a wide, crushed-gravel trail popular with hikers and cyclists that runs alongside Humber River branches and extends as far as Bindertwine Park in Kleinburg.

On the Granger trail, you can hike for a longer distance. Another option is to go south and enter Boyd Conservation Park.

Woodbridge has a trail named after its former chairman in honour of William Granger Greenway. There is a connection between the trail and the grounds of the McMichael Canadian Art Collection. It will sometimes cross the East Humber River.

A few steep inclines are present along the route, but the route is mostly flat. Boyd Conservation Park is mostly an open meadow in the section that passes through it. There is a good view of the East Humber River, which is a feeder stream for the main Humber River.

“Our fall salmon runs are excellent and our spring rainbow trout runs are better,” Moravek said. Sometimes you can see them jumping over bridges or running through culverts, depending on the water levels. Besides the speckled trout here, there are also some wild speckled trout.

A redside dace also lives in the river, which is a species of an endangered minnow with a distinctive red stripe covering its body. It is possible to see them leaping from the water to catch insects. This route which is a part of Woodbridge is also notable for being a part of the historic Toronto Carrying Place Trail, which connected Lake Ontario to Lake Simcoe and the northern Great Lakes.

Artifacts are thus occasionally discovered along the trail, Moravek said. In the Boyd Conservation Park, a quarry left to regenerate naturally lies at the bottom of the Granger.

Atop the ridge is housing units from Islington Woods, a subdivision fronting the park. A couple of wetlands can be seen below, out of sight from the trail. They are home to a variety of animal and plant species.