Shoreline Ice at Tommy Thompson Park
On our one and only outing to Tommy Thompson Park this past winter, Bob and I felt like kids let out of school for the summer. It was a pleasantly warm, sunny day…typical March weather with a persistent wind out of the north that threatened to chill us to the bone if it weren’t for the strong rays of the sun beating down on our backs. Still, winter had its icy grip on Toronto’s lakeshore.
Tommy Thompson Park is just across the harbour from downtown Toronto, but it could just as easily be located miles from nowhere.
Looking southward across the peninsula where the Park is situated, the landscape is rather bleak and windswept during the winter months, but because of its isolated location, made more so by the fact that the Park is only open to the public on weekends and holidays, the greenspace is home to a good variety of birds and animals during all seasons of the year.
Bob and I took in most aspects of Tommy Thompson Park on this visit, starting out along the shoreline that faces Lake Ontario. All the rocks and rubble had long been transformed into a rugged icy surface that bore a modest layer of freshly fallen snow.
Continually battered by surging waves during winter storms, large boulders meant to protect Tommy Thompson Park’s shoreline repelled the water but sent freezing spray aloft. With the Arctic temperatures endured across southern Ontario over the course of the winter, the airborne droplets of moisture that drenched every bush near the water’s edge soon froze into thick layers of ice that tested the very strength of each twig and branch.
The sprawling mass of contorted shapes and mounds transformed the shoreline into something fantastical. I almost expected some Ice Queen to magically appear from the frigid depths.
The substantial ledges of ice that projected out over the open water intrigued Bob and me, and tempted us to venture further, but even with ice cleats strapped to our boots, we did not tempt fate. Winter was waning, and the unseen erosion of even the strongest looking overhang could spell disaster for those too daring.
So, it was back to admiring the smooth contours of the bowed grasses and warped shrubbery that begged us to run our hands over their curvaceous sculpted surfaces.
Even evidence of the landfill used to build the Leslie Street Spit where Tommy Thompson Park is located became something of a statement when pressed into service as part of nature’s art installation.
The slender twigs defied the weight of giant icicles that entombed them and soon would melt the frozen water along their thin, dark surfaces as they, themselves, are warmed by the heat of the sun. Before long, the spring temperatures will have buds bursting open to reveal fresh, green leaves with this winter scene a memory from the past.
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