2021 Metroscapes in Review

Another pandemic year has passed. This marked a year of knowing more about the virus, getting vaccinated, loosening restrictions with precautions in place, and tightening back up due to variants.

As for exploring metroscapes, it was yet another year of doing less than I hoped, but still accomplishing a lot. It was my second full year hailing out of the Tri-Cities as my home base. It also marked a year of expanding to a fourth city, and completing walks in all four cities.

With that, let’s do another year-in-review, and go over the ground that was covered in 2021.

Projects and Posts

2021 marked an expansion to a fourth city: Guelph. It’s the smallest city of the bunch so far, coming in at a quarter of the size of the Tri-Cities. But it’s where I spent my undergrad, and it’s growing. In fact, it just annexed 90 hectares as of New Year’s Day. With the expansion, I was able to roll out a walk page and project pages for hydro corridors, watersheds and neighbourhoods.

I also did an analysis of potential parkland in Toronto, following the defeat of the Rail Deck Park proposal. I’m still think there was a $2 billion commitment made to building parkland in downtown Toronto. There’s tons of opportunities on both public and private lands, and you very well may get way more and/or parkland for your buck.

Walk Statistics

I saw a decline in activity from last year. This year was less restricted by the virus and more so by commitments (and exhaustion from them) at home and work.

  • Over 16 walks, I covered 303 km, about the driving distance between Fort Erie and Brighton. That’s down 130 km from 2020.
  • The average walk was 18.9 km, up 3.5 km from 2020. This is twice the walking distance along the Speed River in Guelph, between Edinburgh Road and Guelph Dam.
  • The longest walk was August 2, when I hiked 24.0 km along Toronto’s lower bluffs and small ravines. It may have been more as I’m not sure that accounts for vertical elevation.

Walk Highlights

I got to Toronto and checked a big to-do off my list: Scarborough’s lower bluffs and small ravines. The beaches and armourstone shoreline were something to behold, as was the infamous cliffs at Buffers Park. While there’s room for improvement, these are hidden gems of Toronto’s waterfront that may get more accessible in the future.

I completed my first walks in Hamilton to see some waterfalls. My first walk along Stoney / Battlefield Creeks wasn’t fruitful, as it was during the spring drought that delivered a fraction of the expected rainfall to southern Ontario. I made up for it by visiting Albion Falls and the cascades of Red Hill Creek, which were actually flowing after a wetter late summer and early fall.

I traced the entire Speed River within Guelph’s urban boundary, from Niska Road in the southwest to Guelph Dam in the northeast. I knew many of the local trails from my previous days living here and visiting occasionally, but I had less experience along the south reaches. This was a very high quality ravine and I am hoping for expanded public access along there in the future.

Back home in the Tri-Cities, I completed almost all there is to complete. After paralleling the north and west parts of the Conestoga Parkway, walking along some more hydro corridors, and tracing some smaller watercourses, I only have 3 or so walk plans left for the KW and Cambridge area.

Looking Forward to 2022

As highlighted in my recent blog post, I completed a course in GIS, and am actively working to convert all existing metroscapes data to a vector shapefile format. This will be the driving change to this website and any other analysis in 2022.

I may continue to be constrained by family life for a little while. But I’m hoping to get some more walks in soon. Cheers to more walking, defeating COVID, and a more balanced life in 2022.

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