Skip to main content

Maria's (blocked) Walk


"The way leads along for several hundred feet though young deciduous woods until a junction is reached. The trail which goes uphill is Maria’s Walk leading to Thorndale Entrance."

That quote, from 1961, by RBG's Conservationist W.J. Lamoureux is part of a larger description of the trails in the Royal Botanical Gardens' Coldspring Valley Nature Sanctuary, now McMaster Parking lots M, N, O, and P.

The photo above is from the vantage point at the bottom of Maria's Walk, as described by Lamoureux , but we can see that 50 years later, while the trail is largely intact, the use and meaning of the area has changed drastically. 

Rather than a very nice forest trail, McMaster treats the path as a liability and goes to great lengths to block and hide its existence. People still use it, but obviously in contravention of the University's wishes. That's what happens when you pave a nature sanctuary for parking: remnants of the forest are actively marginalized and steps are taken to ensure they are avoided in favour of routing people along (inaccessible) sidewalks or onto the diesel bus that ferries parkers to the main campus.



Maria's Walk, the last of the original RBG trails in Coldspring Valley is largely intact, yet blocked, hidden and warned against by McMaster in a world where parking, not perambulatory pursuits, is the new priority.

We hope that recent signs of life from the new campus administration will herald the start of a rebirth for the campus natural spaces lost to parking. 

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Where did the water go? Art action in Lot M Parking

West Campus Eco-Art Project  A walking activity and site activation on McMaster’s West Campus.  West Campus Eco-Art Project is a project that incorporates creative walking activities and an artistic site activation connected with the West Campus Redesign Initiative at McMaster University. The initiative provides opportunities for connecting with nature through an on-line informational video, walking excursions and creative activities that deepen knowledge and experience with place in all its complexities (social history, citizen science, ecology and diversity).  Focusing on the Coldwater creek valley on McMaster’s West Campus, participants will learn about the history and unique features of the area and will be invited to then engage with the site through observation, sketching and stencil-making. Stencils will be used to paint text and image on the parking lot asphalt to delineate a blue line that marks an historic water route.  The project is supported by the McMaster Museum of Art (

McMaster's Parking Problem: Next Level

I'm sharing a recent article published in the Dundas Star News about McMaster's plan to build a - get this - $17-million dollar parking structure. Seventeen million. Yes, $17,000,000.00 That's a lot of money to provide temporary shelter for vehicles of people who choose to drive to campus. We will be following this closely. Here's the article.  Cootes Drive six-storey McMaster University parking garage under review Variances or amendment to zoning bylaw expected to permit parking structure Craig Campbell, Dundas Star News, Friday, March 5, 2021 Zoning bylaw variances, or amendments, could be required for a planned six-storey, 567-space McMaster University parking garage west of Cootes Drive, and north of Thorndale Crescent. University spokesperson Michelle Donavon said the $17-million structure on parking lot K at Westaway Road will help ongoing efforts to re-naturalize parts of the west campus, by moving some surface parking into the structure. “These plans will increa

Binkley's Pond, gone for parking

Jacob Binkley (1806-67), great grandson of Marx [Binkley], built the handsome stone house that still stands at 54 Sanders Blvd at the head of a ravine. The house was completed in 1847 and named Lakelet Vale, as it had a little spring-fed lake at the rear. Binkley's Pond, as it was known, was used for skating, fishing, and good times. It is now the Zone 6 parking lot at McMaster University on the west side of Cootes Drive. Loreen Jerome, The Way We Were "The House that Jacob Built" Ainslie Wood/Westdale Community Association of Resident Homeowners Inc. (AWWCA) http://www.awwca.ca/articles/ Skater's on Binkley's Pond circa 1917, now a McMaster parking lot