Changing Seasons – January

I’m back for year 2 of Cardinal Guzman’s monthly photo challenge of the Changing Seasons.  The Cardinal has introduced 2 versions of this monthly feature and I encourage you to check out the Cardinal’s post and the rules here.

January has been very kind to us so far this winter.  After the brutal cold of the past 2 years, we were due for a break, and this relatively *mild* weather is exactly what I hoped we might get.

In spite of this gentler winter, I seem to have wrapped myself up in a cocoon and have spent most of the month hibernating.  The one day I did venture out for some exploration, it snowed, and all my pictures reflect that greyness and white *fluff* in the air.

Jan 2016 -4

Todmorden Mills is an unmistakable landmark along one of the major highway arteries of Toronto – the Don Valley Parkway.  I’ve passed it a million times in my travels around the city, but I’ve never actually visited this historical site before now.

It was a chilly, windy day and I had the area completely to myself.

Jan 2016 -1

Todmorden Mills is a heritage site containing four original buildings – the lumber mill, brewery, and 2 homes – from this small industrial complex dating back to the early 1800s.

Jan 2016 -3

It is now a small museum open to the public with nature trails surrounding the area. Nestled between city highrises on one side and a busy highway on the other, it is a peaceful step back in time.

Jan 2016 -2

I often wondered why a mill would be located so far from a river.  I had not realized that the Don River had been re-routed in the early 1960s during the construction of the Don Valley Parkway.

What remains of the river near the mill is an elbow of spring-fed water which is now home to a wildflower conservation area which attracts considerable wildlife in the heart of the city.

Jan 2016 -8

Special thanks to Ontario Camper for introducing me to Todmorden Mills and its nature trails.  It is a pretty area that I’ll be interested in revisiting again in the spring.

Jan 2016 -7


  1. Beautiful images, Joanne. I’ve never been there but it sure looks like a place I would enjoy. A step back in time is always enjoyable.


  2. I have hiked three states in the winter with a friend or two. I like the frozen tundra, the icy limbs and the snowflakes floating around. I don’t like to go when the temperatures go below freezing, though. The mill buildings are really interesting and I enjoy brickwoek, along with rustic look of peeling paint. The double door up high is foe loading or some kind of function. Not a conveyor belt or a crane. . . I liked hearing you can have receptions here. Wonderful post but really, next time, no snowy or icy roads, Joanne. We want you to meet your 2016 goals. . . 🙂


    • I enjoy winter hiking too – no mosquitos, the forest opens up from its summer green haze .. but like you, it starts to get too cold for me below 10F.
      I avoid snowy, icy conditions when I can help it … but sometimes I take a gamble on the forecast and get it wrong :/


  3. Glad you found the area and the Oxbow. There is apparently another sections of cut off Don river north of there but hard to get to due to the highway. Amazing what damage has been done to the river in the name of progress.


  4. This is an intriguing place when you look over from a traffic jam on the Don Valley Parkway – thanks for getting me closer! In the recesses of my distant memory I think I attended a wedding reception here once – any sign of a restaurant? If you’re hankering for another foot of snow just travel 45 minutes north 😱


    • My understanding is that these facilities can be rented for events. I don’t know if there is a restaurant inside, or whether there are just facilities to accommodating catering.
      It would be a lovely location for an outdoor wedding.

      I was up in the ski area north of Barrie on the weekend. It was definitely a winter wonderland with that bright full moon Saturday night. So very beautiful.


        • I was up that way visiting my sister who lives in the area. I’ve never been on downhill skiis – ever. I know it sounds strange for a northerner to say 🙂

          A moonlight ride would have been very nice … but damn, it was cold!


    • I really liked the weathered look of the brick. I hope they never decide to ‘fix’ that 🙂
      I’m slowing getting much better at stopping to really look at my environment without putting on the daily blinders. Every so often I find something that interests me 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Thanks Joanne for reminding me of an area that I’ve been meaning to check out. You’re right about Toronto having lots of great heritage sites to visit. I should make a list and start planning weekend visits.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. A good outing, Joanne. I loved following you on this challenge last year, and I’m sure I’ll love it again this year!


    • Jude – be assured that I wouldn’t dream of visiting Yorkshire without including you!! 🙂

      This area was heavily settled by the English and Scots. It’s not surprising that the evidence of it is everywhere as they tried to recreate home in the ‘new land’.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. How lovely to have a peaceful place with nature and walking trails in the city. I like the old buildings, especially the weathered brick. It does look like you had the day to yourself there 🙂


  8. Todmorden in England was famous for being the borderline between the cotton mills of industrial Lancashire and the woollen mills of Yorkshire. Didn’t realise it had a Canadian twin.


    • I’m getting a little bit of a history/geography lesson today!

      I didn’t realize Todmorden was a mill area in England either – until today. I shouldn’t have been surprised given that the early settlers in what was then called Upper Canada were originally from England and Scotland.
      So many names familiar to people from Britain can be found here.

      I did a quick Wikipedia search and found that our Todmorden Mills was named by John Eastwood, one of the original brewery owners. His family had emigrated from Todmorden in England.
      How interesting to now match the two together!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. It’s cool that you’ve kept those old mills and I can relate to the hibernating. If it were possible, I would have been gone for the whole winter: either sleeping my way through it, or living some place where the climate is warmer.


    • Unfortunately there aren’t a lot of old interesting buildings left around Toronto so it’s a treat to rediscover one.

      I’ve recently read that one of the original homes still on the mill site will be going through an interior reconstruction of how it would have been decorated in the mid-1800s. I love visiting those types of historical buildings!
      Unfortunately I didn’t read a timeline on when it would happen.


    • From what I’ve read, the original mill was built in the late 1700s but burned down. The one standing today is a replacement built around 1825.

      It would appear the windows and doors have been replaced/refurbished, but it is an interesting little piece of the city’s history. I’m glad it’s been preserved.


  10. It is a time for hibernating. Reading, needlepoint, Netflix. I’ve spent most of the month of January indoors but did venture out yesterday when the snow was sparkling. Forgot my camera but have memories of frozen steps to Lake Huron that we’ll climb down come summer; mini ice bergs floating into shore and the sun shining on our own Chantry Island lighthouse. Thanks for sharing your post and encouraging us to share through Cardinal’s post.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Chantry Island? Wow, you really are up near some of the most breathtakingly beautiful parts of the Bruce!
      Doing a ‘changing seasons’ monthly post from your corner of the world would be really interesting!


  11. I love the shot of the spring – the etched contrast between the dusting of snow and the black branches and frozen water is lovely. And of course my eye is drawn to the doors, especially the upper floor door ~ I love that!


    • My eye has always been attracted to the tall chimney in the background as I’ve driven on the DVP. Now I’m looking forward to seeing this area again when the spring flowers start to come out.
      … and I probably should make a point of going inside 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Hi Joanne – history is fascinating …love the fact the River was moved for the development .. thus leaving the mill marooned. But I’m sure the Mill and its nature trails will be fabulous to see in slightly warmer weather ..

    The green will return .. cheers Hilary


    • When it’s the grey and drab of winter, it’s hard to remember the lush green months. I stare at photos longingly 😉
      I’m looking forward to visiting again in warmer weather.

      Man really does some appalling things to the environment. I wonder if we’ll ever learn?!


    • Me too. Toronto has such a bad reputation for having destroyed so many of its heritage buildings for bigger, better, shinier.
      To find a treasure like this and learn a little about the history of the area was a treat.

      Isn’t it just like the arrogance of mankind though to reroute a river because it was inconveniently located for a desired highway?

      Liked by 1 person

        • Man really has a troublesome record with interfering with the environment.

          A few years ago I learned that a couple of our neighbours were having trouble with flooding in their basements.
          An original home owner on our street told me that there used to be a creek running through this neighbourhood.
          The creek was buried – to accommodate more homes – but still runs underground.
          Our neighbour’s house was built on what used to be that creek. When there are very heavy rains, that underground creek swells and can overflow causing my neighbour’s basement to get wet.

          I have a couple of issues here.
          1) think of how prettier this neighbourhood could have been with a little creek and green space maintained as nature intended

          2) if you bought a house, wouldn’t you like to know if it was built on an underground creek … or landfill … or whatever other crap developers can come up with?!

          Liked by 1 person

          • My parents house was built over a creek, along with 10 other houses. All 11 basements subsided costing thousands of dollars in repairs (in the 80s). The houses were already 30 years old so “no one was responsible”


            • hmmm – that’s interesting. This neighbourhood was built in the 70s and this problem has only started in the last couple of years.
              It appears there is a life span to a house building over creek before the creek starts to fight back.

              Liked by 1 person

  13. Lovely pictures. Although I’m happy not to live in snow country I realize that I’m missing some wonderful photo opportunities. The peacefulness of snow on the trees and the ground is so inviting. Good to get out of ones cocoon once in awhile.


    • The problem with snow (actually there are many, but let’s pretend otherwise) is that it’s pretty for only a very short period of time … emphasis on *very short*.
      Can you tell I’m not a huge fan of snow? 😉

      I guess what strikes me the most is how bleakly grey and barren everything looks. It suggests I need to go back into my cocoon 😉


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