View from a bike – the Beach Heritage Bike Ride – June 16, 2012

Great day for a bike tour of the neighbourhood.  Thanks to Gene Domagala for his entertaining stories and to Thomas Hasan of HeritageRides.ca for organizing what has got to be one of the best ways to see a neighbourhood – a guided tour by bicycle.

In the photo Thomas introduces Gene (in Beach shirt at rear) in front of the starting point, the Ashbridge Estate.

Ashbridge Estate – start of Beach Heritage Bike Ride – June 16, 2012. Thomas Hasan of Heritage Rides introduces local historian Gene Domagala (in Beach shirt standing behind Thomas). This was the starting point of the local history bike ride, a great way to see the neighbourhood.


As always, Gene had interesting stories about the Ashbridges:

  • in the 1990s, how the two elderly Ashbridge sisters (in their 90s) helped Gene get up after he slipped on the cobblestones
  • Dorothy Ashbridge (Bullen) telling him that in her youth, they travelled by canoe along Ashbridge’s Creek under Queen Street, into Ashbridge’s Bay and then to the city, never touching land until they arrived downtown.
  • The sisters’ deep concern that their name was associated with the sewage treatment plant.  Gene tried to convince the city not to use their name, but the officials did not listen – which was frustrating and hurtful for the Ashbridge family.  Seriously, would you like a sewage treatment plant named after your family?  For them, this must have been nasty every time they opened the paper to see headlines about “Ashbridge’s sewage” as I have seen in the past.  Yecchh!!

Gene Domagala talks about how the Ashbridge Estate property is “ours” – it was given by the Ashbridges to the Ontario Heritage Trust. The public is welcome to use the grounds.

Back to the bike route — after the Ashbridge Estate, we headed over to Maple Cottage, then down Knox to the bike path, stopping at the south end of the Gee and Gage Tubbs rugby field just north of Lakeshore at Ashbridge’s Bay.  The tour continued east through Woodbine Park, up Sarah Ashbridge Avenue to Queen, back down to the lake via Kippendavie, back up to Queen, then down past Kew Gardens and east to the R.C. Harris waterworks near Victoria Park.  Lots of interesting stops along the way.

Great way to spend a couple of hours.  Thanks Gene and Thomas, and to 32 Spokes, our ward’s cycle group whose members also attended and helped the ride to be safe and well-organized.

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