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Cycling up to the police tape was not my biggest worry. I was more concerned with the fact that my beautiful new bicycle, a pretty white filly complete with basket, fenders, lights and some savvy urban style, was ahem, a wee bit slow. Note that I am saying the bicycle was slow, not me. Of course it wasn’t me. I’m a super cycler. Five miles an hour is nothing to a Tour de France speedster like me.
So my first thought when I saw the yellow police tape rippling across the Humber River Trail was Oh, good, now I can stop. My second thought was, Oh, oh, police tape is not good. It’s especially not good when it comes complete with a detective asking a uniformed officer, “Have you spoken to the coroner yet?”
So much for an idyllic cycling afternoon along the Humber River Recreational Trail in Toronto.
It just goes to show that while you’re blithely cycling or strolling along some pretty trail, looking at the buds, smelling the greenery (along with an occasional whiff of stagnant sewage), you’re likely trodding over plenty of secrets. In fact, dear readers, paths along the Humber River likely date back some 11,000 years. Think about it. That’s older the pyramids of Giza. That’s plenty of time for misadventure.
(As an aside, 11,000 year old moccassin-ed footprints were found embedded in clay in Toronto at Hanlon’s Point in 1908. Sadly, they were not preserved.)
River with a past
Around the time Queen Elizabeth I was England’s Virgin Queen, fur traders began tramping the trails along the Humber River. And who knows what battles were fought under the tree branches as the Huron Wendat lost ground to the Five Nations Iroquois who scrapped with the Mississaugas?
All I’m saying is that next time you take a walk or go cycling give a thought to the layers of history under your feet. And the mysteries. You’re not just cycling straight ahead, you’re cycling over time. “What’s going on?” I asked the policeman.
“We found bones,” he said.
“Bones?” I asked weakly.
He nodded. “Though we’re not sure if they’re human or animal.” After a look at my face he added, “We’re pretty sure they’re animal, but we can’t take any chances.”
I’ve been googling bones and Humber River ever since I got home (not continuously, obviously, I do stop to eat) and so far I haven’t found anything, so I’m sticking to the animal theory. And I hope was an old animal – big bulbous racoon who lived a long happy life. Or even better a mammoth, 11,000 years old.
Cycling tips for the Humber River
There are a number of access points for the Humber River Recreational Trail. One is at the end of Dee Avenue, which is west off Weston Road just south of Highway 401.
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