Gardens at High Park, with Grenadier Pond in the background
High Park is the largest park within the former City of Toronto, stretching south from Bloor Street. At the south, the park is separated from the lake by two major streets, an expressway, and the CN railway line.
To the west is Grenadier Pond, so named because of the soldiers who practiced maneuvers there. During the War of 1812, soldiers defending York from American invaders crashed through the ice on the pond. It is said that their bodies sank through the mud at the bottom of the pond and were never recovered.
Except for a small tract of land surrounding the Colborne Lodge, the park was ceded to the City of Toronto by architect, surveyor, and engineer John George Howard in 1873. Colborne Lodge was the retirement home of George Howard and his wife Jemima.
"Having by dint of perseverance and integrity made nearly sufficient
to retire from business upon, and having spent nearly all my earnings in
improving and beautifying High Park, I have for many years wished that it
should eventually become the property of the City of Toronto, as place of
public resort for the citizens, by which I should be identified with the
said City forever."
John George Howard
Bloor Street West at High Park.
The landscape in the park is varied, with manicured gardens in the western side, and unkempt forest in the east. Between these extremes, you can find sports fields, vegetable gardens, a small zoo, and restaurants. During weekends in the summer, the roads through the park are closed while hordes of people descend on the park.