Tommy Thompson Park, or better known as the Leslie Spit… or as we like to call it, Trash Isle. A quick getaway away from the city, in the city, made from the destruction of the city.
We ride stolen land. Let’s acknowledge the land we and the Spit inhabits is the traditional territory of many nations including the Mississaugas of the Credit, the Anishnabeg, the Chippewa, the Haudenosaunee and the Wendat peoples and is now home to many diverse First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples. We also acknowledge that Toronto is covered by Treaty 13 with the Mississaugas of the Credit.
A trip to the Spit for us, means getting to the lighthouse, one of the most southern points of Toronto. Along the way, you can choose your own adventure with different routes along with countless points of interest, hideouts, artscapes, wildlife-watching spots or gravel grindin’ goodness. Lots of fun, with no cars. The Spit has something for everyone, on any type of bike, at any riding level. Follow-along and we’ll chat: the ride, history of the Spit, eco-system, wildlife & habitat, bikes and we’ll cap things off with a homage to the demolished ‘Scrubland’ singetrack route.
Every visit to spit can be a new adventure, explore different loops, the many peninsulas and the different types of terrain; a wondrous place! We’ve used it as a tool to become more confident and capable cyclists, so that’s cool. Ride it for a few kilometres or a bunch, 5 or 35, just do you.
Difficulty: Easy-Moderate | Topography: Flat Terrain: Asphault, Gravel,Rocky, Grassy
Let’s jump into the ride. One of the most unique aspects about the Spit is the different types of terrain that you can find and ride — paved, packed gravel, loose gravel, rocky(!), grassy narrows and just plain old dirt. You can choose one or choose them all, depending on your tire set-up. If you want to be ready for it all, we’d suggest riding with a minimum of 35-38mm width tires. Don’t worry, we tested lots of tires here and have the flats to prove it…ha. Don’t let the lack of chunky tires stop you, just be mindful and take an alternate path if you need. As you continue through this read, you’ll find examples of the following different types of terrain:
ROAD / PACKED GRAVEL / LOOSE GRAVEL / ROCKY / GRASSY
The Spit is nice and flat, so you don’t need to worry about having a million gears. Construction is ongoing, so keep an eye out for notices.
There’s two routes to get into the Spit, Leslie Street directly or the Martin Goodman Trail passing through Cherry Beach. We enjoy the latter, even if it means taking the long way — it’s much more scenic and adventurous. Check the map right below for some points of interest on the route, and our RWGPS map will take you through a more adventurous time through the nooks – highly recommended. The RWGPS map will give you lots of dirt and gravel riding, with some scenic rest spots and secluded views, and very ridable for all levels.
Depending on the time of the year that you visit the peninsula, the routes available to you will change drastically. We were lucky enough to ride during the dead of the winter, when the water between Cherry Beach and the Spit froze solid. It was surreal to ride across the lake. Check out some pics of slippery stretch:
Tommy Thompson Park, or the Spit colloquially, is the flip-side of the urban sprawl coin. While Toronto grew rapidly in the 60s, 70s and 80s in every direction, the City was suddenly faced with an abundance of demolition and excavation waste. What to do? Build south, Trash Isle.