Frequent northbound travellers on the Bayview Extension have probably noticed the “Pottery Road” street sign pointing to a glorified supermarket driveway at the top of the hill, just south of Moore Avenue. Some may even have wondered how it relates to the more familiar street of the same name almost 1.5 kilometers to the south, winding up the valley wall to Broadview Avenue. The answer to this puzzle is that the two Pottery Roads used to be one, connecting Broadview and Moore Avenues, roughly following Cudmore Creek for much of its length.
Most of the road was abandoned when the Bayview Extension was constructed in the late 1950s. The section running from Broadview to Bayview was left mostly intact (and the top of it was later realigned to allow an easier climb out of the valley), as was a very short block at the northern end of the road, now flanked by parking lots for a supermarket and a bank.
What about the kilometer of the road that used to connect the two remaining sections? Unlike most abandoned roads that exist only for short stretches of their former selves, old Pottery Road is unique: its entire original route is still open and can be hiked from beginning to end.
The most visible portion of the road runs west off Bayview just north of the current Pottery Road/Bayview Avenue intersection. It’s chained off to vehicles, but easily accessible by foot. This portion is apparently used as an access road by Toronto Water and is maintained with a loose gravel surface. The wide roadway first swoops down into the Don Valley, then heads northwest, climbing up toward the CP tracks. On the other side of the tracks, the old roadway is considerably more overgrown, but the clear route through the center of the growth is still quite obvious in the winter despite 50 years of natural regeneration.
Scramble up the hill and you’ll see a short portion of the original alignment still in use as True Davidson Drive just south of Nesbitt Drive. This area was home to the infamous Bayview Ghost before its recent makeover into an entirely different kind of ghost development.
Just across the CN tracks lies the final and grandest section of the abandoned road, still quite visible on Google Maps. Virtually invisible to drivers on Bayview, this stretch can be reached by pedestrians. Just climb the stairs from Bayview to the wide roadway and walk the rest of the way to the final northernmost block of Pottery Road that remains today.
Photos by Val Dodge.