Such a map as Coleman’s (and he drew many such, across Canada and elsewhere as he
took his geology students along on summer expeditions) was more than a guide to the
origins of the Sudbury Big Nickel that you can spy from the Trans-Canada. It helped
provide the kickoff for the exploitation of Northern Ontario’s mineral—as opposed
to timber—resources. It also promoted the growth of Bay Street, which has done so
much to reshape Ontario’s image and boost Toronto’s takeoff toward its present
position in the financial and commercial life of the country.
If you’re at the Evergreen Brick Works Market in the Don Valley, walk north along some 200 yards of lovingly created wetland. When you’ve gone about 50 yards past that, you will be on a little rise. Look behind over your shoulder for a view of the downtown skyline.
Then keep on walking until you get to a little cul-de-sac and look at the cliff face that you have been staring ahead at for the last while. It is overgrown. The small plaque in front of you states that you are facing one of the oldest geological formations in the Toronto region and that it was first “discovered” (let’s be more precise and call it “labelled”) in the 1890s by geologist A.P. Coleman (April 4, 1852–February 26, 1939), a scientist and public intellectual of great renown in his day and a figure still dimly remembered now. Coleman’s work on the traces of the last great ice age (the Pleistocene) enable us to view the Brick Works park within the broad perspective of the long history of our city. Continue Reading →