Ernest Thompson Seton Park (usually referred to as ET Seton Park) is a large public park in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. It is located in Toronto’s North York District.
The park was named after Seton because Seton spent much of his childhood in the Don Valley near the park that bears his name from the age of ten. The Don River runs through the park, which makes it a popular spot for many activities.
It is a beautiful park along the Don River with many hiking trails. The park contains jogging and cycling paths, an archery range, nordic skiing, and equestrian trails.
The area of ET Seton Park includes the areas that Seton roamed in his youth. It is the area immortalized in Seton’s iconic work, Two Little Savages. In Two Little Savages, the semiautobiographical Yan referred to the area as Glenyan.
The establishment of ET Seton Park can be traced to the efforts of Charles Sauviol (1904-1995), a Canadian ecologist who was inspired by Ernest Thompson Seton. Sauviol maintained correspondence with Seton in the 1930s and 1940s. In Sauviol’s 1981 book, Remembering the Don, he quotes a letter from Seton, “The events given in ‘Two Little Savages’ relate to the Don Valley. That is Part One, which deals with ‘Glenyan.’ The exact site of my shanty was just north of the Government House, that is, tucked under the hill, on the level of the bottom land.” Sauviol also wrote that Seton wrote in another letter in June 1945: “After the war is over, if I am alive, I shall go to the very spot of ‘Glenyan’ and put up some sort of a monument. This, of course, was the beginning of the Boy Scouts.” Of course, Seton died the following year and was never able to take that trip. But his friend Charles Sauviol crusaded to protect the Don Valley, which resulted in ET Seton Park.
There is an interesting story regarding the archery range in ET Seton Park. The range is free of charge and open seven days a week, 365 days a year. It is widely believed in Toronto archery circles that the land was given to the City of Toronto by Seton in his will with the provision that if it ever ceased to be operated as a free archery range, the property would revert to Seton’s heirs.
This story seems apocryphal for several reasons. The archery range did not open until 1968, 22 years after Seton’s death in New Mexico. He died after enduring the economic ills of World War II, which hampered book sales and lecture tours. The College of Indian Wisdom had closed. It just seems unlikely that Seton would have been inspired in this way. Perhaps some other benefactor made a gift that had strings like this attached.