• 2022-05-20 10:00 | Anonymous

    I frequently drive up Bermondsey Road (on the East York, North York border). Five years ago, I noticed the ground in the Hydro corridor was being ploughed up. This continued for the next two or three years with signs saying “Naturalization Project”. This sounded good, but I did not have high hopes.

    Then last summer - “Wow!” The area was full of colour with yellow daisies of several kinds, white Queen Anne’s Lace, pink milkweed and touches of mauve and blue from Bergamot and Vervaine. Butterflies were flitting around.

    I Googled and discovered this was the 200 hectare Meadoway, costing $85 million. It will, when completed in 2025, be 16 km of linear green space, linking the Don Valley Ravine with the Rouge Urban National Park. It passes through 34 neighbourhoods, 15 parks and 7 ravines. The areas were mostly seeded in 2020. It will be home for over 1000 species of flora and fauna, providing scientific research possibilities. These include possible techniques for invasive species eradication, use of cover crops and the role played in adding grass species. It also has 10 agricultural gardens.

    The path beside the Hydro lines is open to cyclists and pedestrians, but not to motorised vehicles. This path is almost complete - driving along, we cannot yet see a link from the Don Valley. A new bridge will link the eastern end to the Rouge. It will then be possible to cycle from Downtown Toronto to the Rouge on a mid town route without travelling on a street (only crossing them!) It will be the largest linear park in Canada and has won a 2021 Design Award. In mid July, we drove east through Scarborough, trying to keep close to the Hydro lines, stopping when a street crossed the corridor. There was colour all the way along, but with different combinations. Some had more Bergamot.

    I stopped again to take photos in early October. The yellows then were Evening Primrose and Goldenrods, with blueish accents from Fall Asters. Brown spikes of seed heads from earlier Evening Primroses and Mullein were prominent. The picture was softened by tawny grasses, undulating in the breeze. I saw a late monarch floating around and a few other butterflies. I was excited by the almost deafening twitter of small birds. I could see Goldfinches and House Sparrows and I thought many others. We have several species of Hawks in this area so we expect they will be hunting rodents and birds.

    Now in April, some areas look untidy with bent over stems and some garbage.

    Go and visit, spring, summer, fall and winter for a walk or bike rides. Watch how the biodiversity is, we hope, increasing.

    The Meadoway is led by Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA) and the Toronto and Region Conservation Foundation in partnership with the City of Toronto and Hydro One. It is made possible through the generous support of the The Meadoway and Weston Family Foundation.

  • 2021-09-14 12:00 | Anonymous

    Pete was raised in the UK countryside, armed with binoculars, a Jack Russell Terrier and numerous footpaths for exploring the natural world wherever possible! He spent 12 years in Shetland, including a post as Assistant Warden for three years at the world-famous Fair Isle Bird Observatory. His introduction to applied conservation was provided during six years working for the UK government as Nature Conservancy Council officer for Shetland, and then Hertfordshire. His doctoral work on Black Guillemots in relation to the offshore oil industry, was completed at Oxford University in 1986.

    In 1990 he moved to Canada and worked until 1996 on the Great Lakes wildlife toxicology programs of the federal government’s Canadian Wildlife Service, documenting levels and impacts of toxic pollutants on wildlife at the top of aquatic food webs.

    He joined World Wildlife Fund Canada, as Director of Canada’s Endangered Species Program in 1996 and then led WWF’s Arctic conservation work from 2000-2006, focusing heavily on shifting the industrial development paradigm to one that provides adequately for conservation of intact ecosystems, and ecological and cultural diversity, while the opportunity still remains.

    Pete was lead specialist for WWF’s Canadian species conservation work from 2007-20. His work centred on flagship species conservation in globally significant regions, such as whales and polar bears, accelerating the recovery of Species At Risk, and increasing the connection of urban citizens to wildlife species and their needs. He has published over 100 scientific papers, book chapters etc.

    In recent years he’s been very active in wildlife habitat restoration in urban areas via Nature-Connected-Communities initiatives at WWF, and now independently with Project Swallowtail in west Toronto. He finds this very inspiring now with rapidly increasing numbers of citizens keen to play a role in building a better- balanced future, and getting practically involved with wildlife and nature in their neighbourhoods by restoring local-sourced native plant habitats in gardens and other private and public spaces. He is also a regular marine-ecological resource expert on Arctic cruises with Adventure Canada.

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