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.