Natural Heritage Study
The City's Official Plan presents policies to protect Toronto's natural heritage system for the long term. The natural heritage system is based on a study that was carried out by the City of Toronto and Toronto and Region Conservation in 2001.
The natural heritage of Toronto includes ravines, wetlands, valley and stream corridors, wooded areas, shorelines and other significant physical features. A natural heritage system recognizes the importance of natural features, the functions they provide, and their relationships among one another.
City Planning is co-ordinating studies to further define important natural heritage features and functions, and to identify appropriate levels of protection.
For more information or to obtain a copy of the 2001 City of Toronto Natural Heritage Study, call City Planning.
The City is creating interpretive signs for many natural parks and environment features in Toronto.
You can e-mail the Natural Environment at email@example.com for more details.
The City's Parklands Acquisition Strategy identifies locations where additional parkland is needed the most, as well as proposing ways of acquiring new parkland for public purposes.
More information is available from the Parks, Forestry and Recreation Division.
The City's ravine bylaw regulates human activities that involve cutting trees, dumping fill in ravines, and changing the grade (slope) within ravine protection boundaries.
If you wish to determine if your property is affected by the Ravine Protection Bylaw, or if you are looking for more information about the bylaw, information is available on Urban Forestry's Ravine website. You may also call 416-338-TREE (8733).
More information is available from Urban Forestry.
Ravine Trail Management
The Ravine Trail Management Program for trails in Toronto ravines and parks aims to balance recreational use of trails with natural environment protection and restoration. Local community involvement is an important part of effective trail management.
More information is available by e-mailing Natural Environment at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Excitement, entertainment and education await guests at Toronto and Region Conservation parks and other attractions across the Greater Toronto Area. Activities range from bird watching and picnics to cross-country skiing and mountain biking.
- Petticoat Creek
- Albion Hills
- Glen Haffy
- Heart Lake
- Black Creek Pioneer Village
- Kortright Centre for Conservation
- Indian Line Campground
- Bruce's Mill
- Boyd Park
- Tommy Thompson Park
- Rouge Park
More information is available from the Toronto and Region Conservation's Parks and Culture website.
Toronto Waterfront Naturalization
The Toronto Waterfront Naturalization Initiative maintains and enhances existing waterfront naturalization projects at community parks across the Toronto waterfront.
The goal of the Toronto Waterfront Naturalization Initiative is to engage the public in the development and implementation aspects of local habitat restoration projects to promote stewardship of natural waterfront ecosystems. The effort is carried out in partnership with the City of Toronto, Toronto and Region Conservation and many community groups and schools.
Parkland Naturalization Program
The City's Parkland Naturalization Program involves the implementation of projects that restore, protect and enhance the natural environment in City of Toronto parks.
Types of projects include meadow enhancements, wetland creation, reforestation and river/stream improvements. There are several naturalization projects across the city. Many of them involve thousands of volunteers helping with annual planting and stewardship activities.
For more information, e-mail the Natural Environment at email@example.com or visit Green Toronto.
Tree Planting Program
The City's Trees Across Toronto is a municipal effort that includes a major role by local residents. The City and the general public have planted over 300,000 trees in recent years. The trees are planted along streets and arterial roads, in ravines and in neighbourhood parks.
The City's Parks, Forestry and Recreation Division works to maintain the city's urban forests.
More information is available about Trees Across Toronto
at 416-338-TREE (8733).
Get a free tree! Urban Forestry Services plants trees on City owned street allowances fronting residential properties for free. Periodically, Urban Forestry Services will canvass neighbourhoods for tree planting opportunities.
To order your free tree download our residential street tree planting brochure or call 416-338-TREE (8733).
Interested in a tree for your backyard? Toronto's local non-profit group LEAF (Local Enhancement and Appreciation of Forests) is dedicated to improving Toronto's urban forest. They offer Toronto residents subsidized backyard tree planting.
The service includes on-site advice on appropriate species and planting location, a 1.2 to 1.8m tall native tree, and the planting service. Native shrubs are also available.
Contact LEAF for more information.
Community Stewardship Program
The Community Stewardship Program involves community volunteers actively protecting and enhancing parkland naturalization projects at a restoration site of their choice. This seasonal program began in 2001.
If you are interested in volunteering for the stewardship program, please visit Green Toronto. You may also contact the Stewardship Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Community Gardens Program
Community gardens benefit everyone by creating safe and healthy recreational activity within our parks system, and on other city-owned lands.
The Community Gardens Program is cultivating a dynamic community gardening movement across the City. Working in partnership with a wide variety of community groups, the program draws on the collective heritage of gifts from Toronto's distinct cultures.
Activities include community garden installation, urban agriculture training and demonstration sites, community greenhouse vegetable production, and the Junior Gardener Program.
Find out where community gardens are located in the city or learn more about starting a community garden in your neighbourhood by visiting the Community Gardens Program.
Humber Bay Butterfly Habitat
The Humber Bay Butterfly Habitat project involves the creation of a self-sustaining community of native vegetation that supports a variety of butterfly species. Educating people about urban wildlife habitats is also a component of the project.
More information is available by e-mailing the Natural Environment at email@example.com.
Toronto Bird Flyways Project
The Toronto Bird Flyways Project involves various efforts to improve bird habitats in Toronto. The project began in 2004.
More information is available by e-mailing the Natural Environment at
Lights Out Toronto: saving migratory birds
Most migratory bird species are unable to adapt to living in cities. During their biannual flyovers they become confused by the combination of light pollution and the effects of glass in the urban environment. This often results in significant numbers of birds colliding with buildings.
One of the key ways to reduce migratory bird deaths is to reduce light pollution, which will also result in energy savings, lower building operating costs and reduced greenhouse gas emissions.
The City's Lights Out Toronto program aims to help raise this issue in the public eye.
Integrated Pest Management Program
The City's Integrated Pest Management Program starts with an understanding of how plants grow and function in urban areas. This program attempts to balance human needs, general quality of life and the health of plants in the stressful urban environment.
Details about how to manage pests in a natural way can be found in Toronto Public Health's Pesticide Free: Natural Lawn Guide, in the Pest Management... the Natural Way section (pdf).
Fighting Tree Infestations
Asian Long-horned Beetle
The Asian Long-Horned Beetle (ALHB) which has devastated the tree canopies in parts of New York City and Chicago since the late 1990's was discovered September 2003 in parts of the City of Toronto and the City of Vaughan.
Management of the Asian Long-horned Beetle infestation that has occurred in parts of the city in recent years is important. This effort includes tree-by-tree investigations, mapping of infestation areas, and removing and disposing of infested trees. Public education is also an important part of the effort.
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and the City of Toronto are also asking the public's help in watching for the insect and signs of infestation. If you find a live insect, please do not remove it from the area and call the CFIA immediately at 1-800-442-2342.
More information is available about the Asian Long-horned Beetle.
Emerald Ash Borer
The Emerald Ash Borer which has devastated ash trees in southwestern Ontario and parts of the United States since its discovery in Detroit, Michigan in 2002, has been detected in the City of Toronto. The EAB is an introduced insect pest from Asia that attacks and kills all species of ash trees.
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and the City of Toronto are asking the public's help in watching for the insect and signs of infestation. Should you have reason to believe that an ash tree is infested with EAB, please call the CFIA at 1-866-463-6017.
More information is available about the Emerald Ash Borer.
The European Gypsy Moth is an introduced defoliating insect that is considered a major pest in North America. The caterpillar, or larva stage of the insect, eats the leaves of trees making them more susceptible to disease and damage from other insects.
The City of Toronto conducted aerial and ground sprays in May 2007 to control the outbreak population levels of European Gypsy Moth. For information on Gypsy Moth Control in Toronto, contact Urban Forestry at 416-338-TREE (8733).
More information is available about the Gypsy Moth.
Waste Diversion in Parks
Toronto's Parks, Forestry and Recreation Division has been working hard on waste diversion since 2003. Staff have launched a variety of education and "3Rs" (Reduce, Reuse and Recycle) projects across the Division.
Remember when you're out enjoying a park or recreation facility, please place your recyclables and litter in the appropriate containers - you'll be helping us keep our parks and recreation facilities clean and beautiful.