Celebrate Ravine Days from October 1 to 10, 2022. Enjoy 10 days of events throughout Toronto’s beautiful ravine network and learn more about Toronto’s Ravine Strategy.

Ravines are a major part of Toronto’s green infrastructure. Along with parks and the entire urban forest, ravines provide many environmental, health and recreational benefits. Ravines contain grey infrastructure, such as utilities and sewer lines. They are a part of a larger watershed system, helping to filter and transport stormwater, enhance biodiversity and reduce urban heat. Some of the busiest roads and trails that help move people through the city, such as the Don Valley Parkway and Lower Don Trail can be found in ravines.

With population growth, new development and climate change putting increased pressure on ravines, The Toronto Ravine Strategy will guide future ravine management, use, enhancement and protection.

Vision

The Ravine Strategy supports a ravine system that is a natural, connected sanctuary essential for the health and well-being of the city, where use and enjoyment support protection, education and stewardship.

Principles

While we aim to provide fully accessible content, there is no text alternative available for some of the content on this site. If you require alternate formats or need assistance understanding our maps, drawings, or any other content, please contact us at 416-392-3349 or ravinestrategy@toronto.ca.

The five principles of the Ravine Strategy summarized: protect, invest, connect, partner and celebrate. Protect – Maintain and improve ecological health; Invest – Invest in and expand the ravine system; Connect – Ensure opportunities to connect to ravines Partner – Partner with stakeholders to create opportunities; Celebrate – Celebrate, recognize and respect ravines.

Protect

The overarching goal is protecting ravines by maintaining and improving their ecological health to guide how the City performs work in these areas. Ravines will be protected by activities such as

  • developing and implementing management plans for ESAs
  • creating best practices for ongoing maintenance of natural ecosystems and infrastructure
  • managing invasive species
  • and assessing potential impacts of climate change.

Invest

Managing the multiple pressures on ravines requires consistent and significant ongoing investment. Investments in our ravines will involve

  • leveraging planned infrastructure projects, from trail improvements and utility maintenance to erosion control and habitat enhancements
  • finding efficiencies and improving coordination across divisions
  • identifying priority investment areas to implement improvements
  • and developing a valley lands acquisition strategy for adding more publicly owned lands to the ravine system.

Connect

Ravines present opportunities for people to connect with nature and the city’s rich history in a safe and sustainable manner such as

  • wayfinding, access points and trail systems improve the physical connection to the ravines
  • and sharing stories about special and historic spaces, including traditional Indigenous knowledge, will improve how we connect and relate to these natural spaces.

Partner

The care and enhancement of Toronto’s ravines and the success of the Ravine Strategy requires the City, individuals and organizations to work together in meaningful and sustainable ways. Partnerships will support

  • expanding opportunities for volunteer ecological stewardship activities
  • ensuring good communication and implementing best practices for managing ravine parklands across municipal boundaries
  • and finding opportunities for leveraging private donations to invest in specific ravine projects.

Celebrate

Our ravines are a signature feature of Toronto and a vital asset, acting as place-makers and distinguish neighbourhood boundaries. We will celebrate these spaces and encourage recognition of and respect for this magnificent system throughout Toronto and the rest of the world through

  • creating events such as Ravine Days
  • and targeting outreach to specific populations including property owners, pet owners and underserved communities.

An expanded list of Vision and Principles is available in the Ravine Strategy.

In January 2020, City Council unanimously adopted the Ravine Implementation Report plan outlining key actions and recommendations to clean up and protect the city’s more than 300-kilometre ravine system over the next 10 years.

Some key actions adopted by City Council include:

  • An additional investment of $2.05 million annually phased in over four years, to support restoration and invasive species management in ravine parkland through staff, contractors and volunteers. Fully implemented, this will roughly double the amount of invasive species management work done annually. In 2021, the City and volunteers managed invasive plant species in 480 hectares of ravine parkland.
  • The creation of a dedicated program to remove litter and incidents of illegal dumping in ravines. In 2021, City staff removed 115 metric tonnes of garbage from 213 hectares of ravine parkland.
  • Future investments in our ravine system will enhance public access, improve ecological health, and increase resilience to climate change. Ten Priority Investment Areas (PIA) were identified based on
    • high ecological value
    • existing or planned infrastructure
    • anticipated adjacent population growth
    • high levels of recreational use
    • surrounding areas with high social needs
    • and surrounding areas with lower levels of access to greenspace.

Map of Priority Investment Areas

While we aim to provide fully accessible content, there is no text alternative available for some of the content on this site. If you require alternate formats or need assistance understanding our maps, drawings, or any other content, please contact us at 416-392-3349 or ravinestrategy@toronto.ca.

Map of Toronto showing the location of the ten Ravine Strategy Priority Investment Areas. The areas are numbered, and described further following the image. This image also shows the areas protected by the Ravine By-Law.

  1. Rowntree Mills Park
  2. West Humber Parklands
  3. Upper Black Creek
  4. Lower Mimico Creek
  5. High Park
  6. Sunnybrook Park
  7. Moore Park and Yellow Creek Ravines
  8. Lower Don River
  9. East Highland Creek and Morningside Park
  10. Lower Highland Creek

Protect

  • More than 100,000 trees, shrubs and native plants are planted in Toronto’s ravines each year by the City and the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA) through the efforts of staff, contractors and volunteers.
  • Three hundred and fourteen ecological monitoring plots were established in 2019 and 2020 to collect data on ravine health, through a partnership with the University of Toronto. Data collected through this pilot supports management, planning and policy needs.
  • Five hundred volunteers joined the City’s 2021 programs to help restore Toronto’s ravines through 80 events, planting 4481 native trees shrubs and wildflowers, stewarding over three hectares of natural parkland, and maintaining or improving over four kilometres of natural trails.
  • More than 197,000 native source-identified trees and shrubs will be supplied over 10 years through the Tree Seed Diversity Program – a long-term contract with Forests Ontario. This contract will improve genetic diversity and support an ecosystem that is more resilient to climate change impacts.
  • An Ecology Working Group was established, bringing together academic partners and subject matter experts from TRCA, Parks Canada, and the City, to identify research needs and work together to improve the natural environment in our ravines. They will explore topics such as monitoring and reporting on social, environmental and financial performance, climate change impacts, and international best practices in protecting urban natural areas.

Invest

  • The City of Toronto and TRCA completed an assessment, Ecosystem Service Values of the City of Toronto Ravine System, estimating the value of ecosystem services and the economic contribution of Toronto ravines to be worth $822 million annually. This estimates the benefits to people from the ravines, including recreation, physical and mental health, air quality, and carbon sequestration.
  • The City is investing $118.1 million in Toronto’s ravine system in 2022 through the Parks, Forestry and Recreation (PFR) Operating Budget ($12.6 million) and the 2022 Capital Budget across a variety of City divisions ($105.5 million) including PFR, Transportation Services and Toronto Water as well as the TRCA. This high-level estimate of investment will support the principles and actions of the Ravine Strategy and will implement projects across the ravine system that will increase climate resilience, improve safe and sustainable access to ravines, restore ecological health and function, and engage communities. A total of $47.9 million has been committed or applied for from the federal and provincial governments to support the implementation of the Ravine Strategy through:
    • $11.9 million from the federal Disaster Mitigation and Adaptation Fund (DMAF) for ravine, waterfront and environmental work to be completed by March 31, 2028.
    • Committed funding of $6.2 million from the federal and provincial Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program (ICIP) COVID-19 Resilience Fund for eight projects to be completed by December 31, 2023.
    • An application for $20 million from the federal Natural Infrastructure Fund for five projects to be completed by March 31, 2024. The application was submitted in December 2021 and is under review by the federal government.
    • An application for $0.3 million from the federal Nature Smart Climate Solutions Fund for one project to be completed by March 31, 2025. The application was submitted in January 2022 and is under review by the federal government.
    • $9.5 million for three ravine-based projects as part of the application for the federal Active Transportation Fund to be completed by March 31, 2026.  The application was submitted in March 2022 and is under review by the federal government.
  • A Capital Planning and Design Coordination Working Group was established to improve coordination in the planning and implementation of capital projects in ravines, such as erosion control, sewer pipes, and trails. These projects are delivered by several City divisions and the TRCA. This group identifies opportunities to coordinate, combine, or augment the timing, sequencing, and design of construction of projects in order to minimize the impact on the ecosystem, reduce costs, and provide opportunities for invasive species management and restoration.

Connect

  • Lower Don Trail improvements include a new pedestrian and cyclist bridge at Pottery Road, trail surface improvements, and the re-alignment and widening of the Belleville Underpass.
  • An Environmental Assessment for the East Don Trail was completed in 2017. Construction of Phase 2 was completed in November 2020. Phase 1 construction is currently underway.
  • The first two phases of Toronto’s Parks and Trails Wayfinding Strategy are completed. This Strategy created guidelines for a signage and information system that is making it easier for people to navigate ravines.
  • City Council has authorized staff to explore a new name, Wonscotonach Parklands, to create an identity for the network of interconnected parks and trails in the Lower Don Valley. Indigenous communities have been consulted on the name and further engagement and consultations are under way prior to a formal naming. An Indigenous name for the Lower Don parklands is just the beginning of working with Indigenous leadership on programming, place-making and identity projects.

Partner

  • The City collaborated with the TRCA and Evergreen through the Lower Don Fundraising and Partnership Agreement to raise more than $1 million through private donors for animation and temporary public art installations, as well as City-led capital projects, throughout the Lower Don Watershed.
  • Loop Trail: a partnership between the City of Toronto, Evergreen and the TRCA, the Loop Trail will create a continuous, 65-kilometre multi-use trail, knitting together five Ravine Priority Investment Areas and 22 Neighbourhood Improvement Areas. The related Mid-Humber Gap Trail Study is underway to study options for closing one of the gaps in the Loop Trail route.
  • The Meadoway: a collaboration with the City of Toronto, Weston Family Foundation and TRCA, will transform a hydro corridor in Scarborough into a vibrant 16-kilometre stretch of urban greenspace, creating east-west trail and wildlife habitat connections between the ravines from Rouge National Urban Park to the city center.
  • InTO the Ravines: a partnership funded by the City and delivered by Park People providing innovative public programming for communities to learn about and celebrate Toronto’s ravines.
  • Ravine Youth Team: this paid summer internship program for students is funded by the City and delivered in partnership with the TRCA in Toronto’s ravines. The program provides work experience, professional development and opportunities for youth to build and expand their networks through a wide range of activities that support and contribute to the Ravine Strategy. In 2021, 12 youth were employed for nine to 11 weeks.
  • Young Ravine Leaders Program: Funded by the City, LEAF (Local Enhancement and Appreciation of Forests) offers youth a free training program designed to provide an in-depth exploration of Toronto’s ravines, community stewardship and career development. More than 20 youth participated in this new program launched in September 2021.

Celebrate

  • Ravine Days are an annual city-wide celebration of our ravine system. First held in 2017, they were cancelled in 2020 due to COVID-19. Events about and throughout the ravines are held in collaboration with many ravine partners. In 2021, 96 events were held including musical performances, ravine tours and guided walks, virtual events and lunch-and-learns that help draw people to ravines, and engaged more than 3,000 participants.
  • Published the Homeowner’s Guide to Healthy Ravines (2018), which provides residents with an overview of best practices for managing and protecting ravines on their property.
  • In 2021, hundreds of people participated in the InTO the Ravines program, a partnership with Park People, in dozens of in-person or virtual events, including 28 events produced by 14 community groups who have received micro-grants.

Additional actions can be found in the January 8, 2020 staff report and May 10, 2022 staff report on Ravine Strategy Implementation.

The Ravine Strategy provides, for the first time, an intentional and coordinated vision and approach to managing this natural resource on an ongoing basis. Parks, Forestry and Recreation, City Planning, and Toronto Water developed the Strategy in consultation with other City divisions, the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA), the public and a wide range of stakeholders.

Since 2015 the City has been engaging with residents, stakeholders, community and charitable organizations, steering committees, and the Provincial and Federal governments to develop and implement the Ravine Strategy.

This Strategy supports and aligns with Toronto’s Official Plan other divisional strategies and plans such as:

While we aim to provide fully accessible content, there is no text alternative available for some of the content on this site. If you require alternate formats or need assistance understanding our maps, drawings, or any other content, please contact us at 416-392-3349 or ravinestrategy@toronto.ca.

Venn diagram showing how the Ravine Strategy overlaps with other City of Toronto strategies. All of the strategies fall within the Official Plan. The Ravine Strategy is in the center of the diagram touching all of the other strategies and plans. Shown in green are strategies related to nature and health: Strategic Forest Management Plan, Biodiversity Strategy, Tree Canopy Study, and Pollinator Strategy. Shown in blue are strategies related to water and resilience to climate change: Resiliency Strategy, Wet Weather Flow Master Plan, Erosion and Hazard Mitigation Strategy, and Green Streets Technical Guidelines. Shown in pink are strategies related to connections: Parkland Strategy, Parks Plan, TOcore: Downtown Parks and Public Realm Plan, Natural Environment Trail Strategy, TRCA Trail Strategy, and Cycling Network Plan

Volunteer with the City of Toronto

Join the City of Toronto and volunteer at tree, shrub and wildflower planting events in City parks. Other volunteer programs focus on ecological stewardship, natural surface trail maintenance, and environmental education. Upcoming seasonal opportunities:

InTO the Ravines

Park People’s InTO the Ravines program trains Community Champions who serve as ambassadors for the Ravine Strategy in their neighbourhoods. The InTO the Ravines program also offer micro-grants to organizations to deliver virtual and in-person events for their community around Ravine Strategy themes. Visit Park People for more information.

Ravine Youth Team

This paid summer internship program for post-secondary students, delivered in partnership with the TRCA, provides work experience, professional development and opportunities for youth to build and expand their networks through a wide range of activities that support and contribute to the Ravine Strategy. The job postings will be listed on the TRCA website.

Young Ravine Leaders Program

The Young Ravine Leaders Program offers youth a free training program designed to provide an in-depth exploration of Toronto’s ravines, community stewardship and career development. This program seeks to support Toronto youth from Neighbourhood Improvement Areas and from underrepresented groups within arboriculture and urban forestry, including but not limited to women, non-binary people, Indigenous peoples, newcomers, 2SLGBTQ+ persons and racialized individuals. Visit LEAF for more information.

Ravine Days

Ravine Days are an annual city-wide celebration of our ravine system. Events about and throughout the ravines are held in collaboration with various partners. Ravine Days events will be posted to the Festival and Events page.

Ravine Strategy in Action