Imagine a Toronto with flourishing natural habitats and an urban environment made safe for a great diversity of wildlife species. Envision a city whose residents treasure their daily encounters with the remarkable and inspiring world of nature, and the variety of plants and animals who share this world. Take pride in a Toronto that aspires to be a world leader in the development of urban initiatives that will be critical to the preservation of our flora and fauna.

Draft Biodiversity Strategy

Wild, connected and diverse! Can these words really describe a city the size of Toronto? This is the aim of the City of Toronto’s first ever draft Biodiversity Strategy released for public review in July 2018. The Strategy aims to make Toronto more wild, connected and diverse by:

  • increasing the quality and quantity of natural habitat;
  • designing the built environment to be more bio-diverse and have less impacts on the natural environment; and
  • increasing access to and awareness of nature in the city.

The draft Strategy was developed with input from Toronto’s Biodiversity Series, the Chief Planner’s Roundtable on Biodiversity, and discussions with environmental groups, the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority, and other biodiversity experts. Following the direction of the Parks and Environment Committee, the City is consulting on the Draft Strategy (with changes recommended by Parks and Environment Committee) with a range of audiences, including staff from public agencies, academic institutions, community organizations, local environmental advocacy groups, and others. The Biodiversity Strategy supports other City initiatives such as the Toronto Ravine Strategy and Pollinator Protection Strategy.

Strategy Timeline

July 2018 – Spring 2019: Ongoing consultation with public, stakeholder groups and City of Toronto staff

January 2019: Second Meeting of Biodiversity Strategy Advisory Group (external Stakeholders)

November 2018: First meeting of Biodiversity Strategy Advisory Group (external Stakeholders)

July 2018: Report to Parks and Environment Committee

May 2017: Chief Planners Round Table on Biodiversity

A number of these non-human residents of Toronto are profiled in the biodiversity series of booklets below. It is hoped that despite the severe biodiversity loss due to massive urbanization, pollution, invasive species, habitat loss and climate change, the Biodiversity Booklet Series helps re-connect people with the natural world, and raises awareness of the seriousness that biodiversity loss represents and how it affects them directly. The series will help cultivate a sense of stewardship in residents; inform the City on the current state of local biodiversity and how current City policies, procedures and operations can be enhanced, altered or revised in order to help mitigate local biodiversity loss. The booklets will be available at your local City of Toronto Public Library branch and in PDF format below.

For copies of Birds of Toronto; Trees, Shrubs and Vines of Toronto; or Mushrooms of Toronto, please contact

Butterflies of Toronto
This book is not a field guide in the typical sense, but aims to share with you the expertise of local butterfly watchers (lepidopterists), scientists, conservationists and city planners. Inside you will find profiles of some of our most beautiful species, a checklist and images of all those you may see, where you can go to see them, threats to their survival, and what you can do to help them thrive in our wonderful city. (Published 2011; Revised 2015)

Spiders of Toronto
This book highlights how spiders are among the most diverse groups of organisms on earth. There are over 42,000 known species. These fascinating creatures deserve our respect and are an important part of the biodiversity of our area. Spiders are predatory arachnids (invertebrate animals with jointed legs) that feed mainly on insects. Many of their prey cause considerable damage to our crops, our forests and our gardens. Learn more with this booklet from the biodiverse series. (Published 2012)

Fishes of Toronto Book – Part 1 / Fishes of Toronto Book – Part 2
Water pollution and traditional development methods continue to be serious threats to habitat and the fishes in our waters. We must all do our part to reduce pollution, whether from vehicles, industry, or our homes. The City of Toronto hopes that this informative booklet will increase the appreciation for the wonders living in our waters and encourages everyone to do everything they can to protect the fishes of Toronto for current and future generations. (Published 2012)

Mammals of Toronto Book – Part 1 / Mammals of Toronto Book – Part 2
This book is a little bit of history mixed in with educational information in field guide format, along with some insightful advice on living with wildlife in an urban setting.

Bees of Toronto
This book aims to introduce the reader to the great variety and spectacular
beauty of these essential, yet often maligned, little insects. Bees are beautiful, diverse, important, and essential components of almost all terrestrial ecosystems.