If your property is located either entirely or partially within a ravine protected area, you may be required to apply to the City for a permit prior to undertaking any work that includes the injury or removal of a tree, placing or dumping fill or refuse, or altering the existing grade of land.

The Ravine and Natural Feature Protection By-law protects public and private natural areas that are vulnerable to degradation due to removal of trees or changes in grade.

In the areas protected by the bylaw you may not, without a permit:

  • injure or destroy any tree;
  • change the natural land topography, by excavation or adding soil or other materials on slopes;
  • dump or place any type of debris including garden waste, leaves and branches;
  • construct new or replacement structures or retaining walls.

Determining if the bylaw applies to your project

In Person

You can use the Property Data Maps at Building Division Counters in each Planning District to determine if the Natural Feature Protection By-law applies to your proposed development. The applicant should have it marked on their survey or other plan drawn to a suitable scale of the site. This service costs $72.37 plus tax (subject to change) and can be requested of City of Toronto, Information and Technology, Geospatial Competency Centre, Map Service Counter, 18 Dyas Road, 4th Floor, Toronto M3B 1V5. Call 416-392-2506 or e-mail to mapsales@toronto.ca to arrange a suitable time for notation of the ravine limit on your survey.

Online

Determine if the Natural Feature Protection By-law applies to your proposed development by using the Ravine and Natural Feature Protection By-law Map.

Map instructions:

  1. Enter your address
  2. Click on the search button
    • If more than one result is returned they will be listed below the maps. This usually only happens if no number is entered or if a duplicate street name exists between the former municipalities.
    • If this happens select the property of interest and the map will take you to the property selected.
  3. The Ravine & Natural Feature Protection By-Law layer is located under the Administrative Boundaries section of the Legend. Click on Administrative Boundaries (plus + sign) to reveal layers.
  4. Different details or features are available based on your zoom level. To see the Ravine & Natural Feature Protection By-law layer as it relates to a property you must zoom closer to the property in question.

Applicable bylaws:

More information about Ravines and Natural Features

Applications will undergo preliminary review to determine their completeness but cannot be processed if incomplete.

If your proposed development requires Site Plan Approval or a Building Permit the application will be reviewed concurrently. Issuance of the permit will be made only after Site Plan Approval or conditional upon a Building Permit being issued.

General Instructions:

In order to ensure acceptance of your application, please check this list to make sure your submission meets all City requirements as follows:

  • Fill out a Ravine and Natural Feature Permit Application Form
  • Provide a completed and signed copy of the Owners Authorization to Submit an Application Form
  • A copy of the most recent Zoning Notice for the proposed construction, if applicable
  • A copy of a recent legal Plan of Survey or a plan accurately drawn to a suitable scale of the site. The plan must show the limits of the protected area as described in the Ravine and Natural Protection By-law and associated maps.
  • A site plan with the following information where applicable:
    • the footprint of existing building(s),
    • the outline of the proposed building(s) including any decks and underground foundation extensions,
    • the property line based on survey information,
    • existing and proposed grades at the perimeter and within the site itself, including the grades for all exterior
    • landscaped areas,
    • any existing or proposed easements,
    • all building entrances,
    • all driveways and paved areas for vehicles,
  • Forestry/Arborist Report providing:
    • details and conditions of any existing trees, the site and adjacent properties, within 12 m of any construction activity;
    • a tree protection plan for trees to be retained;
    • tree pruning requirements;
    • and, a maintenance plan for newly planted trees and shrubs through 2 year warranty period.
  • Landscape/Forest Restoration Plans. The plans must include the following information where applicable:
    • all existing and proposed hard-surface landscape elements identified as such. These include sidewalks, driveways, fences, retaining walls, steps, decks, patios and swimming pools
    • cross-section details for all hard surface elements proposed to be located within the protected ravine area of the lot or less than 10 metres from the top-of-bank of the ravine
    • all proposed soft landscaping features, including planting details and plant lists
    • all existing and proposed lighting
    • all existing trees. Note those trees, if any, which are proposed for removal, indicating species and size (dbh: diameter at breast height)
    • all proposed replacement trees, if any, indicating species and size (dbh: diameter at breast height)
  • Grading Plans, where applicable
  • Geotechnical Report outlining:
    • soil conditions,
    • slope stability,
    • proposed drainage,
    • construction sediment/drainage control plan,
    • and measures to be taken to protect the stability of the ravine slope

Please note that applications, which are incomplete due to a lack of, or inadequate information, cannot be processed.

Plans and Specifications

All plans shall be prepared to the following specifications:

  • folded individually to 215 mm x 350 mm (8.5” x 14”) or 215 mm x 278 mm (8.5” x 11”) with the title block exposed;
  • drawn at and dimensioned in an appropriate scale, in metric;
  • municipal address, names of adjacent streets, project name, applicant’s name, name of firm preparing plans;
  • drawing title and number, preparation date, dates of any revision, north arrow.

Arborist

An expert in the care and maintenance of trees and includes an arborist qualified by the Ontario Training and Adjustment Board Apprenticeship and Client Services Branch, a certified arborist qualified by the International Society of Arboriculture, a consulting arborist registered with the American Society of Consulting Arborists, a registered professional forester or a person with other similar qualifications as approved by the General Manager.

Destroy

To remove, cut down or in any other way injure a tree to such an extent that it is deemed by the General Manager to be an imminently hazardous tree or is no longer viable and it becomes necessary to remove the tree.

Fill

Earth, sand, gravel, rubble, rubbish, garbage, or any other material whether similar to or different from any of these materials, whether originating on the site or elsewhere, used or capable of being used to raise, lower, or in any way, effect the contours of the ground.

Geotechnical Report

A report that refers to soil stability and conditions related to erosion and/or slope instability, prepared by a Geotechnical Engineer, Geological Engineer, Hydrologist or related professional.

Grade

A defined elevation of land that has been established as a result of geologic, hydrologic, or other natural processes or by human alteration; that defines ravines, depressions, hills, stream channels, eskers and steepness of terrain.

Imminent Hazard

A destabilized or structurally compromised tree that is in imminent danger of causing damage or injury to life or property.

Injure

  1. Not protecting trees in accordance with the City’s “Tree Protection Policy and Specifications for Construction Near Trees” or other standards set by the General Manager.
  2. Any act or omission which will harm a tree’s health in any manner.

Grade changes within areas that are regulated by the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA). Urban Forestry will require evidence that TRCA has issued a permit.

Removal of a terminally diseased, dead or imminently hazardous tree, certified as such by the General Manager. Urban Forestry will provide clearance once they have confirmed the condition of the tree(s).

Pruning of a tree in accordance with good arboricultural practice to maintain the health of the tree. Examples of reasons for such pruning include the following:

  • Pruning to encourage the natural form of the tree species;
  • Pruning to remove dead limbs;
  • Pruning to maintain structural stability and balance of a tree.

It may be detrimental to tree health to prune to reduce the shading effect of tree branches or to improve a view and such action is not acceptable under the City of Toronto tree by-laws.

Cultivation or tilling of garden beds as long as such work does not alter or create slopes at greater than 10 percent.

Placing of soil involving an amount of less than five cubic metres for the purposes of maintaining existing manicured areas.