While urban centres are often challenged to have sufficient green space, Toronto does well by maintaining - and even increasing - its commitment to nurture our natural environment. Toronto - located on a Lake Ontario escarpment - still retains an abundance of ravines and trails (although plenty were destroyed as the city developed). In fact, many people are surprised at how extensive our green space is, as it's not easily apparent in our automobile-centric lives; we currently have 1,600 existing parks and 600 kilometres of trails, which translates to about 8,000 hectares — about 13 per cent of Toronto’s overall land area. An article in the Financial Post outlined how Toronto’s urban forest is worth $7-billion — or $700 a tree!
Lucky for us residents, the City is not only committed to preserving the green space we already have, but in creating more leisure space for residents. For example, for each development project downtown, a developer must either donate parkland — if the site is large enough — or pay into the Parkland Dedication Fund, which uses the money to create new parks and refurbish existing ones. Pretty spectacular, eh?
And just this October, the gorvernment handed over more land to be protected under Parks Canada. The agreement transfers 6.5 square km of land from the province to Parks Canada for Rouge National Urban Park. Read the Toronto Star article here.
With all this green space speckled throughout the GTA, it means that 'getting away from it all' is an easier task than you might think. Given the City’s extensive park system of ravines, parks, and dedicated conservation areas, you can get lost among the trees with ease! Three that we particularly enjoy are Dufferin Grove Park, Sorauren Park, and Lytton Park. Are you a dog owner? Urbaneer team member Monika shares in her Animal House Series her Top Toronto Off-Leash Dog Parks!
One such outdoor oasis in nestled just East of the Don Valley Parkway, north of Eglinton. The Charles Sauriol Conservation Area was named after Charles Sauriol (obviously), who was born in Toronto in 1904 and was a passionate conservationist. It, as well as the abutting Anewen Greenbelt, are part of the extensive East Don River Trail system on the east side of the Don Valley Parkway and the Don River. After all, one of Sauriol's personal missions was preserving the natural state of the Don River, leading him to co-found the Don River Conservation Association in 1946. There's even an elementary school that bears his name near Dundas Street West and Dupont!
When Charles was a boy, the Don Valley would have looked largely untouched, like this:
In fact, the Don Valley was once considered cottage country! Here is Charles camping with his friends, followed by two cottages he owned in the area!
The conservation area itself is an unbeatable natural amenity for the surrounding community, boasting an urban forest, extensive biking and walking trails, small ponds, and the famous Rainbow Bridge. Given it's somewhat Northerly location, its wealth of green space is largely underused, and therefore often offers uninterrupted peace and quiet.
It's perfect for reading, picnicking, hiking, or simply providing respite from a sweltering summer day. It's also home to a vast array of wildlife and plant species - a little something for horticulturalists and ornithologists alike!
Representing a present-day example of the city's commitment to the preservation of nature, on October 18th of 2016, the John Tory government announced that the Don River Valley will be transformed into Toronto’s second largest downtown park – larger than High Park, but smaller than Rouge Park (3800 hectares). Once officially designated a park, and falling under the care of Toronto’s Parks, Forestry and Recreation Department, the first of changes made will be to carve new entrances into the valley to connect to the existing hidden paths. This will be followed by smart refurbishments, including new bridges that span the railroad tracks and river, more cycling and walking trails, outdoor art exhibits, and new way-finding signage that will help residents access and navigate the park.
While the Charles Sauriol Conservation Area does not directly fall under the boundaries of this new parkland endeavour, it is part of the green space corridor further north and will be connected. We'll have to see what changes the area might see. Read the full story here: 'From Boardwalks To Park Places, Toronto Reveals Plan For Don River Valley'
Whether you have an hour or an afternoon, spending time in your neighbourhood green space - or exploring new ones - is a great way to get some fresh air, soak up some much-needed Vitamin D, and even engage with your community.
Can you imagine if the Charles Sauriol Conservation Area was in your backyard - literally? Check out this House-Sized Highgate Condominium At Wynford/Eglinton, which is now SOLD!
Contact James Ormston to book a viewing today at email@example.com!
~ The Urbaneer Team
Steven Fudge, Sales Representative
& The Innovative Urbaneer Team
Bosley Real Estate Ltd., Brokerage - (416) 322-8000
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