The 17 per cent solution
Protected ravine lands account for 17 per cent of the city’s total land area. The need to attend to a slew of safety and environmental issues and grow this natural resource for future generations has become a top priority at council
Toronto’s complex and massive system of ravines is the lifeblood of our neighbourhoods: our playgrounds, our creative inspiration and our recreational outlet.
An incredible 17 per cent of total land area is protected ravine, and 60 per cent of that figure is public land. New York City may have Central Park, but we have incredible and wild nature snaking through the city. Neighbourhoods such as Rosedale, Forest Hill and Leaside have access to some of the most beautiful parkland in the city.
With a new ravine strategy approaching the municipal finish line, the city is finally recognizing how important this green space is and is taking steps to make it even better for future generations to enjoy.
“Toronto’s ravines are critical to our identity and wellbeing,” said Jennifer Keesmaat, as part of the draft ravine strategy the city is finishing. “We need to take necessary steps to ensure that these spaces can be enjoyed and continue to function and flourish for the next 100 years and beyond.”
In Toronto, ravines are the backdrop for everything from doggie off-leash zones in areas such as Sherwood Park to the massive picnic areas of Sunnybrook. Toronto can look forward to better signage, natural linkages for easy exploration, more art, more recreation and even new parks such as the massive Don River Park announced by Mayor John Tory last fall. (Some images pictured courtesy of a new book An Enduring Wilderness, with photos by Robert Burley)
Clockwise from far left: A well-loved ravine tree, John Tory makes Don River Park announcement at Evergreen Brick Works, a makeshift shelter and a nature-loving dog
L–R: A running event snakes through a central Toronto ravine, a tennis court in the East Don Parklands and a little afternoon fishing on one of the city’s rivers