“Our ravines and urban forests are our greatest civic treasure,” declares Torontonian James Ramsay-Brown. He notes that ravines help us connect with our natural world and each other. Toronto ravines purify our water, clean our air, define, sustain, protect, and invigorate us. Our ravines help provide balance to our city and to our lives. He invites us to explore our ravines and to let our ravines inspire us. It is obvious that the author loves Toronto’s ravines. He describes twenty-nine of Toronto’s hundred ravines. A map, photographs, and descriptions of what makes each ravine unique make me want to explore more of our ravines and see some of the wonders they contain.
Did you know that;
● Over 300 species of birds have been identified at the Leslie Street Spit
● Warden Woods is home to the scarce butternut tree
● Early industries like woolen mills, flour mills, paper mills, brickworks and even distilleries were built on the waterways in many ravines
● Glendon Forest is home to old-growth forest and at least thirty-seven species of rare flora
Of particular interest to LUNA this year is his section on Edwards Gardens and Wilket Creek Ravine, which includes eight photographs. This area once covered by ice age glaciers, inhabited by Canada’s indigenous people, settled by the Milne family (who built a weaving mill), dramatically altered by the Edwards family for their private gardens and golf course, and purchased by the city in 1955 - is now known as the Toronto Botanical Garden (TBG). The TBG now contains well- marked paths, both native and exotic plants, a teaching garden, interactive maps (available from Google Play or the App Store), a library, a café, public washrooms and many other features that make it a great place to start your own exploration of Toronto’s ravines and urban forests. Like the author of this book, I invite you to explore one or more of our treasured ravines.
You may also want to take a look at these two resources for information on Toronto’s Ravine system and strategy for protecting “this city’s greatest civic treasure.”
3:02 minute video of the ravine system and strategy:
Fifty-five page Ravine Strategy document:
Book review by Jan Kraus