Toronto’s Ravines and Urban Forests

Their natural heritage and local history

No matter where you are in Toronto, you are close to a ravine. In these often-hidden places you can find an astonishing diversity of birds, flowers, and trees. Jason Ramsay-Brown has spent twenty years exploring the more than one hundred ravines, parks, and urban forests within Toronto’s boundaries. For this book he has selected the thirty natural areas most rewarding to visitors, and provided accounts of what you will encounter there — and what you can learn of the city’s history as well.

The variety of flora and fauna is astonishing. In one park alone, the Leslie Street Spit, more than three hundred species of birds have been identified since the turn of the millennium. The increasingly scarce butternut tree can be found in Warden Woods, and wildlife such as deer, beaver, foxes, and coyotes are often spotted along many ravine trails.

Jason tells the story of ongoing efforts of ecological restoration and stewardship to protect these habitats and ecosystems, such as the wetlands of Taylor Creek Park and the old-growth forest within Glendon Forest. The ravines also contain many landmarks of local history: rumours of buried British gold in Scarborough’s Gates Gully, large First Nations encampments near L’Amoureaux Park, and early industries like Todmorden Mills.

With extensive visuals illustrating all thirty ravines and forests from across the city, this book offers something for every Torontonian and every visitor.

Contributors

Jason Ramsay-Brown

JASON RAMSAY-BROWN is President of the Toronto Field Naturalists and represented TFN on the City of Toronto's Ravine Strategy Advisory Group in 2015/2016. He served for many years as a volunteer on the Todmorden Mills Wildflower Preserve Stewardship Team, Beechwood Wetland Stewardship Team, and as a Planting Captain with the City of Toronto. Jason lectures extensively all across Toronto, advocating for the protection and growth of Toronto's ravines and the preservation of their remarkable biodiversity.

Chapter Contributors Pages Year Price
Naturalist Jason Ramsay-Brown describes how changes in government policy and community use over the last five years are influencing the health and welfare of Toronto’s natural heritage …
2 $0.20
Naturalist Jason Ramsay-Brown defines Toronto’s ravines and urban forests as the city’s greatest civic treasure. He asserts that the definition of a "world class city" is …
2 $0.20
Naturalist Jason Ramsay-Brown describes Altona Forest, an ecologically-rich natural area in the Petticoat Creek watershed on the border of Pickering and Toronto. He uses Altona to reflect upon …
5 $0.50
Naturalist Jason Ramsay-Brown introduces Rouge National Urban Park, one of Toronto’s largest natural areas, which dominates some 13 per cent of the Rouge River watershed. He describes how …
9 $0.90
Naturalist Jason Ramsay-Brown describes Colonel Danforth and Lower Highland Creek Parks, located in Toronto’s Highland Creek watershed. He uses these parks to introduce local native fungi …
5 $0.50
Naturalist Jason Ramsay-Brown describes East Point Park and its Bird Sanctuary, overlooking Lake Ontario from atop Toronto’s Scarborough Bluffs. He outlines the impressive diversity of …
3 $0.30
Naturalist Jason Ramsay-Brown uses Gates Gully (Belamy Ravine), which cleaves through the Scarborough Bluffs, to illustrate how local history, natural heritage, art, and culture intersect …
8 $0.80
Naturalist Jason Ramsay-Brown describes Warden Woods, an important ecological and geological area located in Toronto’s Taylor-Massey Creek sub-watershed. He addresses issues of natural …
5 $0.50
Naturalist Jason Ramsay-Brown describes Taylor Creek Park, a historically-important and high-use recreational park located in Toronto’s Taylor-Massey Creek sub-watershed. He illustrates how …
9 $0.90
Naturalist Jason Ramsay-Brown describes Glen Stewart Ravine in Toronto’s Beach neighbourhood and the genetically-valuable population of red oak (quercus rubra) it supports. He illustrates …
4 $0.40
Naturalist Jason Ramsay-Brown uses L’Amoreaux North Park and Passmore Forest, located in Toronto’s Highland Creek watershed, to illustrate how the growth of the city has impacted both …
6 $0.60
Naturalist Jason Ramsay-Brown describes Terraview and Willowfield Gardens Parks, located near the artificial headwaters of Taylor-Massey Creek, and focal point for Toronto’s fledgling …
6 $0.60
Naturalist Jason Ramsay-Brown describes Charles Sauriol Conservation Reserve and Milne Hollow, located in Toronto’s Don River watershed. He celebrates the historic contributions made by …
7 $0.70
Naturalist Jason Ramsay-Brown describes Brookbanks Park, located along Deerlick Creek in Toronto’s Don River watershed. He uses the park to illustrate how the ecological and historic …
6 $0.60
Naturalist Jason Ramsay-Brown describes the novel ecosystem of Toronto’s Leslie Street Spit (Tommy Thompson Park), a five-hundred-hectare constructed peninsula built from decommissioned …
8 $0.80
Naturalist Jason Ramsay-Brown describes Toronto’s Forks of the Don, a natural, cultural, and historical nexus where the waters of Taylor-Massey Creek merge with the East & West Don …
3 $0.30
Naturalist Jason Ramsay-Brown describes E. T. Seton Park, one of the most vibrant recreational areas in Toronto’s Don River watershed. Here, nature provides a scenic backdrop to biking, …
5 $0.50
Naturalist Jason Ramsay-Brown explores the relationship between the Toronto Botanical Garden, Edwards Gardens and Wilket Creek Park, a crossroads of native, exotic, and invasive plant life in …
7 $0.70
Naturalist Jason Ramsay-Brown describes the Lower Don Recreational Trail, a commuting and recreational corridor that cuts through Toronto nature and history. He explores how ongoing cultural and …
6 $0.60
Naturalist Jason Ramsay-Brown describes the section of the Don River watershed where visitors will discover Crothers Woods, Beechwood Wetland, Cottonwood Flats, and Sun Valley. He discusses how …
7 $0.70
Naturalist Jason Ramsay-Brown describes the Todmorden Mills Wildflower Preserve, "one of the most wonderful fifteen minute hikes Toronto has to offer." Following intense human use over …
8 $0.80
Naturalist Jason Ramsay-Brown describes Glendon Forest, one the largest forests in Toronto and home to one of the most vital wetlands in the Don River watershed. He illustrates the severe threat …
7 $0.70
Naturalist Jason Ramsay-Brown descends Toronto’s Moore Park Ravine down to the Brick Works, describing how activity in the area has impacted architecture, transportation, politics, …
7 $0.70
Naturalist Jason Ramsay-Brown describes the East Don Parkland, a sprawling and ill-defined natural area located in Toronto’s Don River watershed. Particular attention is paid to the spectre …
5 $0.50
Naturalist Jason Ramsay-Brown explores the lost rivers and roads of Rosedale Ravine, a natural area in Toronto’s Don River watershed that encompasses the Vale of Avoca, David A. Balfour …
7 $0.70
Naturalist Jason Ramsay-Brown describes Toronto’s Nordheimer Ravine, home to Glen Edyth & Roycroft wetlands and a thriving tradition of citizen stewardship. He uses Nordheimer to …
5 $0.50
Naturalist Jason Ramsay-Brown describes Cedarvale Ravine, located in Toronto’s Don River watershed. Through Cedarvale, he illustrates how urban development has threatened and transformed …
5 $0.50
Naturalist Jason Ramsay-Brown describes the Humber Bay Butterfly Habitat, an ecologically-restored area along Lake Ontario in Toronto’s Humber River watershed. He explores how the Butterfly …
5 $0.50
Naturalist Jason Ramsay-Brown describes King’s Mill and Humber Marshes Parks in Toronto’s Humber River watershed, home to the pre-settlement Carrying-Place Trail and one of the areas …
8 $0.80
Naturalist Jason Ramsay-Brown explores the unusual botanical makeup of Toronto’s Echo Valley Park, once a fruit and nut farm operated by "Canada’s nut man," George Hebden Corsan.
4 $0.40
Naturalist Jason Ramsay-Brown describes Etobicoke Valley Park, an idyllic strip of forested parkland found in Toronto’s far west end.
3 $0.30
Naturalist Jason Ramsay-Brown describes the precedent-setting transformation of Toronto’s Gatineau Hydro Corridor in to The Meadoway, and the unlocking of hundreds of hectares of new space …
7 $0.70