At the Forks
Launches Tenth Year
with New Website and Events Calendar
launch our tenth year, to be celebrated at our November annual
general meeting, FODE is pleased both to announce the creation
of our new website with a new url, www.fode.ca, and to provide
a calendar of spring and summer events on the back page. It's
been a fantastic ten years and we thank all our members, supporters,
years ago, FODE became one of the first community-directed,
watershed-based non-profit organizations to be established in
Toronto. From humble beginnings lead by founding co-chairs Steve
Peck and Paula Davies, last year we delivered 15 public education
and community engagement activities involving over 600 people
who donated more than 3,000 hours of volunteer time for the
protection and regeneration of the Don watershed, including
walks, talks, clean-ups, plantings, Another Yard for the Don,
and the new Trees Count program.
were also active recently in work to secure the designation
of Crothers Woods as an ESA and in opposing the Leslie Street
extension, the first Redway Road proposal, and the first proposal
to expand the Don Valley Parkway.
big question is - What's next?
the broadest scale, we are moving from a focus on single issues
to broader societal ones based on the need to establish healthy
and sustainable communities. So mark your calendars now for
the April 23 discussion on Neighbourhood Strategies to Protect
the Urban Canopy and the May 21 meeting on the Pesticide Bylaw,
Organic Gardening and Integrated Pest Management. More specifically,
we have developed a preliminary schedule of 15 events, as listed
on the back page, and we are already working to develop several
new or revised programs, including Take a Hike and DonWatchers,
as described on the website. We are also currently developing
positions on or programs that relate to Smart Growth, the Wet
Weather Flow Master Plan, and the Don Valley Corridor Transportation
will we succeed?
Only with the on-going support and participation of you - our
members, supporters, and partners. And only if our programs
attract meaningful participation. If you think living in a healthy
and sustainable community is a valuable goal, come on out, meet
some new friends, have some fun, learn lots, join FODE, and
help us protect the urban canopy, aquatic areas, and the quality
of life in Toronto. For ourselves and future generations.
Search of the Wild Path
by Jurgen Braunohler
I was asked to hike through Pine Hills Cemetery as a lead-up
to our May 25th walk there, I jumped at the chance. I love exploring,
even a muddy tramp through melting snow. And I discovered that
Pine Hills is one of those hidden city gems that awaits discovery
by those who normally never go to cemeteries. It is a large
and well-treed area not far from Warden Woods where the Don
Valley's greatest conservationist, the late Charles Sauriol,
first camped as a boy scout.
I started at the Visitor Centre, where we'll start May 25, and
walked southeast. After crossing the last internal roadway,
I headed just to the left of a solitary white birch tree and
downhill to the river, mindful of the rows of flat slabs in
the grass. They are grave markers, not stepping-stones. A cluster
of outfalls fills a small pool that empties into the watercourse,
Taylor Massey Creek, which disappears to the east under Birchmount
and St. Clair Ave on its way to Warden Woods. But you are headed
the opposite way, in search of the wild path.
At the first traffic bridge, cross the road but not the bridge,
and head past a small rain shelter and downhill. A dirt path
suddenly forms, and ahead lies another world of greenery and
birches. At the time of my hike, it was a world also of barren
grey trunks amid the conifers and patches of snow. I heard the
chirpings of the first birds. A wooden footbridge crosses the
river, and the path follows the east bank of the watercourse
to a second traffic bridge that must be crossed to the river's
left bank. Follow the handrails downhill to find the trail once
again close by the water.
The creek snakes between meadows with an assortment of vegetation,
to the delight of those who venture through to the end of this
ravine. My reward was to mush through meltwater trapped in the
reeds, held back in nature's way to seep slowly into the river
instead of sluicing off. To the left of the big boulder at the
end is a crude and nearly hidden staircase of wooden beams leading
through brush. It's the only way out, if the brush doesn't become
too thick to penetrate in warmer weather.
At the north-east corner of the property, hikers get a choice.
The north-bound trail leads out of the cemetery to Foxridge
Drive at Kennedy Road. If you cross Foxridge, there is more
trail that can be explored north to Eglinton. The other path
turns westward into a wilderness, but look carefully to find
it. Here one hears no traffic, and spring run-off leaves large
pools of water. Watch for a blooming panorama of plant life,
before heading uphill a short way into a forest and a change
us at the Reception Center at 9:00 on Sunday May
25 for an exciting walk to be lead by Jack Radecki,
Head Forester of Pine Hills Cemetery. Pedestrian access
via the south west corner at St Clair and Birchmount and
the north-east near Kennedy and Foxridge. Vehicular access
off Birchmont north of St Clair. Gates open until 8 pm during
daylight savings time. Reception Center has maps and a washroom
but closes at 5 pm.
Yard for the Don gears up
By Erica Wilson
all gathered on a snowy November evening at Todmorden Mills
Museum to congratulate and reward the best ecological gardeners
in the Don Watershed.
Representatives from the Jackman Millenium
Garden accept their award at the November Ceremony.
year the program received a number of nominations from schools,
churches and other institutions in the Don Watershed. Recognizing
that these groups have a very special and important role to
play in educating and spreading the word about ecological gardening,
and recognizing that it is difficult to compare the work being
done by schools, churches and other institutions to residential
yards, the judging committee added a category of awards for
Community Groups and Institutional Gardens. We will continue
to accept nominations for this category in 2003.
We were also pleased that Siri and Lutz Luckow received 2nd
place in theenvironmental category of the City of Toronto garden
contest which is held city wide every year to award gardeners
in the residential, institutional and environmental categories.
Another Yard for the Don submits our best garden to be included
in the environmental category of the City Wide Garden contest.
Another Yard for the Don Program would like to thank
our volunteers for their help with judging, publicizing the
program, helping with media events and garden tours.
Our thanks to Tom Atkinson, Grif Cunningham, Juliette Del Junco,
The Newel Family, Peggie Sampson, the Sheedy Family & Tom
Stevens. Councillor Jane Pitfiled, Councillor Denzil Minnan-Wong
and MPP Michael Prue served as Honorary Judges.
If you are interested in judging, offering your garden for our
garden tour, helping with media, publicity or to talk about
other opportunities in 2003, please contact Erica at 416 466
9153 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Another Yard for the Don Winners
& Lutz Luckow
Messier & Ian Partridge
& Denis Freeman
& Dan Irwin
& John Krug
(This was a special award this year. Mr Martin has
done an amazing job with his yard, which backs on to a
ravine that is part of the Rouge watershed. Even though
it is not 'Another Yard for the Don', we wanted
to reward his efforts.)
Groups and Institutional Gardens:
is Another Yard for the Don?
time it rains, stormwater run-off can carry spilled or misapplied
chemicals including pesticides, herbicides, fungicides,
and automotive or industrial chemicals into local creeks
and lakes, harming plant and animal life before continuing
toward Lake Ontario, the source of most local drinking water.
addition, water flowing from rooftops into downspouts that
are connected to storm drains moves rapidly into local watercourses,
creating storm flows that can cause erosion and damage fish
doesn't have to be this way.
why FODE established the Another Yard for the Don Program:
to promote environmentally-friendly water-management and gardening
practices, and to recognize efforts to improve water quality,
provide wildlife habitat, and/or increase native plants.
can I do to help the Don watershed?
downspouts discharging directly into storm sewers
a rain barrel or create a pond or swale for downspout water
lawns: mow high, aerate, and plant drought-tolerant grass
you have to water your lawn, water in the early morning
drip irrigation or other low-volume methods of watering,
low-water varieties of plants
organic gardening, avoiding the use of harmful pesticides,
herbicides, fungicides, and other chemicals for cosmetic
native varieties of trees, shrubs, and plants
areas that need to be mowed and/or watered. Consider groundcovers,
wildflower meadows, and other plants
household waste into valuable compost
and provide bird, butterfly, and other animal habitat with
trees, berry-bearing bushes, bird feeders, and bird-baths
landscaping or lawn care services only if they adhere to
professional Integrated Pest Management certification protocols
and share your own brilliant eco-gardening tip with FODE
have awards for those just starting to make their yards more
environmentally responsible as well as for those who have
been improving the ecology of their properties for many years.
Just fill out the nomination
form for yourself or a neighbour. We will call you for
more information or to arrange a time for your garden to be
visited by one of our judges. All winners will be invited
to an Awards Ceremony in November.
a Bite out of West Nile
by Erica Wilson
are one of those insects that are often an annoyance. They can
ruin a lovely, relaxing stretch on your patio by buzzing in
your ears and leaving you with uncomfortable, itchy bumps. At
these times, it's hard to remember that these little creatures
are important in the Toronto ecosystem, as they are a part of
the diet of species such as bats, birds and fish.
A more uncomfortable issue surrounding mosquitoes is of course
the West Nile virus, which has recently appeared in our area.
Luckily, it is relatively hard to get. Less than one per cent
of all mosquitoes become infected and less than one percent
of people bitten by the infected mosquitoes suffer from serious
health effects (Canadian Health Network). As the City contemplates
the prospect of using larvicides as one method to control the
West Nile virus, it is important to remember that everyone can
help by eliminating stagnant standing water, the prime breeding
ground for these mosquitoes.
Here are some practical things you can do:
Garden Visit will get you on the path
to a healthy yard
Guest article by Andrew Roy
Toronto Green Community's (NTGC) Green Garden Visit (GGV) is
proud to support Friends of the Don East in their goals to promote
healthy yard practices in the Don Watershed. While FODE emphasizes
awards to encourage positive behaviour change; the Green Garden
Visit offers fee-for- service yard consultations, support and
services to homeowners, which would benefit those who wish to
know where to start or are looking for input at any stage of
gardening in how to achieve the ecological yard of their dreams.
The combination of these approaches of awards, consultation
and community support, are instrumental in achieving a shift
in norms that will transform the landscapes and watersheds we
About the Green Garden Visit
The Green Garden Visit works with clients' needs and wants and
identifies garden opportunities that have multiple ecological,
economic and aesthetic benefits.
Examples of recommendations include native and edible tree,
shrub and herbaceous species that serve multiple purposes -
look beautiful, reduce ecological footprint and reduce the time
and resources necessary to maintain healthy yards. The GGV also
provides a kit customized to the interest of the client with
information about existing projects, products and services that
will assist the homeowner in implementing the recommendations
provided at the visit.
Other offerings of the Green Garden Visit include: ecosystem
design with native trees and plants; edible landscape design
with heritage vegetables and herbs; and organic lawn care or
lawn replacement support.
The Green Garden Visit will nominate eligible yards to the Another
Yard for the Don Awards Program NTGC looks forward to working
with Friends of the Don East to bring greening to communities
in Toronto's watersheds.
Andrew Roy coordinates the Green Garden Visit with the North
Toronto Green Community which is one of our program partners.
For more information or to sign up for a Green Garden Visit,
call 416 781 7663 or visit their website at www.greengardenvisit.ca.
continues to research how the possible re-development of lands
above Burke Brook may impact the creek. See the section on Issues
/ Smart Growth and Burke Brook at www.fode.ca. We also hope
to have a walk in Burke Brook in the fall.
Wet Weather Flow Master Plan and Taylor Massey
people braved one of the coldest nights of the winter to attend
the public meeting on Feb 23 and hear about the City's 25 year/
$1 Billion wet weather flow master plan and how it might address
water quality and quantity problems in Taylor Massey, as well
as to hear about regeneration plans for the lower 4 kilometres
of the Creek, from Victoria Park to the Forks. For information
on the Wet Weather plan, see the last section of Links
Don Valley Corridor Transportation Master
the years, FODE has opposed the proposed extension of Leslie
Street, the first proposal to extend Redway Road, and the first
proposal to expand the DVP itself while consistently calling
for natural heritage protection, community-based planning, and
improved mass transit. We shared that message at a public meeting
held April 3 to discuss the new Don Valley Corridor Transportation
Master Plan (DVCTMP), as well as our willingness to retain an
open mind to elements of the DVCTMP that could offer significant
improvements toward the evolution of Toronto as a more healthy
and sustainable city based with improvements for mass transit,
greenhouse gas reduction, and urban air quality. Information
on the DVCTMP exercise can be seen at http://www.toronto.ca/planning/dvp.htm.