LPRO is active in many park and ravine initiatives in and around our area, some of which are described below. Although we have some lovely parks and other forms of green space, the City has identified Lytton Park, Yonge & Eglinton, and many North Toronto areas as park deficient relative to other areas of the City. LPRO advocates for park expansion, new parks, securing parkland when developments are proposed, and preserving our ravines.
(BUTTERFLY PARK HEALING GARDEN)
On September 13, The Bereaved Families of Ontario (bfotoronto.ca) again held their Annual Butterfly Release in the Duplex Parkette, adjacent to their Healing Garden. Each year, this event offers people a concrete way to honour the memory of their loved ones. It was an inspiring and comforting event.
Due to Covid, there were both morning and afternoon release sessions and the event was live-streamed. Over the course of the day approximately 90 people attended in person and another 24 online. There were175 butterflies released in memory of 101 people.
Butterflies are symbols of hope, transformation, endurance and renewal. Attendees have said that the day is ‘magical’ and a way to connect with and honour those they have lost as well as a way to come together as a community. This is particularly important in our current period of social isolation.
The Healing Garden is at the entrance to the parkette, right next door to 2908 Yonge St (at the corner of Chatsworth). As an aside, the preservation of this cherished part of our parkland is one of LPRO’s priorities as it confronts large development creep on sites which border the park. To that end LPRO is pleased to announce that the developer of 2908 Yonge St. has agreed to make a donation to the Healing Garden as one of the conditions of the redevelopment of the site. (see writeup on 2908 Yonge Street)
From Councillor Mike Colle’s Newsletter:
“I am working with the Lytton Park Residents Organization and the community to rename the Duplex Parkette (2906 Yonge Street at Chatsworth) to Butterfly Park. This would align with the Healing Garden planted within the park where Bereaved Families of Ontario-Toronto hosts their annual Butterfly Release where butterflies are released in memory of lost loved ones.”
Board members of LPRO have been actively involved with the Eglinton Park Master Plan over the past three years. Creation of a new plan for the park was part of the Midtown in Focus study to address the need to update this sizable green space due to the increased community use. Currently redevelopment plans are ‘on-hold’ due to the pandemic with the exception of some much needed improvements to the north-south path on the east side of the park. We will continue to monitor and report on developments as they occur.
LPRO is the ‘eyes and ears’ in the community, identifying park signs that are in need of repair and following up with Toronto Parks, Forestry and
Recreation to make sure they are aware of the need for repair or replacement. Thanks to LPRO’s efforts signs at Lytton Park and at Chatsworth Ravine were replaced in 2019.
If you notice signage that needs the City’s attention, please let us know by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
NEW PARK AT CASTLEFIELD AND DUPLEX AVENUES
When the development application was submitted for the Capitol Theatre site, the developer attempted to purchase the land currently occupied by the Green P Parking Lot in order to extend the development to Duplex. LPRO was a strong voice in opposition to several aspects of the application, including advocating for green space on the parking lot site.
We are pleased to report that the sale of the parking lot to the developer did not proceed, and that a portion of the parking lot land will be dedicated to a new park for our neighbourhood!
PHRAGMITES IN TORONTO'S RAVINES AND WATERSHED
Phragmites, Phragmites australis, originating from Eurasia, thrive in disturbed soil. The Nature Conservancy of Canada and Food & Agriculture Canada consider Phragmites as Canada’s worst invasive species. A highly invasive wetland grass growing up to 15 to 20 feet tall, it can form dense monocultures measuring several square kilometres. It is a major concern for land managers, conservationists, cottagers, farmers, and all levels of government. Phragmites has an intricate system of specialized roots that secrete toxins into the soil to impede the growth of and kill neighbouring plants. It has drastically harmed Toronto’s ravines, wetlands, and shorelines by aggressively outcompeting native plants and diminishing biodiversity. Control methods include hand digging, burning, spading, and specialized herbicides that require permits and qualified applicators. Due to its extensive root system, a single control measure may not always be effective. Native plant habitat can recover quickly and is usually not adversely affected by Phragmites control measures. Most natives recover, and eliminating Phragmites allows the native seed bank to regenerate.
Volunteers have helped to several local areas to recover from invasive phragmites:
Grenadier Pond in High Park Treated to Control Phragmites
In fall 2018, Toronto Region Conservation Authority (TRCA) supported by Urban Forestry used herbicides to control Phragmites in the shoreline terrestrial areas around Grenadier Pond. In Oct 2019, TRCA spaded any phragmites emerging within the terrestrial areas already managed. According to Katie Turnbull, Senior Project Manager, Restoration Projects, TRCA: “Last year  we had about 85% phragmites die off and only around 15% has come back up. The spading technique has worked very well for us in other sites and it just requires a spade to cut the phragmites at the base of the stem.” Work on Grenadier Pond was halted in 2020, due to COVID restrictions.
Phragmites control project with Volunteers in Milne Hollow, Edwards Gardens
EcoSpark conducted a Phragmites control project at Milne Hollow in Edwards Gardens with volunteers from the Parks, Forestry & Recreation Community Stewardship Program. “The benefits, and those who receive them, are plentiful. Volunteers gain insight into the health of their local environment, exposure and access to the wider scientific community, directly participate in the understanding and management of their green space, and they engage with a network of like-minded individuals.” http://www.ecospark.ca
Charles Sauriol Conservation Area (southeast of Lawrence Ave. and the Don Valley Parkway) had one of the most impressive biodiversity rebounds, thanks to spading that took place in 2017.
ANNUAL RAVINE CLEAN-UP
For the past 20 years LPRO has organized the clean-up of the Chatsworth/Otter Creek Ravine as part of the City of Toronto’s Clean Up Days. The event is usually held on a city-designated Saturday in April. For more information see Ravine Clean-Up in Events.