What's Out There?
Keep your eyes open and listen carefully while exploring our Parks and Trails! You’ll be amazed at how many animals and rare plants you’ll see. Make sure to bring a hat, sun screen and water bottle and wear sturdy shoes for your adventure. A magnifying glass isn’t necessary when exploring our natural spaces but it can help you get a closer look.
You can also find an incredible Biodiversity Booklet Series available online and at Toronto Public Libraries. These booklets were developed by Toronto City Planning and can help you uncover the broad diversity of spiders, birds, trees/shrubs, butterflies, fishes, mammals, reptiles and amphibians found in our City.
Whether heading out for a nature hike or researching insects in your neighbourhood park, these booklets are excellent tools to better understand what's living in parks, right under your nose!
Learn about birds in Toronto's parks and natural areas, and the Toronto Bird Flyways and Sanctuaries Project with the Birding in Toronto brochure.
The City's Birds of Toronto Biodiversity Series booklet also highlights the top 13 spots to see birds in Toronto. They are:
- Toronto Islands
- Leslie Street Spit / Tommy Thompson Park
- High Park
- Colonel Samuel Smith Park
- Humber Bay Park
- Humber Marshes
- Lambton Woods / James Gardens / Lambton Park
- Ashbridges Bay Park
- Sunnybrook Park / Serena Gundy Park / ET Seton Park
- Mount Pleasant Cemetery / Moore Park Ravine
- Downsview Park
- Claireville Conservation Area
- Rouge Park
And remember, birds can be found in any Toronto park, so keep your binoculars handy!
Bees are important pollinators that help provide food for people and wildlife in the form of seeds and fruit. About one third of the food we eat relies on pollination by thousands of species of bees, flies, beetles, moths, wasps, butterflies and hummingbirds. Toronto's parks are home to some of the over 200 species of native bees, with most of them unable to sting. If you see the non-stinging, ground nesting bees in your local park, be sure to leave them undisturbed.
Find out more about Toronto's diverse bee population.
Nature Activities in Parks
Interested in getting yourself or your children outdoors and active in our parks? Toronto Parks, Forestry and Recreation has lots of offerings to get you in touch with nature in your city.
Kids can also enjoy nature in the summer through one of the several outdoor day camps, where the focus is on being outdoors and in parks.
Maybe you just want to volunteer in parks, so you can get closer to nature. Parks, Forestry and Recreation offers many different volunteering opportunities to help you do just that.
Throughout the year, we'll be featuring the stories and reflections of Ann Brokelman from Toronto Arts and Culture.
What is one to do on a rainy, cold day or even a very hot humid day, for that matter? Personally, I love visiting the City's many indoor Conservatories and Greenhouses and markets throughout the city.
The City has a vast network of trails running through our parks, green spaces and ravines. Many of these trails cross from dense urban jungles into lush green ecosystems full of wildlife and wonder. Consider stopping and spending some quiet, still moments along the trail, observing what's around you.
Environmentally Significant Areas (ESA)
Toronto City Planning is proposing the designation of new ESA's in the City's Official Plan to promote awareness of these areas and ensure their protection. You can find many of these areas in our ravines, river valleys and along the waterfront. These areas are unique, because they:
- contain rare and endangered species
- have habitats of unusually large size or high diversity
- include rare or unusual landforms
- provide important ecological functions, like stopover locations for migrating wildlife
When visiting our parks and travelling along our trails, please remember to leave only footprints, take only photographs and keep only memories. In enjoying your interaction with nature, it's important to minimize your impact on the natural environment. Be sure not to disturb any wildlife or vegetation you see and avoid sampling berries, mushrooms or other vegetation, as many varieties can make humans and animals ill. Note that feeding wildlife is prohibited under Chapter 608 of the Toronto Municipal Code.