The Parks of Small's Creek
Small's Creek once ran through the east end of Toronto, originating near Danforth Avenue and Woodbine Avenue. It emptied into Small's Pond, along with two other now-lost rivers – Tomlin's Creek and Tiny Cairns Brook – in what is now Orchard Park.
This 40-foot wide pond was drained and filled with soil around 1935, and much of Small's Creek has since been buried in underground storm sewers. The creek is still visible in four natural area parks – Merrill Bridge Road Park, Williamson Park Ravine, Newbold Ravine, and an unnamed section at 127-137 Gainsborough Road. These glimpses of the still flowing river are now surrounded by homes and bisected by rail lines and roads.
The City of Toronto's Urban Forestry Department has undertaken a variety of projects to enhance and restore the forests along Small's Creek in Merrill Bridge Road Park, Williamson Park Ravine and Newbold Ravine. In the mid-1990s, the local community and City staff planted trees and shrubs in Merrill Bridge Road Park and Williamson Park Ravine. Urban Forestry started a more intensive restoration program in 2000 to remove non-native invasive trees and replant with native trees and shrubs in Merrill Bridge Road Park, Williamson Park Ravine and Newbold Ravine. In all three ravine sections invasive species have been managed including dog-strangling vine, Japanese knotweed, Asiatic bittersweet, garlic mustard and several species of woody invasive shrubs and trees.
More on the history of Small's Creek: