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Toronto’s parklands require more care, protection and expansion.

"Torontonians increasingly live in tall buildings (roughly 40 per cent by the 2016 census) and rely on local parklands for fresh air and nature."

By Ellen Schwartzel, Contributor

The Toronto Star, Sunday, Aug. 21, 2022

Tommy Thompson Park
Tommy Thompson Park

Torontonians increasingly live in tall buildings and apartments (roughly 40 per cent by the 2016 census) and rely on local parklands for fresh air and nature. The upcoming municipal election is a perfect moment to ask for more nature nearby, please! in every ward across the city. Toronto’s top nature needs can be summed up as more care, more protection and more lands dedicated to nature."

More protection: We should insist on progress to protect Toronto’s best remaining bits of nature: the Environmentally Significant Areas (ESAs). Ten years after the city mapped these vulnerable areas and five years after the city promised management plans, over three quarters of our ESAs are still missing management plans. For starters, ESAs need protection as “low traffic” and “tread lightly” zones, with shielding from crowded trails, dog parks and other pressures."

"More nature lands: We should ask that more nature be added to Toronto’s landscape. Toronto’s manager of parks has warned repeatedly that our city’s parkland per person is declining over time, since our population is growing far faster than our parkland areas. We know the terrific potential of nature restoration; the Brickworks, Tommy Thompson Park, Corktown Common and the Meadoway are showcase examples."

Ellen Schwartzel is president of Toronto Field Naturalists.

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