Toronto is known for its vast network of ravines. As the population continues to soar, so does the recreational use of these natural, public spaces. With the summer season upon us, now is the best time to ride a trail or enjoy a picnic with friends in a local ravine.
The City of Toronto and the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA) monitor our watershed areas and invest in the most up-to-date measures to protect parkland and floodplains. The effects of climate change are intensifying and require constant monitoring. Watershed refers to the land that catches rainfall and drains it into local bodies of water, including ravines.
All watershed areas in Toronto are considered river watersheds, with the exception of the waterfront area that drains into Lake Ontario. All activities in our parks, whether they are solo or communal in nature, should aim to preserve or improve outdoor spaces. That objective ensures that current and future generations can enjoy what our ravines have to offer, which is a connection to our past, present and future here in our city.
Throughout history, our ravine network has carved out natural neighbourhood boundary lines. The Humber River, for example, is entrenched in our local ravine network and has inspired parks, trails, and schools to incorporate the name. Humber-River Black Creek is even the name of our electoral district at all levels of government. Black Creek Pioneer Village is named after the Black Creek because of the community that originally settled on the parkland.
Living in a city, it is important to understand the significance of our natural landscape and how it’s shaped the people who live there. Through continued effort and appreciation we can commit ourselves to sustainable, outdoor practices. Our cycle trails, for example, provide a cost-effective, healthy and highly energizing way of connecting with our ravines.
The Toronto Bicycling Network organizes short Ravine Rides throughout the city, each lasting from 1-3 hours in duration. These routes prioritize cycling through trails in order to avoid busy roads, and they normally incorporate a loop path back to a specific location for coffee and snacks after the ride. All starting points for Ravine Rides are conveniently located near subway stations. Cycling is a great way to exercise and meet people, as well as explore our City’s natural features without causing them any harm.
Some of the most notable trails that run through our community are the Finch West Trail that runs from Antibes to Norfinch along the hydro corridor, the Black Creek Trail that runs from Pioneer Village to Northwood Park along the Black Creek Parkland, and the East Humber Trail that starts from Steeles and runs South to the West Humber Recreational Trail. The East Humber Trail leads south to two connections, both the North Humber Trail and the West Humber Trail. You can visit the City of Toronto’s Cycling Map at: https://www.toronto.ca/services-payments/streets-parking-transportation/cycling-in-toronto/cycling-google-map/ for further information about Toronto’s cycle trails and road routes.
Everyone can benefit from spending more time in our green spaces, whether that be an open park or shaded ravine, biking a trail or photographing the local wildlife. Toronto’s ravines and cycle paths are ours to discover.