Getting Back To Nature On The Don River

City Living

While urban centres are often challenged to have sufficient green space, Toronto does well by maintaining – and even increasing – its commitment to nurturing our natural environment. Being located on a Lake Ontario escarpment, the city still retains an abundance of ravines and trails (although plenty were destroyed as the city developed). In fact, many people are surprised at how extensive our green space is, as it’s not easily apparent in our automobile-centric lives; we currently have 1,600 existing parks and 600 kilometres of trails, which translates to about 8,000 hectares — about 13 percent of Toronto’s overall land area.



Growing Need for Great Green Space

Having access to green space has long been a coveted feature by urbanites. However, as our lifestyles have changed dramatically as we live through this pandemic- and during all the lockdowns, having access to green space for exercise- or in pursuit of Zen- is now a need, not a want.

Lucky for us residents, the City is not only committed to preserving the green space we already have but to creating more leisure space for residents. For example, for each development project downtown, a developer must either donate parkland — if the site is large enough — or pay into the Parkland Dedication Fund, which uses the money to create new parks and refurbish existing ones. Pretty spectacular, eh?

In October 2017, the Government handed over more land to be protected under Parks Canada. The agreement transfers 6.5 square km of land from the province to Parks Canada for Rouge National Urban Park. Read the Toronto Star article here.

With all this green space speckled throughout the GTA, it means that ‘getting away from it all’ is an easier task than you might think. Given the City’s extensive park system of ravines, parks, and dedicated conservation areas, you can get lost among the trees with ease! Three that we particularly enjoy are Dufferin Grove ParkSorauren Park, and Lytton Park.

For those who fancy a walk in the woods, you’ll want to explore these trail systems.




The Long-Awaited East Don Trail

The City of Toronto and the Region Conservation Authority (TRCA) have been working on the design and construction of a multi-use trail system within the East Don Corridor between the north end of Charles Sauriol Conservation Area, the Lower Don Trail System, and Gatineau Corridor Trail.

The East Don Trail was to be done in two phases; Phase 1 was completed last year, and Phase 2 is to be fully completed by the end of this year. The phases incorporate a number of bridges and bank stabilization to protect against erosion.

The end result is going to be a smooth and long asphalt trail, meandering through nature- right in the middle of the city. If you aren’t already a runner, biker, rollerblades, or walker, the construction of the East Don Trail might convince you to start! When it is all done, it will serve as a major north-south artery, running all the way to Lake Ontario.

It offers a close-up, immersive experience in nature, with some incredible views of the area ecosystem, including woodland animals, foliage, fauna, and birds. The views of the East Don River can’t be beaten either.

There are three stretches to this trail. The Phase 2 portion that has just opened spans nearly 2 km, running east-west from Wigmore Park to the existing East Don Trail, just north of the Wynford Heights Crescent entry point. The trail intertwines with the Metrolinx Rail corridor.

Check out this video about the opening of Phase 2 of the trail. There is also a cool video walkthrough.

A series of stylish boardwalks and bridges over the ravine add aesthetic flair to this lovely outdoor experience.

Here is an older post with some background information from BlogTO The East Don Trail Is About To Reopen After Two Years Of Construction In Toronto.




Check Out The Charles Sauriol Conservation Area

Just east of the Don Valley Parkway, north of Eglinton is the Charles Sauriol Conservation Area. It was named after Charles Sauriol (obviously), who was born in Toronto in 1904 and was a passionate conservationist. It, as well as the abutting Anewen Greenbelt, are part of the extensive East Don River Trail system on the east side of the Don Valley Parkway and the Don River. After all, one of Sauriol’s personal missions was preserving the natural state of the Don River, leading him to co-found the Don River Conservation Association in 1946. There’s even an elementary school that bears his name near Dundas Street West and Dupont!



When Charles was a boy, the Don Valley would have looked largely untouched, like this:



In fact, the Don Valley was once considered cottage country! Here is Charles camping with his friends, followed by two cottages he owned in the area!



The conservation area itself is an unbeatable natural amenity for the surrounding community, boasting an urban forest, extensive biking and walking trails, small ponds, and the famous Rainbow Bridge. Given its somewhat Northerly location, its wealth of green space is largely underused, and therefore often offers uninterrupted peace and quiet.



It’s perfect for reading, picnicking, hiking, or simply providing respite from a sweltering summer day. It’s also home to a vast array of wildlife and plant species – a little something for horticulturalists and ornithologists alike!



Whether you have an hour or an afternoon, spending time in your neighbourhood green space – or exploring new ones – is a great way to get some fresh air, soak up some much-needed Vitamin D, and even engage with your community.



Can you imagine if the East  Don Trail and the Charles Sauriol Conservation Area were in your backyard, quite literally? The resident at 75 Wynford Heights Crescent can pop out and enjoy whenever the mood strikes! Wouldn’t that be amazing? refreshing? Revitalizing? Here’s our new listing, titled, ‘Easy, Breezy Living On Wynford Heights Crescent In Reputable Wynford Place‘, NOW SOLD!!



Questions? Want to book a private viewing? Contact James Ormston at!



And thanks for reading!

Did you know the experience of owning a home extends far beyond the walls of your residence; including its community and support infrastructure; and its accessibility to amenities that enhance your health and well-being?

Thinking of buying? The pandemic has prompted a shift in focus for many Buyers who are evaluating their next move. Now more than ever it makes good sense to engage a realtor who can guide you with a well-researched, data-driven, tactical strategy. Considering selling? As a realtor with a comprehensive multi-disciplinary education in shelter and 28 years of experience in the sales and marketing of Toronto real estate, I can assist you in achieving Top Dollar for your property.

My team and I would love to help!



May we be of assistance to you, or someone you love?


-Steve & The Urbaneer Team

Steven Fudge, Sales Representative
& The Innovative Urbaneer Team
Bosley Real Estate Ltd., Brokerage – (416) 322-8000

– we’re here to earn your trust, then your business –

~ The Urbaneer Team

Steven Fudge, Sales Representative
& The Innovative Urbaneer Team
Bosley Real Estate Ltd., Brokerage – (416) 322-8000


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