FROM THE ZOO’S PHOTO ALBUM – ANIMALS & BIRDS THAT CALL ONTARIO & GTR. TORONTO HOME

TORONTO is home to thousands of black & gray SQUIRRELS.  By burying seeds and nuts, they’e an important part of the city’s ecosystem.  Their hard work promotes germination and forest renewal.

The MASSASSAUGA RATTLESNAKE is an endangered species.  Over a dozen have been born at the Zoo.  They’re shy reptiles, and it’s illegal to harass, harm or kill one.

Owls in the Greater TORONTO Area – Great Horned, Eastern Screech, Barred, Northern Saw Whet, Great Grey & occasional/seasonal, the Snowy Owl.

Elsa, the ARCTIC FOX, 1.5-years-old, came to TORONTO from Parc Safari.  She’s joined others in the Tundra Trek.

Breathing in the Northland, a member of the Zoo’s POLAR BEAR family.

And one new-resident of Ontario, an AFRICAN PENGUIN, a participant in the Zoo’s Species Survival Plan.  Seventeen new chicks were born here, since the species arrived in 2011.

It’s easy to get to TORONTO ZOO – by car, from downtown, take the 401 Eastbound to Exit 389, Meadowvale Road.  Follow the Zoo signs to 361A Old Finch Avenue.  Large parking lot.

By TTC bus, take the subway (Sheppard Line) to DON MILLS STATION.  Bus #85 leaves from there, and will drop you in front of the Zoo entrance about 45 minutes later.  Along the way, you’ll pass through suburban Don Mills and Scarborough.

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‘THE LESLIE ST. SPIT’ ALLOWS TORONTONIANS TO EMBRACE NATURE, ESPECIALLY ON WEEKENDS

The Leslie Street Spit, TORONTO’s ‘artificial-natural’ habitat, extends 5 kilometres into Lake Ontario at the foot of Leslie Street.

The Spit was created largely from construction excavations, and is now home to numerous wild animals, birds and butterflies, as well as weekend joggers, cyclists and hikers.

<PHOTO ABOVE – constructing the Spit, 1990 to 1994, City of Toronto Archives>

TOMMY THOMPSON PARK is on the man-made peninsula, and contains some of the largest existing natural habitat on the TORONTO waterfront. Wildlife, especially birds, flourish in the park, making it one of the best nature-watching areas in the GTA.

<PHOTO – view of the city from the park, January 16/2019>

The Park contains 10 kilometres of accessible paved trail.

<PHOTO – Toronto at night from Tommy Thompson Park>

<PHOTO by Frank Lennon/Toronto Star via Getty Images>  Who was TOMMY THOMPSON (1913-1985)? The Park’s namesake was a TORONTO Parks Commissioner who really loved his job. Among many of his achievements was the conversion of Toronto Island into one enormous park. He’s best known for a sign in the city’s spotless network of parks – “Please Walk On The Grass”.

For detailed information on The Spit, Tommy Thompson Park & other parks in the region (including opening times and photographs) go to – https://trca.ca/parks/tommy-thompson-park/?gclid=EAIaIQobChMI3oOh852J4AIVR57ACh1vowCuEAAYASAAEgL_yvD_BwE

ALLAN GARDENS WELCOMES YOU INTO IT’S ANNUAL OUT-OF-THE-COLD CHRISTMAS FLOWER SHOW

What better way to pass some time and warmup than by visiting the Allan Gardens Conservatory, south of Carlton, east of Jarvis. This year over 40 varieties of poinsettias are on display, along with thousands of flowering plants from around the world.

The flowers are grown in the City of TORONTO High Park greenhouse. Admission is free, but the public is encouraged to bring along non-perishable food items to donate to the food banks.

The flower show is on until January 8th, with candlelight events and extended hours on December 17th and 18th. Regular hours – 10 am to 5 pm.

UNDERWAY – CONSTRUCTION OF BARBARA ANN SCOTT PARK, BETWEEN YONGE & BAY STREETS

<PHOTO – BARBARA ANN SCOTT by Fred Chartrand/Canadian Press/2007>

Canada’s 1948 Olympic gold medalist in women’s singles figure skating BARBARA ANN SCOTT (1928-2012) would be pleased to know that TORONTO and developers Canderel Stoneridge have agreed to rebuild both the skating rink and the park itself.

This park is surrounded on all sides by skyscrapers, town houses and condo apartments in a densely populated downtown neighbourhood. The project should be completed in the very near future.

TORONTO’s Forestry and Recreation Division is supervising the revitalization which includes planning and design work from RAW Design, the MBTW Group/Watchorn Architect and Project for Public Spaces (PPS).

TORONTO’S LARGEST FISHING HOLE IS GRENADIER POND IN THE WEST END’S HIGH PARK

The old Town of York Garrison once dropped their lines into Grenadier Pond back in the early 1800’s. The tradition continues to this day as Torontonians land largemouth bass, black crappie, yellow perch, pumpkinseed, bluegill, brown bullhead and carp. The large body of water is deep, and the fish are safe to eat.The Pond receives water from Wendigo Creek (a small creek that begins near Dundas Street West and Law Street and runs down to Lake Ontario, along with other underground streams from the north. The northern, southern and south-western shores are naturalized, improving the Pond’s health.  Grenadier Pond exits into Lake Ontario via pipes near Sir Casimir Gzowski Park.

<PAINTING ABOVE – Grenadier Pond in 1800, by John George Howard, 1803-1890>

<20,000 PEOPLE on the ice watching a dog sled race, 1914><SKATE SAILING on Grenadier Pond, 1933>

<ALONG THE SHORE of The Pond, June 22, 1958>

<LONE SKATER, 2008-13>

<WALKING ON THE ICE, 2008-13>

<FLOWER GARDEN, 1972, on the shoreline><FLOWER GARDEN AERIAL, 2018, photo – @shanii1>

<ALL PHOTOS – except the last one are from the City of Toronto Archives/Sidewalk Labs>

FEAR OF CENTIPEDES? THE TORONTO ZOO SAYS THE WORD FOR THAT IS CHILOPODOPHOBIA’

Despite their name, centipedes don’t actually have one hundred legs – some have fewer, though others may have many more. Regardless, the majority of these “creepy crawlies” are very small and completely harmless to humans. They spend their lives under rocks and logs and other moist environments.

House centipedes in particular, which many Torontonians might encounter in their basements, cause a lot of fear due to their fast running speed and numerous long legs; however, they may actually be beneficial because they eat smaller invertebrate pests (e.g. silverfish, cockroaches, etc.).

IT’S EASY TO REACH TORONTO ZOO, CANADA’S LARGEST – BY CAR OR ON PUBLIC TRANSPORT

<“Come on out and see us some time – we’d love to see YOU.”>

<SAMSON, the Grizzly Bear, lives up to his name.>

It’s easy to get to TORONTO ZOO – by car, from downtown, take the 401 Eastbound to Exit 389, Meadowvale Road.  Follow the Zoo signs to 361A Old Finch Avenue.  Large parking lot.

By TTC bus, take the subway (Sheppard Line) to DON MILLS STATION.  Bus #85 leaves from there, and will drop you in front of the Zoo entrance about 45 minutes later.  Along the way, you’ll pass through suburban Don Mills and Scarborough.