THE LESLIE STREET SPIT – AN INNER CITY NATURE RESERVE ON LAKE ONTARIO

At the foot of Leslie Street, a 5 kilometre-long peninsula juts out into Lake Ontario.  Weekends, year round, the Leslie Street Spit (Tommy Thompson Park) is open to bikers, hikers, picnickers, birdwatchers, wildflower afficionados – anyone wanting to spend quality time with Mother Nature.  No dogs are allowed because there’s so much animal, bird and plant life on the Spit – over 400 plant species, 300 bird species, reptiles, butterflies, foxes, otters, coyotes and beaver.  Trails are paved and well maintained, and there are several off-trail areas as well.

TWO RED PANDA CUBS ARRIVED AT TORONTO’S ZOO OVER A MONTH AGO. THEY’RE GROWING QUICKLY

    They’re being well looked after by the Zoo’s dedicated team.  The Keeper Team wrote “As the cubs gain weight and strength we remain optimistic.”The Red Panda mother gave birth to them in the afternoon of Tuesday, July 14th.This is the first Red Panda pregnancy at the Zoo since 1996, and it’s the first offspring for mother ILA with father SUVA. <PHOTO – An adult Red Panda>

TORONTO’S TREES – SOME OF US TAKE 10.2-MILLION OF THEM FOR GRANTED

TORONTO’s 10.2 million trees occupy – surprisingly – only 20% of the urban landscape.  Half of them are in excellent or good condition; countless others suffocate in concrete boxes along urban spillways and city streets.A study, “Every Tree Counts”, tells us that “the structural value of our urban forest represents a staggering $7 billion.  Furthermore, the environmental and social services provided by the urban forest greatly exceed the annual investment in its management.The urban forest provides over $60 million annually in ecological services, including climate change and air pollution mitigation and energy conservation benefits, plus additional storm water management services.”TORONTO plants about 84,000 trees every year.  Approximately 54% of new trees in the city are regenerated naturally.  The remaining 46% are planted.  Spring and fall are spectacular seasons here, when our tree population looks its very best.

‘THEY DIED WITH THEIR BOOTS ON’ – THE 100 WORKERS’ MONUMENT IN SIMCOE PARK

The 100 Workers Monument in Simcoe Park, Front Street West, consists of two long, low red granite walls.  On top are 100 bronze plaques, each naming a worker who died while on the job. There is one name for each year from 1901 until 1999. The plaque for the year 2000 is blank. 100 Workers is by John Scott & Stewart H. Pollock.  The second part of the monument, The Anonymity of Prevention, is a bronze sculpture of a worker wearing full safety gear, appearing to chisel into the wall of 100 Workers. This sculpture was done by Derek Lo and Lana Winkler.

LATEST MEMBER OF THE TORONTO ZOO FAMILY, A MASSAI GIRAFFE, HAS SAFELY ARRIVED

Named for now Baby Long Legs, the calf was born to Mstari, a six-year-old Massai giraffe, and Kiko, a seven-year-old. The little one is not camera-shy and has been making appearances all over the internet.TORONTO Zoo’s CEO, Dolf DeJong, in a news release, said “This birth is an important contribution to a genetically healthy Masai giraffe population. They are the most genetically valuable giraffes in North America.” There are now only 35,000 of them left in the wild. Over the last 30 years there has been a 50% decline in the numbers of Masai.The Zoo, which is in COVID-19 lockdown at this time, has established a new campaign to help support the giraffe family. The goal is to raise $70,000 to help finance these rare mammals. Since the 1980’s the Toronto Zoo has birthed 19 giraffe, including Mstari and her mother, Twiga.

FIRST OF ITS KIND IN CANADA – TORONTO ZOO OPENS A STATE-OF-THE-ART WILDLIFE HEALTH CENTRE

The TORONTO Zoo takes pride in being a centre of excellence when it comes to animal care, reproductive sciences, nutritional physiology, conservation and wildlife research.Now the Zoo has a modern facility and a team devoted to wildlife health care.
<Dr. PAULINE DELNATTE working on a “client”.>TORONTO Zoo invites you to see behind-the-scenes in several of the rooms – Diagnostic Imaging, Treatment, Surgery, Clinical Lab and Endocrinology Lab.The Wildlife Health Centre is open to the public daily from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm. From the Tundra Zoomobile Station, follow the path adjacent to the Greenhouse.

NOT SO LONG AGO, THE TWO GATEWAYS TO EXHIBITION PLACE WERE ARCHITECTURAL CHALLENGES

The first DUFFERIN GATE was built in 1895 <that’s it in the middle>. It became a meeting place for people preparing to enter the Canadian National Exhibition. But as the Fair was modernizing, the first low-rise gate was torn down in 1910 and replaced by architect G.W. GOUINLOCK’s grand structure, with single storied wings on either side of the entrance.Then in 1959 a new modern gateway took shape, with nearby railway, streetcar and bus stops.The new Gate was decorated with flags, lightbulbs and garlands, giving it “a theatrical look”, according to William Dendy in his book ‘Lost Toronto’. It was designed by ARTHUR KEITH, who’d been chief architect on Toronto Transit’s Yonge subway project.  It reminds me of a smaller version of the St. Louis Arch. <b/w photos by City of TORONTO Archives & Sidewalk Labs>Meanwhile, on the east side of the grounds, a spectacular new Princes’ Gate, dedicated to the Prince of Wales, took the place of honour as the main entrance to Exhibition Place and the C.N.E.

REACHING TORONTO HIKING & BIKE TRAILS, BEACHES, THE ZOO, GARDENS, BLUFFS, ETC. BY PUBLIC TRANSIT

MARTIN GOODMAN WATERFRONT TRAIL – a 78-kilometre multi-use path for biking, running and walking along TORONTO’s waterfront. The Trail traverses the lake shore from Humber Bay in the west to the Rouge River in the east. Take the subway to Union Station, then the streetcar to Queen’s Quay, and you’re there.TORONTO ISLANDS’ FERRY DOCKS – foot of Bay Street at Queen’s Quay, west of the Westin Harbour Castle Hotel. From Union Station walk south on Bay Street. Ward’s Island boasts a small village and the island’s only patio restaurant. Kids love Centre Island.EAST END BEACHES – Line #2 subway to Woodbine station; transfer to Woodbine bus #92 . . . . . . .  OR from Queen Street downtown take the Queen streetcar #501 eastbound to Neville Park. Get off at Woodbine and Queen and then walk south. Woodbine is the largest beach in the area.TORONTO BOTANICAL GARDENS, 777 Lawrence Avenue East at Leslie Street.  Line #1 subway to EGLINTON station.  Then take the 51, 54 or 162 bus to LAWRENCE Avenue. The Gardens are on the southwest corner. From the south end of the Gardens there’s access to the Don River Ravine.TORONTO ZOO – subway Line #1, transfer to Sheppard Line at Sheppard Station, to DON MILLS STATION.  Bus #85 leaves from here, and will drop you in front of the Zoo entrance about 45 minutes later.SCARBOROUGH BLUFFS – Line #2 east to Victoria Park station. Then a 12 or 12-B Kingston Rd bus east to the Brimley Rd/Kingston Rd intersection. From there the Scarborough Bluffs are about a 10 minute walk south on Brimley Rd. Running 15 kilometres (9.3 miles) along the coastline of Lake Ontario, the Bluffs are home to beaches, walking trails, wild flora and fauna, a marina and some of the finest homes in the city.EVERGREEN BRICKWORKS – in the Don Valley, where the bricks were made that built TORONTO. A city bus is operated by the TTC (Toronto Transit Commission).  Take the #28 from DAVISVILLE subway station on Line #1. The bus runs from 6 am to 1:00 am from Monday to Saturday and 8am–6pm on Sundays . . . . . . There’s also the Evergreen shuttle bus, Monday to Friday, every 30–45 minutes from the parkette on Erindale Ave, east of Broadview Ave., north of Line #2’s Broadview subway station. Capacity of the bus – 20 seated; 6 standing.And of course there’s so much more including city-run golf courses, the vast ravine network, West TORONTO beaches, public swimming pools and aqua centres, and the Bike Share program, sponsored by the Toronto-Dominion Bank.

THERE’S A PEACEFUL REFUGE FOR RETIRED DONKEYS AND IT’S NOT VERY FAR FROM TORONTO

The hard workers of the equine world are too often taken for granted, treated inhumanely, and considered disposable as they age. Since 1992, the Donkey Sanctuary of Canada, a short drive west of TORONTO, has been a refuge for donkeys, mules and hinnies (offspring of a horse stallion and a jenny donkey) who’ve been abandoned, abused or put up for adoption. Sixty-one of them live in peace at the Sanctuary, and another 40 are in care at foster farms.<PHOTO ABOVE – Daily Hive>The Sanctuary’s charter grants all of the animals – the right of life regardless of age or condition; a dignified and peaceful death; freedom from hunger and thirst; freedom from discomfort and pain, fear and distress.To learn more about the Donkey Sanctuary of Canada, hours of operation, education, programs and tours, check their website – http://www.thedonkeysanctuary.caHOW TO GET THERE – From TORONTO take Highway 401 westbound, exit #295, Highway 6 North. Go to the second road, Puslinch Concession 4, turn left and proceed to #6981.

HIGH WINDS & WAVES ARE SUBMERGING PARTS OF THE TORONTO ISLANDS INTO LAKE ONTARIO

Since 2017, flooding of TORONTO’s archipelago of 15 islands has been of great concern to the Toronto Region Conservation Authority (TRCA). In the future, there could be new beaches and bridges, with raised barriers (or berms), elevation of low-lying roads, increased shore protection structures, and re-routed surface drainage to already installed sump pumps.PHOTOS taken by BRYAN BLENKIN on July 25/2019.