City’s Actions to Reaffirm Toronto’s Tree Canopy Target
SAHRA submitted a letter to the Dec 15th City Council meeting supporting the Infrastructure and Environment Committee’s recommendation that the City reaffirm Toronto’s target of 40 percent tree canopy cover by 2050 to align with the City’s TransformTO NetZero Strategy. But we also supported FoNTRA’s requests for additional measures that need to be taken now:
- Actually protect the private trees that are of protected size.
- Strengthen the Tree Protection By-laws.
- Increase enforcement of existing (and hopefully enhanced) Tree Protection By-laws.
- Increase replacement planting when trees are to be removed.
- Maintain or enhance protection of soft landscaping in the Zoning By-laws.
Councillor Robinson’s motions were also approved to study (1) the correlation between parcels of land with building permits and those exhibiting tree cover loss, as identified in the 2018 Tree Canopy Study – Technical Report and (2) the diameter required for a tree to be protected under the Private Tree By-laws and report back in the second quarter of 2022 on the findings.
The Future of City Golf Courses
The City is reviewing its five City-operated golf course locations to better understand how to maximize golf and non-golf experiences. As part of this review, the City is considering opportunities to improve golf courses as places to play golf and explore potential opportunities for alternative and/or complementary uses.
The public was asked to participate in 2 ways: completing an Online Survey: (open until July 12) and by attending a Local Virtual Community Meeting between July 5 – 10.
There was one local virtual community meeting for each of the five City-operated golf courses. Local residents and course users were encouraged to join the meeting to learn more about the operational review, get engaged in the conversation and share their thoughts and perspectives on the future of specific golf courses. The June 14 Presentation was reviewed at each of the five community meetings.
FoNTRA submitted a letter to the Coordinator of the Golf Course Review initiative on July 28, 2021 expressing the opinion that as several of the City’s courses are strategically located in Toronto’s ravine system that we should consider how they might dovetail with trail-based activities, and other recreational opportunities in places near to nodes of high population, with few other recreational opportunities. It was noted that in some cases, current gold courses cut off natural connections between trails. FoNTRA advocated making multi-use trail connections across the publicly owned courses to open them up to all users.
Since June, 2021 staff have been analyzing course data and reviewing feedback collected from thousands through the community engagement process to inform the development of the operational review report and recommendations to Council.
These will be presented to the Infrastructure and Environment Committee on January 11, 2022 and City Council on February 2, 2022. The reports will be available in advance of the January 11, 2022 meeting of the Infrastructure and Environment Committee.
Final Parkland Strategy Nov, 2019
See below for the Parks and Recreation Facilities Master Plan 2019-2038 which was presented to the Executive Committee of Council in Oct, 2017.
In November, 2019, Parks, Forestry and Recreation published a Final Parkland Strategy document. The Introduction reads as follows:
“Parks are important. They provide essential elements of health and well-being by connecting people to nature, building community, and opportunities for improving physical health. Toronto has built and sustained a parks system that is a defining element of the city and has become one of its most cherished features. Known as a city within a park, Toronto offers a network of green infrastructure that supports and provides essential mental, physical, social, economic, and ecological benefits. Toronto’s system of parks and ravines covers approximately 13% of the total land area of the city, across more than 1,500 parks encompassing 8,000 hectares of land.
Toronto is growing. This growth needs to be carefully managed to preserve the most valued features and elements of the parks system, while positioning the City to maintain and enhance the system and provide additional greenspace to support greater demand for parks.
Toronto in 2019 is experiencing unprecedented growth, putting increased pressure on the parks system. It is anticipated that Toronto’s population will grow from 2.9 million to 3.4 million with 1.7 million jobs by 2041. This intensification is adding more residents to existing neighbourhoods, primarily in residential high-rise buildings, and located within proximity to higher-order transit stations. In these higher-density urban areas the provision of parks is critical to the liveability of these new vertical communities and to support Toronto’s growing workforce. At the same time, the demographic composition of neighbourhoods is also changing, as are park user preferences and expectations. Parks should address inequities across the city to ensure access to high quality parks and natural areas for all Torontonians.
The Parks, Forestry and Recreation Division in partnership with the City Planning Division developed the Parkland Strategy to provide the City with a long-term vision and framework for the enhancement of Toronto’s parks system. This will occur through the creation of new parks, and the expansion of, and the provision of improved access to existing parks. This report has been developed to address the planning, acquisition, and development of parks to ensure that Toronto’s parks system will grow to support the needs of people and ensure a liveable city. This strategy deals with city-owned parkland, while acknowledging the importance of working with partners such as Toronto Regional Conservation Authority and others to improve the provision, quality and connectivity of all park space.
The first phase of the Parkland Strategy focused on developing a new, modernized approach for assessing parkland provision. This phase informed a number of major City initiatives, including the Rail Deck Park Official Plan Amendment, and the TOcore and Midtown Parks and Public Realm Plans and Torontonians value the parks system, with an overwhelming 99% of online survey responses indicating that parks are critical to quality of life. 89% of survey respondents reported visiting a park at least once a week, and 63% of employees use parks during their workday.
The second phase examined parkland need and considered how the City currently plans for parkland and decision-making processes related to prioritizing investments. A set of strategic actions have been included to inform the City’s future parkland priorities and guide proactive park planning.
The Parkland Strategy is a strategic park planning framework that provides:
Park Catchment Tool: New methodology for measuring parkland provision and need;
Parks Planning Priorities: Priorities for the development of city-initiated local-level parks plans in areas of need;
Acquisition Prioritization: Areas for parkland acquisition and shared-use agreements with other public agencies;
Development Review: Framework to evaluate development review applications and support Official Plan;
Planning Studies: Framework to inform studies including new and underway Secondary Plans and Site and Area Specific Studies;
Partnerships: Strategic development of partnerships to leverage opportunities to support Toronto’s parks system; and
Community Benefits Strategy: Support future community benefit strategy work as required through Bill 108.”
Stewardship in Public Ravines
On Nov 25, 2019 City Council will consider Councillor James Pasternak’s motion that City Parks, Forestry, and Recreation review the draft Stewardship Manual (prepared by students in the University of Toronto’s Forestry Program and the Toronto Ravines Revitalization Science consortium). The draft Manual provides an excellent model for City of Toronto ravine stewardship programs and we hope will lead to an effective City program for involving citizens in private/public ravine stewardship initiatives. Review the Manual here
The Midtown Ravines Group (a consortium of residents associations working for better ecological balance and improved park use in ravines in Midtown Toronto) and the Fedeeration of North Toronto Residents’ Association have submitted supporting letters to City Council.
Save Our Ravines Town Hall
Councillor Mike Colle has provided links that were noted during the Save on Ravines town hall on Jan 21, 2019, where community members can find more information on Toronto’s ravines.
City of Toronto
Toronto Ravine Strategy: www.toronto.ca/ravinestrategy
- Here you can find links to both the Strategy document and the Homeowner’s Guide to Healthy Ravines.
University of Toronto Faculty of Forestry’s Toronto Ravine Revitalization Study 1977 – 2017
Toronto Ravine Revitalization Study 1977 – 2017: https://torontoravines.org/
Recent News Articles
December 11, 2018 article published in Post City: http://www.postcity.com/Eat-Shop-Do/Do/December-2018/Report-on-potential-collapse-of-ravines-hits-North-Toronto-hard/
December 21, 2018 article published in The Guardian: https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2018/dec/21/theres-no-major-city-like-it-toronto-unique-ravine-system-under-threat
December 31, 2018 article published in The Toronto Star: https://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2018/12/31/toronto-looking-to-cut-costs-on-ravine-strategy-while-expanding-canopy.html
On January 21, 2019 Councillor College hosted a public town hall meeting to address the issue of protecting Toronto’s ravines. The University of Toronto’s Faculty of Forestry recently released the Toronto Ravine Revitalization Study, warning about the dire health of the City’s ravines. The public town hall meeting brought together key expert stakeholders to help develop a comprehensive response to this imminent threat so that we can mobilize and Save our Ravines.
Ward 16 Parks
The Parks, Forestry and Recreation department of the City of Toronto provided the following information in response to SAHRA’s request for information for further information after reviewing the ‘Park Plan 2013-2017’. The department prepared a report and maps with the information requested. The current list of capital projects for Ward 16 is based on 5, 10 and 20 year capital plans and informed by legacy strategies, “Our Common Grounds” (2004) and “Recreation Facilities Report” (2004). As directed therein, much of their attention has been focused on maintaining the state of good repair of our existing assets. The long range plans may change as a result of the impending Parks and Recreation Facilities Master Plan. Parks, Forestry and Recreation is in the process of hiring a consulting firm to conduct a comprehensive review of the current state of our facilities city-wide to recommend directions for the future. There will be opportunity for community and stakeholder input later this year.
A diagram of all the parks in Ward 16: Ward 16 Parks_2
A diagram of all capital projects for those parks: Ward 16 ParksCapProj_1
The report prepared by Parks, Forestry and Recreation of Ward 16 Parks: Ward_16_Parks_RP_LA_2
Parks and Recreation Facilities Master Plan 2019-2038
The Master Plan was presented to the Executive Committee on Oct 10, 2017 (attached). A Summary of Recommendations is attached. No changes are planned for Ward 16 including the Armour Heights Community Centre or the North Toronto Memorial Community Centre.
The full report can be reviewed at Parks and Recreation Facilities Master Plan 2019 to 2038 Oct 2017