Ecology of High Park

High Park is one of the most significant natural areas in Toronto. It is especially noteworthy for its regionally rare vegetation and associated wildlife.

The Park’s varied plant communities provide diverse habitats for wildlife. Due to its proximity to the moderating influences of Lake Ontario and its varied landscapes – dry uplands, ravines, and moist bottomlands – it is home to overlapping plant communities from three different life zones:

  • Carolinian forest from the south,
  • tall grass prairie or savannah from the west, and
  • boreal mixed forest from the north.

Situated on the most significant migration route along the entire north shore of Lake Ontario-High Park is a well used resting and foraging area for migrating birds. Observers have sighted approximately 235 bird species in the park. A regular hawk watch is conducted in the fall.

The park also contains a variety of small mammals - including eastern grey squirrels, red squirrels, eastern chipmunks, muskrats, raccoons, skunks, and rabbits.

There are also a number of amphibians, including red-backed salamanders, green frogs and American toads – and reptiles, including garter and brown snakes, and snapping, Midland painted and map turtles.


iNaturalist Checklist of High Park Species



Katherine Pawling


Tony Pus

Plants, Grasses & Trees

Sharon Lovett


Katherine Pawling


Bob Yukich

Ask at your local Toronto Public Library for these free guidebooks on the biodiversity of Toronto.

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Content last modified on July 16, 2019, at 12:47 PM EST