Volunteer Opportunities 

High Park Natural Environment Committee

Young Oak
Janice Wilcox

The High Park Natural Environment Committee is a volunteer group that advises the City of Toronto on the protection and restoration of the natural environment of High Park, and promotes awareness and respectful enjoyment of the park's natural heritage.

Next meeting Tentatively: January 7, 2019

Fishing Concerns

Article in SNAP Sept. 2013

Deputation to Etobicoke York Community Council, June 6, 2018

Submission to Bloor West Village Avenue Study

Update on Development Proposals and High Park

Natural Heritage Impact Study

High Park Nature submission re a Draft Biodiversity Strategy for Toronto, July 12, 2018


UPDATE Newsletter

Read the January 2020 UPDATE with the latest news and events.

Previous issues:

October 2019 UPDATE

October 2018 UPDATE

May 2018 UPDATE

March 2018 UPDATE

September 2017 UPDATE

January 2017 UPDATE

September 2016 UPDATE

January 2016 UPDATE

October 2015 UPDATE

July 2015 UPDATE

January 2015 UPDATE

November 2014 UPDATE

April 2014 UPDATE

January 2014 UPDATE

October 2013 UPDATE

June 2013 UPDATE

January 2013

October 2012

July 2012

April 3, 2012

November 2, 2011

April 28, 2011

March 2, 2011

October 28, 2010

September 14, 2010




To express your concerns about fishing at Grenadier Pond and dangers to wildlife due to fishing line and hooks not disposed of properly, contact Park Supervisor Karinthia Battig and copy Councillor Doucette or call 311. More about Fish.



Park management has expressed interest in setting up a process to develop a master plan for the Hillside Gardens. The Natural Environment Committee has made recommendations regarding the development of such a plan for the Hillside Gardens and other ornamental gardens in High Park. RECOMMENDATIONS



(and other bylaw enforcement issues)

Grenadier Pond is a protected natural area (both ESA and ANSI status). At Council's direction, the City is reintroducing public skating on Grenadier Pond in 2017 on a "use at your own risk" basis. We have raised a number of concerns regarding the protection of wildlife and habitat.


Speaking Up for Nature

By Karen Yukich, Co-Chair, High Park Natural Environment Committee

It almost goes without saying that the “natural” qualities of High Park are what make it a unique and precious place. A substantial portion of the Park has been designated by the province as an “Area of Natural and Scientific Interest” because of the rare plant communities that still exist here in a relatively natural state, providing habitat to a variety of wildlife. The ordinary park user may be unaware of the Park’s special status, but still appreciate its diversity and sense of “wildness”, finding it a welcome retreat from the busy city that surrounds it.

Yes, it almost goes without saying, but not quite. Since nature cannot speak for itself, it is up to people who care about the natural environment to speak for it. That is what the Natural Environment Committee is all about. Working closely with the City and other groups, we develop and support initiatives to protect and restore the natural areas of High Park. We try to make sure that the natural environment impact is considered when any new developments are proposed. We also seek ways to reduce the heavy impact of the many activities that already go on in the Park. Public outreach and education is another important role.

If you care about the nature of High Park, you are welcome to participate in the Natural Environment Committee. Our committee needs people with a wide variety of backgrounds and interests. For example, you may be interested in native plants, trees, birds, insects, fish, ecology or just appreciate nature in a general way. All of these perspectives are useful!

We meet about four times a year, plus some special projects are undertaken between meetings by small working groups. Find out how you can contribute and give nature a voice that can be heard!

To learn more or get on our email list, contact mail@highparknature.org.

A Wish List for High Park

By Leslie Gooding, Co-Chair, High Park Natural Environment Committee

NOTE: Much of High Park is designated by the province a provincially significant life Area of Natural and Scientific Interest (ANSI) and by the City of Toronto Environmentally Significant Area (ESA). Provincial Policy Statement (PPS) 2.1 and Toronto's Official Plan Policies 3.4.12 and 3.4.13 apply to High Park. In particular, "Activities will be limited to those that are compatible with the preservation of the natural features and ecological functions attributed to the areas." (O.P. 3.4.13, in part)

Here's my wish list for High Park:

  • Better understanding by everyone involved of the need to protect the natural areas, and what this protection entails (with respect to City parks staff this is in the Parks Plan)
  • Enough dedicated resources to maintain the natural areas. (The City has considerable expertise, and ecological restoration is a field that many young people find attractive. The need is to budget for the work.)
  • By-law enforcement adequate to protect the natural areas. (In the short term this means near-constant by-law officer presence to eliminate off-leash dogs from natural areas. Aquatic areas need similar presence to enforce the fishing by-law. Most people respect the by-laws, but those that don't cause enormous harm to assets owned by everybody.)
  • A master plan for High Park, starting with best practices for protecting the natural areas because those cannot be relocated, followed by a management plan for High Park. Both the master plan and the management plan should be sufficiently flexible to protect the natural areas from evolving threats. Needless to say both should be adequately resourced.

My next wish list is for a deep understanding of the capacity of all our parks and measures of the demand for recreation and leisure activities. We also need to stop pretending we can get something for nothing. Events and capital projects are attractive to some (and often do more harm than good in natural areas); the hard slog of operating facilities is not.

If you would like to be added to or removed from the NEC email list please email mail@highparknature.org.

Mailing address for legal purposes: High Park Natural Environment Committee c/o High Park Nature Centre, PO Box 30044, Toronto, ON M6P 3K0

hosted by canadianwebhosting.ca | powered by pmwiki-2.2.102
Content last modified on January 02, 2020, at 02:59 PM EST