GTA Ravines Revival

Southern Ontario’s Greenbelt preserves 1.8 million acres of crucial biosphere and agricultural land, radiating out from Lake Ontario in the midst of the Golden Horseshoe, Canada’s most urbanized region.

It is the world’s largest greenbelt – permanently protected land where stricter zoning laws aim to curb urban sprawl and keep farmlands, forests, Escarpment features, wetlands and watersheds intact.

We tend to identify rural or semi-rural regions with the Greenbelt, but it connects with downtown Toronto’s own, erstwhile forgotten belt of green – the ravine system of woodlands and waterways snaking throughout the city. Jason Van Bruggen’s photos bring out all the living dimensions of these precious places.

Rob Krueger is an avid fly-fisherman and outdoorsman. In addition to annual trips to some of the world's most exotic locations in search of Trout, Rob often fishes for Brown Trout and Steelhead in the upper and lower stretches of the Humber. He frequents a number of spots in each season where he's consistently found fish over the years. He declined to share specifics with readers.
“Carp jumping at the Old Mill dam on the Humber River. I saw a few steelhead (who typically run in March/April) make it over the dam, but these carp never came close.”

 The interactive Love the Ravines campaign invites Torontonians to use the hashtag #lovetheravines to share stories via Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

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Carp jumping at the Old Mill dam on the Humber River. I saw a few Steelhead (who typically run in March/April) make it over the dam, but these carp never came close.
“Rob Krueger is an avid fly-fisherman and outdoorsman. In addition to annual trips to some of the world’s most exotic locations in search of trout, Rob often fishes for brown trout and steelhead in the upper and lower stretches of the Humber. He frequents a number of spots in each season where he’s consistently found fish over the years. He declined to share specifics.”

The ravines provide 10,500 hectares of recreational space, improve air quality, control flood waters, and attract tourism. Recent steps taken by the province enable cities to designate urban river valleys as part of Ontario’s Greenbelt, permanently protecting these features and connecting them to a wider network of green space that spans more than 1.8 million acres from Niagara to Peterborough.

 The dense canopy covering the banks of the Don often obscures the river itself when seen from the air during peak summer. Bike and foot paths weave in and out of the dense deciduous forest, across the river and through various urban features found in the Valley.
“The dense canopy covering the banks of the Don often obscures the river itself when seen from the air during peak summer. Bike and foot paths weave in and out of the dense deciduous forest, across the river and through various urban features found in the Valley.”

Patagonia Toronto, Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation, Environmental Defence, Toronto Environmental Alliance and DOT DOT DASH have collaborated to inspire residents to celebrate Toronto’s ravines or discover them for the first time.

A long exposure of the Don Valley Parkway from the Gerrard St. bridge. This was one of many unusually significant thunder storms that erupted over Toronto in the Summer of 2013. The Don Valley Parkway was completely flooded twice. It was quite remarkable seeing cars underwater and passengers completely stranded. It felt like a pretty convincing proof point for climate change to me.
“A long exposure of the Don Valley Parkway from the Gerrard St. bridge. This was one of many unusually significant thunder storms that erupted over Toronto in the summer of 2013. The Parkway was completely flooded twice. It was remarkable seeing cars underwater and passengers stranded. It felt like a pretty convincing proof-point for climate change.”

More Jason Van Bruggen photos in his feature in our spring issue here.

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