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.
The interactive Love the Ravines campaign invites Torontonians to use the hashtag #lovetheravines to share stories via Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.
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.
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.
More Jason Van Bruggen photos in his feature in our spring issue here.