Welcome to Wild About The City!
And welcome to my local park, Ashbridge’s Bay, just east of downtown Toronto.
It’s hard to imagine that throughout Toronto — an ever-enlarging metropolis of some 4 million souls, there are these almost-wild places. Places carved out of the urban environment designed to be recreational space for runners, picnickers, dog walkers, strollers and whatever else you might care to do to relax or rejuvenate away from the hurly burly of the city.
Ashbridge’s Bay is one such little place of respite. Not very big. But within its tiny boundaries a huge world lives, going about its business while few people pay attention.
What started off as a bare-bones park built on a tiny spit of landfill is now home to an entire ecosystem. Some natural, and some — well, not so much.
Here is a map of Ashbridge’s Bay Park, brought to you by our friends at Google Maps. (Is that a fabulous creation, or what?)
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My local park was named for Sarah Ashbridge, a Quaker widow and United Empire Loyalist from Philadelphia who settled here in 1793 and obtained a Crown land grant for a farm in 1799. There is still a piece of Ashbridge property existing on our neighbourhood’s main thoroughfare, Queen St. What I would give to be able to travel back in time to see what this land was like before it was razed of trees, built upon, fouled by industry and had its watershed permanently altered!
My goal with Wild About The City is to bring together a like-minded community of people who treasure their encounters with the wild things that go about their secret lives in our city, Toronto. I’m interested in all of it — flora, fauna and the whole web that keeps them together. I hope people will visit, comment, and let me know what wild things are going in their part of the city. Coyotes? Foxes? Great horned owls? Unusual butterflies? Let me know. Perhaps I can get a picture of your wild thing and write about it so that others can appreciate it, too.
Join me in my exploration. Slow down, and look around quietly and closely — that’s where the wild city gets interesting. That’s where you begin to uncover its real stories.
© BCP 2010