Tour explores the natural history of Milne Hollow
October 7, 2014 – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – This past Sunday, 50 people joined LEAF (Local Enhancement & Appreciation of Forests), Heritage Toronto, and the Don Watershed Regeneration Council for a tour exploring the natural history of Milne Hollow. This walk through the quiet ravine revealed the layers of industrialization and renaturalization that have shaped its landscape over the years.
Participants learned how in the 1800s the East Don River made Milne Hollow a successful industrial site, and that the mid 1900s it became a recreational ski area. Today, it serves as a modern stormwater facility designed to reduce flooding in the Lower Don. The tour explored some of the ponds that are part of this stormwater management system.
“At Heritage Toronto we are dedicated to raising awareness of this city's heritage, and its natural heritage is an important part of the puzzle,” said Gary Miedema, Chief Historian and Associate Director at Heritage Toronto.
“Milne Hollow has been a fascination of mine now for a number of years” Miedema added. “It first came to my attention by way of the lone house in the valley that survives from a mid-nineteenth century mill community. I have since come to see Milne Hollow as a wonderful representation of the impact of human beings on the environment. It has been stripped bare of trees by a farming and milling community, stripped again and partially re-graded for a ski hill, fundamentally altered by an expressway, and then naturalized and returned to forest and uncut meadow once again. And the little house survives to help us tell that story.”
The tour addressed how railways, expressways, flooding and invasive species have impacted the area throughout Toronto’s history and how recent stewardship efforts have helped preserve this important natural landscape. “I like to share my love of nature and the interaction of city life with it,” said Peter Heinz of the Don Watershed Regeneration Council, a co-leaders of the tour. “A visit to Milne Hollow gives a feel for the challenges a river and its surrounding environment receives from urban development and climate change.”
“Milne Hollow is an amazing natural space in our city, said Robyn Stewart, Education & Outreach Coordinator at LEAF and a co-leader of the tour. “I was excited to introduce people to this unique area and we were lucky enough to catch a glimpse of salmon on the tour!”
Education & Outreach Coordinator, LEAF
416-413-9244 x14 (Office)