Connecting and protecting our urban ravine system
Toronto is home to one of the world’s largest ravine systems. Spanning more than 11,000 hectares, the ravines are considered Toronto’s most defining and beloved natural feature. They form a primary connection to the urban wilderness and link river valleys with parks, neighbourhoods, and the urban landscape.
For centuries, the ravines have been home to many nations, including the Mississaugas of the Credit River, the Anishnabeg, the Chippewa, the Haudenosaunee, the Wendat and Petun peoples. Today, they are home to many diverse peoples, including First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples.
The ravines play a vital role in city life. They offer residents a chance to connect with nature, while supporting their physical and mental well-being.
Evergreen and the Ravines
Evergreen has been deeply connected to the ravines since our very beginning, leading community tree planting work in the Don Valley thirty years ago.
The ravines became our home in 2010, when we transformed the abandoned Don Valley Brick Works factory into the Evergreen Brick Works, a vibrant cultural hub and gateway to the ravine system. Since then, we have welcomed hundreds of thousands of visitors to the ravines and engaged them through children school programs, camps, hikes, rides, public markets, gardens, stewardship efforts, exhibits and public art installations.
In 2013, the City brought together stakeholders, including Evergreen, to create “the Lower Don Master Plan: Access, Environment and Art.” The project led to trail improvements, new ravine gateways, bridges, and signage.
In 2017, Evergreen launched the Don River Valley Park, a project to create a “super park,” encompassing 480-acres of green space along the Lower Don Corridor, connecting the ravine landscape with adjacent parks from Evergreen Brick Works southwards to Lake Ontario. This project has played a role in catalyzing a much larger commitment to the 45,000-acre city-wide Ravine Strategy. Residents can continue to explore art projects located along the Don, created as part of the Evergreen’s Public Art program.
What’s Next: The Loop Trail
The Ravine Loop Trail — a project in collaboration with Evergreen, City of Toronto, the Toronto Region Conservation Authority, and other partners — aims to enhance trail connectivity throughout the city by creating a continuous 65-kilometre multi-use trail circuit.
The Loop Trail will help protect natural heritage, improve the quality of existing trails, and enhance public programming within the ravines. The project will prioritize enhancing trails, access points, and public programming in Neighbourhood Improvement Areas (NIAs).
The Trail will also include “community ravine hubs,” which will act as gathering points for social and cultural experiences, and help create extended, immersive experiences in the ravine system.
These hubs will offer educational opportunities to explore the industrial, cultural, ecological, and Indigenous histories of the area. They will be launch pads for organized and self-guided activities, including interpretive walks, children's play, seniors’ walking groups, school and camp programming, skating, biking, and jogging. They will also be starting points for cultural activities such as celebrations, public art, community events, organized stewardship programming, and community gardens.
The Loop Trail project is part of the City of Toronto’s Ravine Strategy Implementation Plan.
Watch Our Latest Ravine Talks
You can watch the latest editions of our Ravine Talk series below. Check out our What's On page to sign up for any upcoming talks.