Toronto is a city of trees. From centuries-old native oaks in our parks to imported Norway maples planted on lawns, Toronto’s greenery may not always be evident, but it is an integral part of the city’s life and history. Local Enhancement and Appreciation of Forests (LEAF) and the Toronto Public Space Committee (TPSC) have come together to create a series of tree tours that explore the urban canopy. Toronto Tree Tours offers guided walks as well as providing the maps required for self-guided tours. This week, Torontoist checked out the Dovercourt Park and Neighbourhood tour.
The walk itself is short, but it is very well storied. Toronto Tree Tours has done a fantastic job of collecting the arboreal lore of the area. Beginning in Dovercourt Park, participants begin under the branches of hundred-year-old silver maples, and are surrounded by new trees planted in 2003 that will be ready to offer shade when their older counterparts have reached the end of their lives. The greening of Dovercourt Junior Public School’s playground is chronicled, as well as several stories of how non-native tree species came to the city.
The tour also goes beyond trees, pointing out some of Dovercourt Village’s surviving farmhouses and a squat yellow building that is believed to have once been an ice house.
Taking a self-guided Toronto Tree Tours tour does take a little bit of planning. While all of the material you’ll need get the most out of the walk is available on their web site, they haven’t yet assembled downloadable packages that can be easily carried on a walk. If you don’t have a wireless PDA, a good way to make the tour materials more portable is to cut-and-paste the text into a word processor and print it out. When printing, don’t forget to reduce the font size or print multiple pages onto one sheet of paper. Let’s try to minimize the tragic irony of killing trees in order to appreciate them.
The next Toronto Tree Tours event takes place on September 29 in Kensington Market as part of Nuit Blanche. The next scheduled walk is the Bendale Tree Tour in Scarborough on October 14.