Get to Know Your Don Watershed
Photo by Jamie Bradburn/Torontoist.
For several years, those hiking or riding through Rouge Park have noticed wavy road signs marking out the park’s waterways. What once might have been treated as just another scenic stream is now easily identified as an aquatic artery like Little Rouge Creek or Little Rouge River. The idea seems to have worked well, as similar signage for the waterways in the Don River’s watershed was officially unveiled by Toronto and Region Conservation and the Don Watershed Regeneration Council at a ceremony this morning at the Victoria Park Avenue crossing of Taylor Massey Creek.
According to Peter Heinz, vice chair of the Don Watershed Regeneration Council, the wavy design arose when “the Rouge Park Alliance worked with both the Town of Markham and the City of Toronto to come up with a unique design suitable to the corporate standards of each municipality. The Rouge Park Alliance agreed that this design could be used by other watersheds. As rivers flow from the Oak Ridges Moraine or their respective sources, they cross political boundaries. The meandering shape of the sign will do the same in the Don watershed, modified only by appropriate municipal and watershed logos.”
The first signs for the Don watershed were erected in mid-March. “After that,” says Heinz, “it was like an Easter egg hunt, with each new sign adding to the excitement.” Sixty-four of these markers now dot the city, with plans to extend installation into Markham. While there are currently no firm plans to create similar signage for other watersheds in the city like the Humber River, interest has been shown in developing signs for Highland Creek and its tributaries.
That Earth Day was chosen for the official ceremony is not coincidental. Backers of the signs hope that the glances they draw bring attention to local waterways and the environmental issues surrounding them. “Watersheds pertain to everyone in some way,” notes Heinz. “However, less than half our citizens really know what a watershed is, how it affects them and more importantly, how they affect it. Talk of a Wet Weather Flow Master Plan or regeneration at the mouth of the Don is meaningless unless there is an understanding and a connection to a watershed. These signs will give that connection.”
We received one suggestion to improve the signage via an email from advertising activist Rami Tabello: make the markers double-sided to allow easier identification for pedestrians heading against the traffic flow.