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Toronto Paddlers Take on the Don River in an Annual Spring Ritual to Raise Awareness About the Importance of Healthy Rivers

May 04, 2012



For Immediate Release    

Attention Assignment and Photo Editors

(TORONTO, May 4, 2012)


Travelling through Toronto is usually done by car, transit, bikes or on foot, but on May 6, the usually quiet Don River, once one of Canada's most neglected urbanized rivers, will have close to 600 urban voyageurs  and 22 corporate teams travelling 10.5 km through the heart of Toronto from the seat of a canoe. Usually the Don River is too shallow for canoeing, but once a year, Toronto and Region Conservation (TRCA) opens a nearby dam so that participants can paddle a two hour journey from Ernest Thompson Seton Park in Don Mills all the way to the mouth of the river at Keating Channel in Toronto Harbour, under the Gardiner Expressway. Corporate Teams and paddlers of all ages get an urban experience of the Don River like no other and come away with a greater appreciation of nature in the city.

Manulife Paddle the Don remains a free event; however donations to regenerate the Don are encouraged. Since the pledge program began in 2002, paddlers have raised almost $400,000! Funds raised will help support initiatives that are of environmental benefit to the watershed and the people who live, work and visit the Don. In 2012 funds will go towards: education, by providing the opportunity for students to participate in locally based environmental education programming; conservation, by supporting the Toronto Botanical Garden's innovative efforts to use and re-use water on-site and public awareness, by funding the City of Toronto's Biodiversity Booklet Series.

The event is organized by TRCA and The Living City Foundation with the support of the Wilderness Canoe Association and the Don Watershed Regeneration Council, and other dedicated volunteers, generous sponsors and watershed supporters.


WHEN: Sunday, May 6, 2012

8:00 a.m. Kick off program

8:30 a.m. First launch of the day at the Launch Site, includes launch of special guests

8:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. Paddlers launch from Ernest Thompson Seton Park

10:30 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. Paddlers begin arriving at Take-Out Site

10:30 a.m. Start of Manulife Take-Out Party at the Take-Out Site.  A barbeque will be held and food and refreshments will be available for a nominal cost. Entertainment by musical group The Don Valley Boyz.



Launch site: The paddle starts at Ernest Thompson Seton Park, access the park via the entrance to Wilket Creek Park and Sunnybrook Park on the west side of Leslie Street, just north of Eglinton Avenue, and follow the signs to the Paddle.


Take-Out Site: The Paddle the Don take-out, located in the parkette on the northwest corner of Villiers Street and Don Roadway.


WHO:  John Carmichael, MP, Don Valley West; Craig Scott, MP, Toronto-Danforth; Kathleen Wynne, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing and Minister of  Aboriginal Affairs (MPP, Don Valley West); Michael Prue, MPP, Beaches-East York; Michael Coteau, MPP, Don Valley East; David Zimmer, MPP, Willowdale ; Janet Davis, Councillor, Ward 31, Beaches-East York; Josh Matlow, Councillor, Ward 22, St. Paul's; Chin Lee, Councillor, Ward 41, Scarborough-Rouge River; Mary Fragedakis, Councillor, Toronto-Danforth; Valerie Burke, Councillor, Ward 1, Markham, also a Don Council Member and spokespeople from TRCA, Manulife Financial, corporate teams and paddlers of all ages at the Launch Site and Take-Out Site


For more information please go to:

To download a route map:


Toronto and Region Conservation

With over 50 years of experience, Toronto and Region Conservation (TRCA) helps people understand, enjoy and look-after the natural environment. Our vision is for The Living City®, where human settlement can flourish forever as part of nature's beauty and diversity.  For more information, call 416-661-6600 or visit us at







Media contacts:

Rowena Calpito, Supervisor Media Management

Toronto and Region Conservation

Tel: 416-661-6600 ext 5632 Mobile: 416-358-3446 E-mail:       


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Media contact:

Elizabeth Oakley
Tel: 416-661-6600 ext 5856

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