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Understanding Toronto Ravines: Expect the Unexpected

Oct 06, 2014


For Immediate Distribution

  (Toronto, October 6) On Thursday, October 9th, Toronto's ravines become a global focus as GTA leaders in the environmental and design fields take an in-depth look at the emergence of a growing concern with preserving and enhancing Toronto's ravines.  Toronto is a city of ravines; there are approximately 26,000 acres of river corridors that are protected, but in the past this defining natural system is often forgotten during the urban design phase, and not fully integrated into the urban fabric. There is growing support for celebrating the ravines as a source of ecological and emotional wellbeing that is good for the City and its residents.

 Toronto's Ravines: Expect the Unexpected takes a close look at the challenges and unique solutions to integrating Toronto ravines into the urban environment while still ensuring the conservation of their ecological resources and the prevention of disasters due to flooding and erosion. The discussion of how to utilize and protect Toronto's largest natural asset will be shared with a global audience through the RavinePortal exhibition that is part of the WorldWide Storefront, a project of the Storefront for Art and Architecture in New York City.

 "There is often a perception that there is not enough land to fully integrate natural areas into the built environment, but there are design solutions to this," says Steve Heuchert, Senior Manager, Planning and Development, Toronto and Region Conservation.  "The driving force for our city's challenges is that there is a competing demand for land; more creative solutions are needed to accommodate our housing, employment, and retail developments while protecting our natural areas.  There is a vast ravine system that weaves through the middle of the largest city in Canada.  It must be preserved and enhanced with safe, accessible, and navigable access and ecological restoration, and be open for people to experience.  The ideas we discuss at the RavineTalk will set the stage to explore these solutions and bring it to a global platform where our ideas can be shared with cities experiencing the same challenges with their urban green space.  We need a new solution that incorporates ecological design if we want Toronto's ecosystem to survive the millions of new residents who will demand access to more open green space over the next few decades."

 From Toronto and Region Conservation's large database of species and land cover from across the region, a landscape analysis model was developed to evaluate the existing ecological conditions; and to predict the response of the region's biodiversity to urbanization should it proceed following the current practices in natural system protection.  From a known 1111 species, 693 were predicted to either disappear from the region or be severely restricted in their distribution under the status quo.  This dramatic loss would be accompanied by further impacts on water quality, flooding, erosion and visitor crowding within the natural system.   This model, included in the TRCA's Terrestrial Natural Heritage System Strategy, concluded that more natural cover would be needed in the region than exists today in order to protect biodiversity and its ancillary benefits in the face of urbanization. The ecological biodiversity and health of Toronto's ravines rely on this, and more discussions like the RavineTalks are needed.

 The RavineTalk is one of two lectures that is part of the RavinePortal Exhibition, which runs from September 26-November 21.  The exhibition is curated by Megan Torza of DTAH, in partnership with New York's Storefront for Art and Architecture.  The exhibit features works by local artists, architects, environmentalists and planners seeks to inspire curiosity, encourage access and increase exploration of our city's defining landscape.  The lecture is supported by Toronto Trees and Parks Foundation.

 Event Details: Toronto's Ravines: Expect the Unexpected

When: Thursday, October 9, 2014 from 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Where: St. Matthew's Clubhouse, 450 Broadview Ave, Toronto

Who: Steve Heuchert, Senior Manager, Planning and Development, Toronto and Region Conservation. Steve will explore the present potential of our ravines and present five ideas for how the audience can enhance them for the benefit of all.  Andrew Davies, Executive Director, No. 9. will speak to questions such as what role can public art play in introducing new populations to the ravines, and will provide an overview of their initiatives to program and animate the ravines

 Event Registration:

 About Toronto and Region Conservation

 With 60 years of experience, Toronto and Region Conservation (TRCA) helps people understand, enjoy and look after the natural environment. TRCA's vision is for the Living City - a cleaner, greener and healthier place to live, for you today and for your children tomorrow. For more information, call 416-661-6600 or visit us at

 About DTAH

DTAH architects, landscape architects, planners and urban designers, have been offering a unique mix of interdisciplinary services since 1972 to institutions, federal and provincial government agencies, municipalities, developers and corporations.


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 For more information about the RavinePortal exhibition please visit:

 Media information/interviews: Rowena Calpito, Supervisor, Public Relations,, 416-661-6600 ext 5632


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Elizabeth Oakley
Tel: 416-661-6600 ext 5856

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