50 Reasons to Love Toronto: Nos. 40-41, Wild beasts roam wild in the city’s ravines

50 Reasons to Love Toronto: Nos. 40-41, Wild beasts roam wild in the city’s ravines

(Image: James Lourenço)
(Image: James Lourenço) 

Toronto’s ravines have long been a hospitable home for wildlife. Now we’re seeing all manner of strange beast roaming our city: peregrine falcons roost atop downtown towers; chinook salmon jump the weir only steps from the Old Mill subway station as they make their way to the headwaters of the Humber; and coyote and fox counts continue to climb, as does the city’s Virginia possum population. The elusive white squirrel—or squirrels, no one knows for sure—of Trinity Bellwoods Park is thought by some to bring good fortune and lauded with a namesake café. Across town in the Beach, visitors to a garage sale were recently surprised to see a white-tailed deer trotting down the street.

There are a handful of explanations for this growing menagerie: our natural shoreline, our place on ancient migratory routes, and, of course, those vast and sheltered ravines. Add to these an environmental mindset that embraces rooftop gardens, naturalized school yards and tree planting as civic duty. The city has become a luscious habitat, and it’s a thrill to spot the wild beasts that share it with us.