Thursday, March 23, 2017

Welcome to the Guildwood Pond

I would like to introduce a province-wide conservation program that I'm participating in. The program is called Adopt-A-Pond and is developed and administered in partnership by Environment Canada's Nature Watch program, the Ontario Government's Natural Heritage Information Centre (NHIC) and the Toronto Zoo Wetland conservation program. 

The pond I have adopted is situated along the Scarborough shoreline, beside the Guildwood beach and I've now listed it as the official location for Frog Watch Ontario and Ontario Turtle Tally. It's a small pond, with a rough circumference of 400 ft and at its deepest point may only be 4-5 ft deep. The pond sits near a beach at the base of the bluffs, at the end of a service road. For the purpose of this project, I have (unofficially) named it Guildwood Pond. 

I will be visiting the pond at least 3 times a week in the spring to report sightings on a routine schedule and whether there are frogs present or not, the information will be used by scientists studying the threats to amphibian populations. The data collected will help biologists and conservationists understand the impact of environmental change on our native species. 
My inspiration for being involved in this program is based in my life-long interest in our amphibian friends, and my appreciation for the natural landscape that I have been exploring along the shores of the Scarborough Bluffs. 

In April of last year, I was going for an early morning walk and as I was half way down the Guild service road I was amazed to hear an orchestra of delightful calls and chirps echoing up the hill. It seemed to be coming from the direction of the lake. Being new to the area, at first I was surprised. I had no idea what the sound was, or where it was coming from. I slowly proceeded down the service road and as I got to the end, I paused for a moment to listen again. The sound was louder. I realized the direction it was coming from and looked over the hill and there below me I saw the pond, just to the east of Guild beach. Then I realized it was the sound of frogs calling! I was amazed by this discovery and so delighted to find this pond. How wonderful to have this important habitat so close to the beach.   Frogs are an important part of local biodiversity and are considered 'indicator' species because of how vulnerable they are to environmental changes. 

"Frogs and toads have a special role to play in keeping the environment healthy. With their semi-permeable skin and their ability to live 'on the edge' between water and land, frogs and toads are very sensitive to pollution and other environmental changes"

I learned about the Frog Watch and Turtle Tally programs this past winter when I was updating my sightings of frogs and turtles onto regional and national databases.  I have been looking forward to being involved in the Adopt-A-Pond program with great anticipation and now that spring is here, I hope you will enjoy taking this journey with me. I'll be back soon with some updates on my recent visits to the pond!

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

April 9 - Beach Walk from East Point to Grey Abbey

We're very pleased to be offering this walk along the beach with you on Sunday April 9th at 2 pm. We look forward to sharing the unique features of East Point and Grey Abbey with you! 

This 3 km sand beach along the Scarborough Bluffs is a natural area completely uninterrupted by development. The shoreline has been shaped by the elements of wind and water over time, and the sand beach has accumulated by the silty clay of the bluffs that have eroded, collected and gathered on the shore. This area is pretty much as natural as you will find, and it's quite the accomplishment to have in an urban area. Come walk the beach and learn why this area may become one of Toronto's most celebrated regional attractions of the future.

• As you walk the sand beach, the only sounds to be heard will be that of the waves rolling onto the shore beside you. This walk is an acoustic delight, offering you a well-deserved reprise from the bustling sounds of urban living!

• This dynamic open coast represents one of the most beautiful natural areas in the city. If you're an artist or collector, you won't be able to resist the beach glass, driftwood and variety of stones that we'll come across.

• The entire length of this shoreline provides a view of the low level bluffs, offering a glimpse into the remarkable geology that has remained unchanged for thousands of years.

• The benefit of water access for the local wildlife will become obvious and as we proceed down the beach on our walk, we'll keep an eye on the variety of animal tracks. We'll also point out the nesting location for the thousands of bank swallows that make this area home when they return in spring. 

• The unique features of this open coast make this shoreline ideal for recreation. The beaches of East Point and Grey Abbey offer optimum entry points for wind and water-based activities that include surfing, swimming, kayaking, paragliding and more. 

How many cities can boast a sand beach over 3 km in length that offers so much value, and the only thing we have to give in return is to preserve the natural beauty that is already there? 

Join us on this beach walk - experience for yourself!


We will walk for approximately 2.5 hrs. All ages and walking levels welcome. The walk is mostly sand beach but there is some uneven terrain, stepping over driftwood etc. 

Please note there are no washroom facilities. 

We will be meeting in the public parking area of East Point Park at 4 Beechgrove Drive. 

Call for details 416-871-5132 or email

If you are travelling by TTC, please take the #86D and get out on the corner of Coronation and Beechgrove. It will be a 15 minute walk south east of there. If you need to be picked up from there, please phone us (plan to arrive a bit early) and we can pick you up from there or carpool from another location.  

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Grey Abbey Walking Tour - March 5th Highlights

Thank you to everyone that joined our recent walking tour of Grey Abbey Park and Ravine. The walking tour was well attended and even in the extreme cold, we had a group of 34 guests!

The crowd gathers, yet we patiently wait for our start time of 2 pm.

After an introduction to the history of Grey Abbey, we proceed to enjoy the view of the lake

It's a very cold windy day but it's worth it for the remarkable view of the shoreline all the way to East Point

We're so pleased to meet so many wonderful people from the community and share our appreciation of this area. This is me (Jen Falvy), smiling as everyone enjoys the view of the lake. Photo credits Mike Melnechenko.

Guildwood community member John Mason (on the upper left) sharing some of his knowledge of the shoreline and (second from the right) is Steve Smith who worked with me to arrange this walking tour.

Jen Falvy walking through one of her favourite parts of Grey Abbey; the path through the forest which used to be a road to one of the farm houses in the 1950's

Some wonderful friends from the community and (half way back) is Steve Smith and Mike Melnechenko; both are 'Friends of the Bluffs' and assisted with arranging the walking tour of Grey Abbey. 

Winding our way towards the end of the walk towards Morningside Avenue.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Grey Abbey Walking Tour - 2 pm Sunday March 5th

Join us for our next walk through Grey Abbey Park in east Scarborough this March. As some of you were unable to attend the February walk due to the weather we thought it would be great to walk again!
Grey Abbey Park is an exceptional little park situated high upon the bluffs, at the foot of Morningside Avenue and Greyabbey Trail. This unique park, is often overlooked, yet is known to the local community for offering some of the most amazing views of the lake - especially at this time of year when the leaves are down. The view to the east and west are completely unobstructed, offering a view as far as the eye can see. 
In addition to the obvious attraction of the vistas, Grey Abbey has some other notable features and unique terrain that truly make this a park with some punch! 
Where else can you:
• walk along open and manicured grounds that may have remnants of a farm community from over 150 yrs ago
• wind your way through a rare and symbolic birch forest
• look down upon 2 km of sand beach that looks like a travel destination as you watch and listen to waves roll against the sand
• travel along a path that is right beside an open gully over 200 m wide, and 200 m deep that was formed by the last ice age
• contemplate the fate of a local swamp
• enjoy a quiet walk on a trail though the forest
Come to Grey Abbey Park ...

Enjoy the walk, you won’t be disappointed!

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

It was a winter wonderful walk - thanks for joining us!

Thank you everyone that came out on this snowy day for our walking tour. We were all bundled up well and made our way through the trails. It's a great workout walking through deep snow and the fresh air was wonderful. Unfortunately the snow was so heavy at the start of our tour that it you could not even see the lake. And it was right in front of us! This was not the open view we had expected, but it was delightful in it's own way...