If you care about improving trail linkages for Toronto’s ravines, right now is a critical moment to send your municipal councillor a short email. A new year-round trail linking Earl Bales Park southwards to York Mills subway station is up for a vote, thanks to a coalition of groups including TFN. City Council will vote on this proposal at the Nov. 8 Council meeting: the agenda items is IE7.8. Councillors need to hear from us – their constituents – that we do care about improving public access to urban nature as a general principle; that year-round trail access is far more valuable than winter-only access and that we support the Earl Bales – York Mills trail link as a specific example. That’s why your quick e-mail to your own city councillor before Nov. 8 could make all the difference. Make sure to cite agenda item IE7.8. Please take just a minute to help TFN in this campaign!
Here’s how to find your councillor:
Toronto’s ravines are vital green spaces, offering links to nearby nature for our communities. But many ravines have effectively been inaccessible to exactly those populations most in need, including young families, newcomers and transit users. The pandemic convinced Torontonians that our neighbourhoods need safe year-round pathways to local nature – dedicated pathways allowing pedestrians and cyclists to avoid busy roadways. Earl Bales would be an ideal location to advance a year-round trail connection:
- The many informal trails criss-crossing the area are evidence of the pent-up demand for better linkages through this green space. Erosion, habitat destruction and safety are of course the major down-sides of informal trails. A dedicated formal link would ease pressure on the ravine slopes now being damaged by informal trails.
- Guided walking tours through Earl Bales are already offered by our own TFN outing program and by other nature-focused groups. A direct link for pedestrians to the subway system, coupled with access during the peak seasons of spring, summer and fall would make Earl Bales much more attractive as a destination.
- Highway 401 is currently an almost insurmountable barrier to walkers or cyclists in the area. A dedicated ravine trail giving walkers and cyclists safe passage under Hwy 401 would be a game-changing improvement.
TFN is optimistic that a year-round trail link from Earl Bales to York Mills subway station is very doable. We look forward to collaborating with local Councillors, community members and other stakeholder groups to determine what the best possible trail alignment could be.
Read more about the proposal that was approved by the Infrastructure and Environment Committee, City of Toronto on Oct. 25, 2023, and now still needs approval by City Council on Nov. 8.