This New Outer Harbour Recreational Node is Home to Fish, Fowl and Fans of Both

ducks swimming in Lake Ontario

Making progress on Lake Ontario Park Quick Starts

POSTED: APRIL 24, 2015

An inviting outcropping at the water’s edge in Lake Ontario Park, the Outer Harbour Recreational Node is an accessible space to enjoy recreational fishing, bird watching or to simply sit and enjoy nature. And, it’s also a great resting spot for those using the nearby Martin Goodman Trial and Tommy Thompson Park Trail system. 

three people fishing

Left to right: Councillor Paula Fletcher (Ward 30 Toronto-Danforth); John Campbell, President and CEO, Waterfront Toronto; and Nick Saccone, Senior Director, Toronto and Region Conservation

In true Canadian fashion, officials from Waterfront Toronto, Toronto and Region Conservation and the City of Toronto braved the blustery weather on Earth Day to cast their fishing lines into the water - officially opening the Outer Harbour Recreational Node. 

Among the numerous guests and dignitaries at the opening were swans, ducks, ravens and a flock of tree swallows. While some people in the crowd were surprised and delighted, others more familiar with what this area has to offer simply said ‘welcome back’ - a great reminder that the waterfront truly is an urban cottage to many. A shout out to the urban fishing enthusiasts who also joined us, gear in hand, and raved about what a great addition this Node is to the Baselands; how it improves the aquatic habitat, enhances the fishing experience and makes it possible for many more people to access and enjoy an activity so close to their hearts.

Outer Harbour Recreational Node unveiledWildlife at Outer Harbour Recreational NodeGuests gather at opening of Outer Harbour Recreational Node

Among the numerous guests and dignitaries at the opening of the Outer Harbour Recreational Node were swans, ducks, ravens and a flock of tree swallows.

So, what the heck are “Quick Starts”?

Waterfront Toronto, in partnership with City of Toronto Parks, Forestry and Recreation, Planning, Transportation Services and Toronto and Region Conservation, are working collaboratively on a series of initiatives for Lake Ontario Park and Tommy Thompson Park, referred to as “Quick Starts” that will enhance recreational and ecological opportunities on the waterfront.

The proposed Quick Starts are based on concepts that were included in a broader vision for park planning, design and decision-making in this area, that was outlined in our Lake Ontario Park Master Plan. The objective of the initiative is to implement a series of projects that can deliver a wide range of public benefits within a reasonably short period of time.

Over the past year, the project team reviewed a wide range of options, met and consulted with a variety of stakeholders and interest groups, and developed a short list of proposed projects. The Outer Harbour Recreational Node is one of thirteen projects identified with a view to enhancing existing park conditions and improving the visitor experience.

Two other projects are either underway or completed:

Baselands & North Shore Planting and Landscape Enhancements

This project has a number of elements, including improving the appearance of the Martin Goodman Trail through landscape enhancements, retiring the network of unauthorized trails and improving native plantings. It also includes a program to protect existing habitat and the biodiversity in this area through the treatment and removal of Dog Strangling Vine, an extremely aggressive invasive species threatening native vegetation in the area.

Tommy Thompson Park Interpretation

The goal of this project is to foster self-guided exploration in the park. It includes a new front entrance sign, interpretive park materials and a new “Weekend Naturalist” position, who will offer nature interpretation programs to park users and visitors.

What’s next?

Upcoming Public Meeting – Trail Network for the Baselands

The next two Quick Start projects, Pedestrian Trial Networks and New Martin Goodman Trail (Baselands), are in the public consultation phase. In fact, there is a public meeting on Tuesday, April 28, 2015 to discuss the trails and get ideas to help shape their future. Please join us if you’d like to provide feedback.

Pedestrian Trail Network, Baselands

The key objectives of this project are enhancing the visitor experience and protecting the sensitive ecological environment in this area. And, by formalizing a set of pedestrian trails in the Baselands, the project will improve habitat protection. The design of the new trails will based on the Toronto and Region Conservaton’s Tommy Thompson Park Trails Master Plan and will be consistent with the hydrological (water) functions and needs of the landscape.

New Martin Goodman Trail, Baselands

The Martin Goodman Trail is a multi-use path along the waterfront in that is heavily used by pedestrians, runners, cyclists and inline skaters across the waterfront. The new section of the Martin Goodman Trail through the Baselands will fill a missing link of trail between Cherry Beach and Leslie Street. This new multi-use trail will wind its way through the rustic landscape of the Baselands improving user safety by providing a safe off-road path for pedestrians, cyclists and others, while protecting sensitive natural areas, regeneration zones and habitats.