Upcoming Events

Mar 17 2021 Lecture /

Nature’s Voice in the City: Public Advocacy and the Future of Toronto Green Spaces

5:30 PM - 6:30 PM




view from a green field looking across the lake to the Toronto skyline on a foggy day

Toronto has a long history of concerned citizen groups who play a crucial role in how inner-city wilderness areas are shaped and used. These groups have organized and worked with all levels of government to ensure that parklands making up the watersheds and waterfront are maintained as environmentally significant areas. This webinar will explore the unique story of Tommy Thompson Park and the Leslie Street Spit. Specifically, how this landform constructed of sand and rubble on the shores of Lake Ontario became one of the richest ecosystems in a major urban centre through the combined efforts of citizen activism and landscape design. In a time of increased awareness about the importance of public access to nature, this webinar will explore how citizen advocacy contributes to the health and well-being of the city.

Webinar Hosted by: Robert Burley, Ryerson University

Robert is a co-author of Accidental Wilderness, and an artist/professor at Ryerson’s School of Image Arts. His work explores the relationships between the city and nature.

Moderator: Lorraine Johnson

Lorraine is the author of numerous books on native plant gardening, stewardship, conservation and urban agriculture. Her most recent book is about growing habitat for pollinators.



Walter Kehm: Walter is an author of Accidental Wilderness and created the masterplan for Tommy Thompson Park in the mid-1980’s. As a practicing landscape architect and ecologist, he has stayed involved with Tommy Thompson Park over the last four decades.

John Carley: John is a contributing writer to Accidental Wilderness, and, since 1986, has been co-chair of the citizen advocacy group, Friends of the Spit. Now a retired architect, John is a board member of FLAP Canada, and also coordinates the annual Toronto Centre Butterfly Count.

Jacqueline L. Scott: Jacqueline is a writer, activist and PhD student at the University of Toronto, OISE, in the department of Social Justice Education. Her research is on race in outdoor recreation and she creates community events and dialogue through her public program, Black Outdoors.

Shawn Micallef: Shawn is the author of Frontier City: Toronto on the Verge of GreatnessStroll: Psychogeographic Walking Tours of Toronto and The Trouble With Brunch: Work, Class and the Pursuit of Leisure. He’s a weekly columnist at the Toronto Star, instructor at University of Toronto, and a senior editor and co-owner of Spacing magazine.


Additional information available at: https://accidentalwilderness.robertburley.com/

Support from Mary & Jim Connacher Family, Ryerson University, UTPress, OALA

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