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Citizens Concerned About the Future of the Etobicoke Waterfront

Updated: Oct. 20, 2014

What’s New

Renew your membership for 2015 on line.

Humber College Welcome Centre (updated)

Council Candidate Information

October Bird Walk Report

Official Plan Review Open Houses

Sam Smith Park a candidate ESA

Updated Meeting Schedule

Sam Smith Park

[Home] [Parks] [Sam Smith Park]

Colonel Samuel Smith Park is one of Toronto's newest and largest waterfront parks. It is located at the south end of Kipling Avenue, in the community of New Toronto near its border with Long Branch. Much of the park was created from lake fill in front of the former Lakeshore Psychiatric Hospital and the RL Clark Filtration Plant. The waterfront lakefill area is mainly naturalized with grasses, shrubs and small trees. The shoreline is a combination of rocky headlands, cobble beaches and protected wetland. This blends further north into the mature trees and mowed lawns of the former hospital grounds.

The result is a park that is popular for a variety of passive recreational activities including walking, cycling, and fishing. The diversity and quality of habitats has earned the park a reputation as one of the premier birding locations in the city.

Sam Smith Park is the #3 Bird Hotspot in Toronto

eBird, an on-line bird records database recently developed a “Hotspot” tool that, among other things, summarizes data from locations known to be good places to find birds: hotspots. According to this database, 251 different species of bird have been recorded in the park. That is a testament to diversity and quality of the habitats found at this city park. From the eBird database, here’s a list of the top ten Toronto hotspots (in terms of number of species) as of September 22, 2014.

Rank

Location

Species

1

Tommy Thompson Park

270

2

Toronto Islands

265

3

Colonel Samuel Smith Park

251

4

Tommy Thompson Park Bird Research Station

208

5

High Park

202

6

Humber Bay Park (East)

185

7

Ashbridges Bay Park

176

8

Tommy Thompson Park (Wet Woods)

171

9

Rosetta McClain Gardens

154

10

Lambton Woods

135

The park hosted Toronto’s first confirmed successful Red-necked Grebe nest in 2012 after several years of failed attempts. The chicks hatched in early August: about 2 months later than they should. The first chick this year was reported on June 12th, nearly two months earlier than last year. By June 16th, there were at least 3 chicks total between two nests and eggs still being incubated on three nests. The park is the most easterly known nesting location of this prairie-nesting species.

You can see photos of 2013’s first chick on the June 2013 Bird Walk page. Here are some photos of their early days in 2012:

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Skating-Trail

As of December 2010, the park also boasts an artificial ice skating trail, just south of the Power House. This is a feature we tried to keep out of the park. After losing that fight, we then worked to minimize it’s impact on the natural environment. You can read more about our concerns and the compromises proposed & reached here.

We have received many calls about the operating details of this new facility, and since neither the City or the Councillor appear to have posted them on-line, here they are:

There is an indoor skate changing area and washrooms, but no skate sharpening or skate rentals. For more information, visit the City of Toronto Outdoor Rinks Page. or the City Rinks wiki.

New Interpretive Signage

New interpretive signs were installed in May 2010. Click on the map locations or the descriptions to the right of the map to view photos of the signs.

colonel sam smith park locarion map

Sign Topics

1. Land Birds

2. Native Plants

3. Forest Succession

4. Beavers

5. Mammals

6. Water Birds

7. Butterflies

8. Snakes

9. Wetland Wildlife

Friends of Sam Smith

Out of the concern and controversy surrounding the proposal to build a skateboard facility in Colonel Sam Smith Park many local residents realized the need for a community group dedicated to the park. The “Friends of Sam Smith” got started in late 2006. In April 2008 the picked a logo and launched a blog dedicated to the park. We will continue to post notices of their meetings and events on our Activities page, but you can find the blog by clicking on their logo below.

FOSS green sm

Colonel Samuel Smith Park was created on the site of the former Lakeshore Psychiatric Hospital as part of a larger complex known as “The Lakeshore Grounds”. The grounds were developed with the assistance of a Master Design and Implementation Plan (also known as the Moore George Report), to help the various landowners and stakeholders work together. There are 4 landowners at the site: The City of Toronto, The Toronto and Region Conservation Authority, Humber College, and the Toronto Catholic District School Board.

Lakeshore Grounds Site Management Units - colour coded

The plan identified 6 site management units:

  1. Heritage Conservation(YELLOW)
  2. Landscape Regeneration (GREEN)
  3. Park Transformation   (PINK)
  4. Waterfront Transition (PURPLE)
  5. Boating Basin         (LIGHT BLUE)
  6. Primary Shoreline    (DARK BLUE)

These units are identified on this map. Click on the map to open it as a higher resolution pdf file.

These site management units were adopted as part of an Etobicoke City Council resolution in 1997. Click here to see the full text of that resolution (pdf).

Colonel Samuel Smith Park is normally the site of our April, May, June, September, and October Bird Walks. You will find upcoming dates and reports from past walks on our Bird Walks page.

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