Beechwood Wetland

Beechwood Wetland was developed to demonstrate how wetlands and woodland provide habitat and improve water quality, so helping to restore the Don’s wildlife corridor. Wetlands in this part of the province have been greatly diminished and face continued threats from urban sprawl. These losses have had a large impact on our natural environment. Small-scale restorations like the Beechwood Wetland project can show how valuable wetlands can be restored and their great value. Despite many years of disturbance, there are several mature native trees including a 150 year old Bur Oak and a grove of staghorn sumac. There is also a steady flow of water from groundwater seepage and surficial runoff from the nearby streets. The site was seen as fine area for restoration as it had due to the capacity for improvement to both terrestrial and aquatic habitat.

Group observing Beechwood Wetland, September ‘04

Task Force to Bring Back The Don initiated this is a project assisted by many partners including City of Toronto Parks and Recreation, Federation of Ontario Naturalists, Toronto, Region Conservation Authority, Unilever Canada, the Ministry of Natural Resources and many other groups and individuals. The McCutcheon Family Charitable Trust was the sponsor, which made this project possible.

Site preparation started in 2002. Heavy machinery was used to expand the swale, to create embayments and more varied topography. In 2003 volunteers planted 6500 native trees, shrubs and herbaceous wetland plants. A volunteer stewardship team was enlisted to control invasive plants and manage the newly planted material. About 10 volunteers maintained the site twice a week during the next summer.

Three Guardians of Beechwood, September ‘04 Wildlife showed up quickly. Killdeer nested amongst the newly planted trees and Deer tracks have been noted frequently. Many birds have been observed nearby. For more about this project, go to the Task Force website at “Beechwood” the home of George Taylor is the oldest house in the fomer East York.