We cannot see very far into the future. But a quick look to the east reveals a new LRT station to open on 2022, and to the north, a new hospital. Both are going to impact the valley, and hopefully for the better.
MDCA wants a wholistic approach taken, to allow the valley to become a showcase for restoration, but involving the community. There is a common misconception that prior to settlement, the area was wilderness. But those who study the area confirm there were settlements here for millennia, and that the First Nations provided most of their food needs by agriculture and not hunting. Corn was grown in fields when Champlain visited Ontario in 1609, corn that was archaeologists believe was first grown in Mexico 7,000 years ago. Companion planting of corn, beans and squash was commonplace. Forest gardens and curated forests provided food, building materials, medicines, shelter, and meat.
Local indigenous residents began a project to make the valley more like the historic Humber several years ago, planting desirable species and removing unwanted. There is no arbitrary distinction between ‘native’ and ‘invasive’ based on country of origin. Global warming means the historic pine-oak forest, almost eradicated in Toronto, may recover. In fact, oaks are naturally regenerating on the trail. Other historic species will never return due to habitat loss and climate change. Our response to global warming has to be to both capture carbon and at the same time feed the population, so tree selection is critical. Sustainable management not requiring irrigation is a foundation principle of indigenous agriculture, and arbitrary distinctions between agriculture and natural areas are avoided.
AN elevated LRT is planned, that will be a few metres north of the current bridge. Metrolinx has started to design the structure, and as part of the design has been studying the underlying geology, taking core samples, and also is doing an inventory of the species in the river and valley, to reduce impact and allow restoration
West Park Health Care Centre
Our Indigenous Neighbors
It should come to no surprise that Mount Dennis, with its lower prices and ample natural spaces, is an area where indigenous people are choosing to live. Recently, a new facility, the Mount Dennis Aboriginal Child and Family Centre, opened at 1290 Weston Road.
The valley transition hasn’t been smooth ( https://indigenouslandurbanstories.ca/2017/04/19/healing-the-earth-one-plant-at-a-time/ ) but it has progressed, with recent agreements paving a brighter future.
Another local initiative, Edge of The Bush ( https://edgeofthebush.ca/ ) is also working to create a way forward.