Meet the Champions Connecting Communities to Toronto’s Ravines
May 27, 2022
Park People and the City of Toronto are delighted to share that twenty InTO the Ravines Community Champions have been chosen to connect communities to Toronto’s ravines.
Representing geographies as diverse as the ravines themselves, this outstanding group of community leaders will participate in a training program to help them understand the water, wildlife, and history that make the ravines so unique.
Once their training is complete, the Champions will receive coaching and financial support to host awesome community-led ravine events that help more people fall in love with and protect Toronto’s own natural wonders.
Panorama Park, Ravine Entrance Mural, 2021. Credit: Micah Donovan
InTO the Ravines Champions: The First Two Years
In 2020, The City of Toronto launched its first-ever Ravine Strategy with enthusiastic support from Mayor John Tory and City Council.
To bring Toronto’s Ravine Strategy to life in communities, the City of Toronto and Park People joined together to create the InTO the Ravines program.
In its first two years, InTO the Ravines trained 30 InTO the Ravines Champions from local communities and provided 14 groups with microgrants to host ravine events. The majority of Ravine Champions and grant recipients live in Toronto’s equity-seeking communities.
The Ravine Champions and micro-grants supported engaging ravine-focused events (both in-person and online) like sketching, bird watching, scavenger hunts and Indigenous knowledge sharing. More than 2700 people attended these ravine-focused events.
Incredibly, 54% of event participants had never been in a Toronto ravine before or visited infrequently.
Park People Evergreen Biking in Ravines, 2021. Credit: Thomas Chang
Participants shared how these ravine events were particularly important during the COVID-19 pandemic when lockdowns and isolation made connections to nature even more critical for people’s health and well-being.
A 2021 InTO the Ravines Community Champion, Adassa Boswell who lives in Toronto’s Rexdale neighbourhood said:
“Some residents have probably never been in a park or ravine before, I look forward to sharing what I learn and connect people to our ravines, which then connect people to nature – it’s healthy and free access. I also want to learn about the city’s rich history and Indigenous knowledge and heritage.”
InTO the Ravines Champions: 2022
We’re delighted to introduce you to our twenty 2022 InTO The Ravines Champions.
Nessa and Salmina from West Hill Watercourse, Deekshill Park shared:
“The pandemic has highlighted how equity-deserving populations face barriers to accessing essential spaces (including green ones!), resources, and other people to thrive. We are excited to reconnect with the land and water that we live on to counteract these barriers and honour Indigenous histories and perspectives as we engage in this reconnection.”
Meet all of the 2022 InTO the Ravines Champions who are helping to ensure communities experience, celebrate and champion Toronto’s one-of-a-kind ravine system.