A newly improved Tommy Thompson Park will play host to the 4th annual Butterfly Festival on Saturday, August 25. Hundreds of people are expected to participate in the annual event to celebrate monarch migration.
Every year, just before the start of the autumn season, swarms of monarch congregate at Tommy Thompson Park before beginning a 3,500 km migration south to overwinter in Mexico. The sight of hundreds of monarch butterflies flying across a vast expanse of land inspires a feeling of wonder and awe in those lucky enough to see this spectacular sight.
Over the past year, Waterfront Toronto and Toronto and Region Conservation have carried out a number of improvements at Tommy Thompson Park. The project includes significant natural restoration and habitat improvements, such as the creation and enhancement of wetlands, embayments and aquatic and terrestrial habitat. The project has also enhanced the park’s infrastructure through the construction of three small buildings designed to improve park services, enhance visitor experience and support the research conducted at the park.
The new staff booth features display space for park information and functions as an interpretation center allowing staff to interact with visitors and provide park information. The environmental shelter is an outdoor amphitheatre nestled within a hill on the shore of a series of wetland habitats that functions as an outdoor classroom. A newly constructed and movable Ecological Research Station that allow staff to engage in a wider range of research activities replaces an old bird banding structure.
The only remaining work to be done is the installation of permanent power and plumbing in the staff booth, and installation of the sliding steel mesh screen for the booth’s windows, which are scheduled to be completed in September.
As part of the festival, visitors to the park will be able to participate in more than a dozen activities that will educate them about butterflies, birds and other conservation works carried out in the park. Planned activities include a guided butterfly walk, a family nature hike and a nature photography workshop. Last year’s Butterfly Festival attracted about 700 participants.
Tommy Thompson Park, located at the foot of Leslie Street, south of Lakeshore Boulevard East, is Toronto’s largest greenspace that provides critical habitat for butterflies. At more than 250 hectares (618 acres) the park provides a unique urban wilderness experience and receives close to 250,000 visitors per year.
The 4th Annual Butterfly Festival is a joint event of Toronto and Region Conservation, Ontario Nature and Ontario Power Generation.
To view a detailed map of the park and obtain additional information about the festival, activities and schedule, please visit www.butterflyfest.ca.