They Unpaved a Parking Lot to Put up a Paradise

Today I have photos taken in an area that, at one time, was not a place that you would particularly care to see. But now it is a remarkably transformed garden and thriving wetland, complete with spawning fish, frogs, turtles and marsh birds. And although I didn’t see any of the animals other than the usual seagulls, pigeons, sparrows and squirrels, simply being there and reading about what has happened to the area brought joy to my heart! Where once there were unattractive parking lots, water that smelled and looked bad, tall chain link fences, and a whole lot of dimness, there is now a little patch of healthy nature.

A few weeks ago I walked to Toronto’s waterfront to take some pictures for the Take Tuesday photo challenge, for the theme of water. (You can see those pictures here.) It was a short(ish) walk and after heading down I told myself I would go back. It was so pretty and relaxing. Now I will be visiting it much more often and plan to incorporate the trip south in my regular walks about town. I really want to see all the seasons from the vantage point along the water.

While I was there I took these pictures of an adjacent place called “The Music Garden”. I have to say that I didn’t really get the musical aspect of this garden, designed with the input from famed cellist Yo Yo Ma, because there was no music to be heard. There are signs with symphony sheet music on them in different spots of the garden, and an audio tour that one can take for $6, so I’m sure there is more to it than just walking around and looking. So while I can’t attest to fully understanding the music part yet, pretty gardens I do understand, and I’ll take that!

And while the garden is really lovely, what has gotten me more excited is located directly east of the garden.

This is the Spadina Quay Wetland. Some years ago this was a parking lot which is today a transformed hinterland. After it was noticed that pike were spawning in Toronto Harbour, much work was done to encourage the development of a natural habitat here.

The following was transcribed directly from the information sign found within the area (shown above) … “Although small in size – 0.35 hectares – the Spadina Quay Wetland demonstrates the potential to transform a once barren parking lot into a diverse and stable ecosystem. A series of features will provide a new home for spawning fish, amphibians and marsh birds as well as a wonderful recreational area for local residents and visitors. The water’s edge boardwalk and viewing platforms will showcase the restoration of functional habitat for fish and wildlife and increase public awareness of the fish and wildlife resources of Toronto Bay. It is a powerful symbol of how we can regenerate habitat in the highly urbanized part of the Toronto waterfront.”

One last shot to give you a real idea how close this has all happened to a place where many people live …

I got a comment from a reader a few weeks ago that I really liked. It was in response to one of my posts about birds and the writer said that I was “one with nature”. I love that notion … that I have the opportunity to be one with nature, all while living in the middle of a dynamic big city!

xo loulou

(Title credit – This is a twist on Joni Mitchell’s lyric in Big Yellow Taxi, “They Paved Paradise to Put up a Parking Lot.)

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2 Responses to They Unpaved a Parking Lot to Put up a Paradise

  1. Shoko says:

    what a beautiful place!

  2. shakti says:

    I love what your city is doing there! My city should look to yours as an example. Since the recession there are several monstrous buildings/lots that are completely empty.

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