Toronto and Region Conservation Authority
Announces Second Phase of The Meadoway Revitalization
Weston Family Foundation is Proud to Continue Supporting
The Meadoway Through Its $25 Million Pledge
July 20, 2023, Toronto, Ontario – Stretching from the Don River in downtown Toronto to Rouge National Urban Park, The Meadoway is one of Canada’s largest urban linear parks.
The Meadoway is undergoing a significant transformation from a barren hydro corridor to become a vibrant expanse of urban greenspace and meadow habitat which will connect four ravines, 15 parks, and 34 neighbourhoods over its 200 hectares. This revitalization is helping to bring increased biodiversity to a degraded landscape supporting a rich ecological habitat for more than 1,000 diverse species of flora and fauna.
In April 2018, the Weston Family Foundation announced a pledge of up to $25 million to support the project and committed over $11 million of investment during the project’s first phase between 2018 to 2022.
This contribution catalyzed the completion of a multi-year, comprehensive planning and consultation program, realized the restoration of 80 hectares of native meadow habitat, the construction of approximately 1 km of multi-use trail with an additional 0.8 km underway, and the engagement of well over 10,000 community members through over 300 unique events.
Feedback from the public demonstrates the positive impact that the Phase 1 achievements have had on the community. Shauna Forbes, a Scarborough resident who regularly frequents The Meadoway noted that “The Meadoway was invaluable to my group of friends during COVID, for our physical and mental health, and has continued to be a great place, close to home, to exercise while connecting with friends and the great outdoors, seeing birds, deer, flowers, sunrises, and other delights it offers up daily.”
This partnership continues in 2023 with the Weston Family Foundation committing up to $6.3 million over the next three years to support the second phase of The Meadoway. With this generous support, the transformation of the corridor will continue, resulting in the full restoration and continued maintenance of 101 hectares of meadow habitat.
As part of The Meadoway’s second phase, TRCA has also leveraged additional funds to support trail connections and improvements.
Two priority trail connections will be supported by the City of Toronto through the Federal Natural Infrastructure Fund and improvements to trail connections to Rouge National Urban Park will be supported by Parks Canada.
TRCA continues to seek new funding sources to advance this transformational city naturalization and community project.
Over the next three years there will be a focus on securing corporate sponsorship and private donations to support the remaining third phase of capital works and long-term maintenance and management of the corridor.
John MacKenzie, Chief Executive Officer, Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA)
“The Meadoway is the kind of ecological based community-building project TRCA is thrilled to be a part of. We are thankful for the ongoing generous support of the Weston Family Foundation and excited to advance this next phase of work collaboratively with partners like the City of Toronto, the Government of Canada through Parks Canada (Rouge National Urban Park), Environment and Climate Change Canada, local schools, and community organizations. We are also thankful for the efforts of Hydro One and Infrastructure Ontario to facilitate restoration and trail work on provincially owned and managed lands.”
Councillor Paul Ainslie, Chair of TRCA’s Board of Directors
“The Meadoway project is a ground-breaking initiative transforming a hydro corridor in Scarborough into a vibrant 16-kilometre stretch of urban greenspace. It would not be possible without support from the Weston Family Foundation. As Chair of TRCA’s Board of Directors and as a City of Toronto Councillor who has the privilege of having The Meadoway run through my Ward, it is an honour be a part of advancing this work for the natural environment and the citizens of the Greater Toronto Region.”
Garfield Mitchell, Chair of the Weston Family Foundation
“The Weston Family Foundation is proud to support The Meadoway, a pioneering hydro corridor re-naturalization project which restores biodiversity, connects people to nature, and creates a more livable and vibrant community. This transformative initiative sets the stage for other cities to embrace a nature-inspired infrastructure, and we envision The Meadoway becoming the blueprint for a greener future. We look forward to continued collaboration with our partners, and encourage others to join in and support the revitalization of one of Ontario’s most cherished urban natural features.”
About the Weston Family Foundation
At the Weston Family Foundation (formerly The W. Garfield Weston Foundation), more than 60 years of philanthropy has taught us that there’s a relationship between healthy landscapes and healthy people. That’s why we champion world-class health research and innovation with the same passion that we support initiatives to protect and restore biodiversity on our unique landscapes. We take a collaborative approach to philanthropy, working alongside forward-thinking partners to advance Canada and create lasting impacts. We aspire to do more than provide funding; we want to enable others to find transformational ways to improve the well-being of Canadians.
To learn more about the Foundation, visit westonfoundation.ca.
About Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA)
Since 1957, TRCA, as enabled through the provincial Conservation Authorities Act, has taken action to enhance our region’s natural environment and protect our land, water, and communities from the impacts of flooding and increasingly extreme weather events – Ontario’s leading cause of public emergencies.
As the region’s first line of defence against natural hazards, TRCA maintains vital infrastructure and provides programs and services that promote public health and safety, protecting people and property.
TRCA mobilizes a science-based approach to provide sound policy advice, leveraging its position as a not-for-profit operating in the broader public sector to achieve collective impacts within our communities and across all levels of government.
TRCA’s jurisdiction includes nine watersheds and their Lake Ontario shorelines, spanning six upper-tier and fifteen lower-tier municipalities and representing almost five million people, approximately 10% of Canada’s population.
To learn more about TRCA, visit trca.ca.
Awards & Recognition
2023 PlanON Public Education Award
This recognition underscores the exceptional success of the toolkit as an innovative public engagement platform which helped capture the imagination of the community, raise public awareness for The Meadoway’s urban greenspace transformation and build support for the project.
The toolkit was used throughout the planning process to offer a captivating glimpse into The Meadoway’s future through animations, renderings, and interactive maps.
Its commitment to accessibility and clarity of presentation helped to highlight the project’s positive impact on biodiversity, habitat restoration, and enhanced access to nature.
Furthermore, innovative features such as 3D models and digital tools like VR/QR codes engaged residents and stakeholders, allowing them to virtually experience The Meadoway’s transformation in the making.
The 17th Global Forum on Human Settlements: Award
Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA) is proud to announce that The Meadoway has won an award for Global Model of Ecological Restoration and Protection, presented by the Global Forum on Human Settlements for Sustainable Cities and Human Settlements Awards in 2022.
A total of 22 well-known organizations and individuals from all over the world were honored with the award, and “The Meadoway: an excellent ecological restoration project in Toronto, Canada” was among those recognized for outstanding practices and innovations promoting sustainable cities and human settlements.
The Meadoway: Publications
Enhanced Hydrological Regulating Services by Meadow Restoration Supported by Rainfall Simulation Tests
University of Toronto Civil and Mineral Engineering – April 13, 2022
One possible outcome of meadow restoration efforts in The Meadoway may be an improvement in the hydrological regulating service provided by the ecosystem along the hydro corridor. This report presents the methodology and results of rainfall simulation tests used to further explore the role of vegetation on infiltration and water balances.
The Meadoway Performance Assessment Project: A Systematic Review of Evaluation Methods for Ecosystem Services Provided by Urban Greenspace
University of Toronto Civil and Mineral Engineering – February 13, 2021
This report presents a systematic review to reveal the ecosystem services (ESs) provided by urban greenspace, their key performance indicators (KPIs), and the methods used to monitor them. This review aims to find ESs possibly delivered by The Meadoway, as well as KPIs and corresponding monitoring methods used to quantify/qualify these ESs to aid the establishment of an evaluation project for The Meadoway.
The Meadoway: in the News
This is How Toronto’s Massive 16 km Linear Park Will Look When It’s Finished
blogTO – January 30, 2022
This post provides an update on the progress of The Meadoway project, including the commencement of construction at Highland Creek and restoration advancements.
City of Toronto Announces ActiveTO Weekend Locations for August 28 and 29
City of Toronto News Release – August 27, 2021
This City of Toronto announcement about Active TO weekend plans mentions The Meadoway as a destination for people to safely get outside and exercise.
Pandemic Walk: Scarborough Hydro Corridor
NOW – April 23, 2021
A trail-user’s-eye-view of the Scarborough Centre Butterfly Trail: “This hassle-free 45-minute walk in the middle of Scarborough will only get nicer as the Meadoway takes shape.”
City of Toronto Investing $82.5 million in Toronto’s Ravine Strategy
City of Toronto News Release – April 22, 2021
The City of Toronto’s announcement of investment into the Toronto Ravine Strategy references The Meadoway as a key partnership that will advance planning and activation in Toronto ravines.
The Top 20 Walks in Toronto
NOW – April 8, 2021
The Meadoway makes NOW’s ranking of best places to enjoy Toronto’s parks and recreation on foot.
Where Do We Go From Here? #RealScarborough’s Future is in Your Hands
Toronto.com – December 28, 2020
In an article encouraging social media users to use the hashtag #RealScarborough to shine a positive light on the city, The Meadoway is mentioned as an example of Scarborough’s natural beauty.