What’s Happening NOW

What’s Happening NOW
in The Meadoway

There’s always something on the go in The Meadoway , as Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA) works to transform a 16 km stretch of the Gatineau Hydro Corridor into a thriving meadow.

Check this page regularly for the very latest on our restoration efforts and the multi-use trail design.

The Meadoway Invited to Join the Prestigious High Line Network

June 29, 2020

The Meadoway, an ambitious city-building initiative of Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA), has been selected by the High Line Network in New York to join their international network of infrastructure reuse projects.

The High Line Network fosters collaboration between infrastructure project teams to help these valuable community initiatives reach their full potential. This is only the second time in the Network’s history that the highly-regarded organization has extended an invitation to a Canadian project.

architectural rendering of Highland Creek crossing after completion of The Meadoway

“We believe your commitment to reusing infrastructure to create dynamic open spaces will be a worthy addition to our learning community,” said Asima Jansveld, Vice-President of the High Line Network.

Thanks to the vision and generous support of The W. Garfield Weston Foundation, The Meadoway will transform the day-to-day lives of thousands of Torontonians, giving them easy access to nature.

The 16-km, 500-acre hydro corridor will connect Rouge National Urban Park with the Don River path system leading to the downtown core.

architectural rendering of Morningside Meadows after completion of The Meadoway

“We’re delighted to see The Meadoway join this group of innovative urban infrastructure projects,” said Tamara Rebanks, Chair, The W. Garfield Weston Foundation.

“With more and more Canadians living in cities, the need to reimagine these underutilized spaces grows to provide places for communities to connect with nature and each other.”

The Meadoway will connect users to the natural environment, as more than 200 hectares of turf grass are transformed into a thriving meadow, creating habitat for native plants, pollinators, and wildlife.

Artist rendering of wetland area after completion of The Meadoway

“It’s a tremendous honor and recognition of TRCA’s creativity, vision, and dedication to integrating natural and built environments that The Meadoway has been invited to join the prestigious High Line Network,” said Jennifer Innis, Chair of TRCA’s Board of Directors.

“When complete, this multi-use trail along a hydro corridor will transform the way people move, and breathe new life into Toronto and its surrounding communities. A special thank you to The W. Garfield Weston Foundation for their generous support in making this a reality.”

Slated to be completed in the fall of 2024, The Meadoway will connect 70 schools, 34 neighbourhoods, and 15 parks, and will provide a critical connection between Toronto’s unique ravine system.

UPDATE: June 24, 2020

In a previous update we mentioned the importance of doing nest checks before we bring in the mowing equipment.

When our crews spot wildlife, they mark the location and give it a wide berth.

Recently, crews have been seeing a lot of ground-nesting birds, including killdeer and Savannah sparrow. This week, in fact, a team member snapped this photograph of a newly hatched killdeer!

a newly hatched killdeer is spotted in The Meadoway

Speaking of wildlife, another sharp-eyed crew member managed to grab a photo of this fawn strolling across the path.

fawn walks across path in The Meadoway

When you see a group of our dedicated restoration team members trimming along fences, it isn’t just about making things look tidy — it also helps to control invasive species.

Dog-strangling vine, for example, is an invasive plant that tends to grow heavily along fences. Keeping it cut back helps to prevent additional seeding.

TRCA restoration team members trim along fence to control spread of invasive plant species

Mowing the buffers between the meadow and shrub nodes (as shown below) is another way to prevent the transfer of invasive species into the meadow.

TRCA restoration team member riding power mower cuts a buffer between meadow and shrub nodes

So what’s blooming in The Meadoway this week? Say hello to Coreopsis tripteris (sometimes called tall coreopsis or tall tickseed) and blue flag Iris (Iris versicolor).

tall coreopsis flowers bloom in The Meadoway
blue flag iris

UPDATE: June 18, 2020

This time of year, it’s non-stop activity in The Meadoway.

It’s a common sight to see our crews using a range of equipment for mowing, trimming, planting, and a variety of other tasks!

The first round of site preparation is now complete, from Victoria Park Ave to Kennedy Road. The cover crop of oats is growing well, and next week crews will begin the second round of site prep.

work crews on tractors complete site preparation in The Meadoway

As for the stars of the show, many of The Meadoway’s native plants are starting to bloom.

This past week it was wild lupin (Lupinus perennis). Be sure to look for some on your next visit — but don’t wait too long! This species only stays in flower for a couple of weeks.

wild lupin blooms in The Meadoway
wild lupin blooms in The Meadoway

Something new! We are adding QR code stickers to our signs in phase one of The Meadoway, from Scarborough Golf Club Road to McCowan Road. Scan one with your phone the next time you visit!

Check out The Meadoway visualization toolkit to try some of our QR codes.

TRCA restoration team member in The Meadoway scans QR code on sign with smartphone

There are many native species now appearing in a section that was seeded last year. It’s mostly black-eyed Susan starting to poke up from the grasses (see image 1 below).

This area will be full of flowers soon, like the established area shown in image 2.

UPDATE: June 11, 2020

This week, it’s all about our cover crop.

Rye and oats are key to site preparation, which is the most important step in meadow restoration. This blog post explains why.

The rye we planted last year is now over 30 cm tall in some sections. Our crews always conduct a sweep through the tall rye for nesting birds before bringing in tractor equipment. Any nests are marked with a wide buffer and avoided.

Meadoway team member sweeps tall rye for nesting birds before bringing in heavy equipment

The last of the rye was cut this week! We don’t want it growing any larger, since we want to avoid reseeding.

Fall rye is seeded late in the year and helps to stabilize the soils from erosion while also helping to suppress non-desired weeds forming in the meadow footprint.

tall rye in the meadoway

This year the field will be mowed and tilled, and a cover crop of oats will be seeded. We’ll do this three times, from spring to fall.

This process helps to reduce the existing non-native seed supply in the fields, and prepares the site for fall native wildflower and grass seeding.

Periods of hot weather and intermittent rain create ideal growing conditions for grass. Our crews were busy tending to our mown buffers again this week. This is important to reduce the spread of invasive species and create a walking corridor bordering the meadow plots.

TRCA restoration crew member tends to mown buffer along The Meadoway

Last week, staff turned up a horseshoe in The Meadoway. This week brought another surprising find! A rare species was spotted outside of the meadow footprint: a lady’s slipper.

ladys slipper found growing near The Meadoway

UPDATE: June 5, 2020

When it comes to weeds, fellow gardeners know the feeling: you can never let your guard down!

It’s the same for invasive species. A great deal of effort goes into controlling non-native plants in The Meadoway. Our crew found large patches of garlic mustard this week under many trees. It was all dug out before the seeds could mature.

Have you noticed how many bumblebees are out and about? This one was captured feasting on the flowers of a fragrant sumac.

bumblebee in The Meadoway feasting on fragrant sumac

Keeping the mown buffers around The Meadoway tidy is important for many reasons.

Most important, allowing a space between the neighboring yards and the meadow encourages a leisurely stroll along the entire perimeter.

Check out the before and after images.

horseshoe unearthed during restoration work in The MeadowayOfficial archaeological surveys are conducted in The Meadoway, and every now and then something turns up. We’ll take this lucky horseshoe (left) as a sign of good things to come!

UPDATE: May 27, 2020

It’s all about soil prep and cover crop seeding this week in The Meadoway!

It’s been easy to spot our crews working hard on their meadow restoration checklists.

Garbage cleanup this time of year is a priority — as is non-native shrub removal within the meadow footprint. It’s important to keep invasive woody vegetation from establishing and spreading in the hydro corridor so it doesn’t out-compete the native flora.

The rye planted last year as a cover crop is now over 30 cm tall in some areas! Our crews will mow and till these sections to prepare the soil for planting native grasses and wildflowers in the fall.

grass mown buffer in the Gatineau hydro corridor

Grass mown buffers (like the one pictured above) are a distinctive feature of The Meadoway. They separate the multi-use path from the meadow with a 3.25m mown buffer that contributes to the safety of trail users by providing clear sight lines.

The homes that back onto the corridor have a 5m mown buffer, which keeps the vegetation away from the fence lines.

Native seed mix trials and research are also ongoing priorities. A variety of new seed mixes are now in the experimentation stage. We are also monitoring how a mix with a higher percentage of grass seed compares to one with lower grass components.