Tuesday, November 17, 2015


Our beavers have been busy building their larder for the winter months. The store of gathered twigs and branches is next to their lodge and will be accessible to them from under the ice.   
They are primarily bark-eaters, and ingest the bark of young twigs and the new growth of wood.  They don't actually eat the wood, only the "cambium", a soft tissue close to the surface in which new wood and bark grow.
Preferred foods and building materials are the poplars and willows that grow around the inner bay and were planted by the Conservation Authority when the lake fill areas of the park were naturalized. 
Click here for more information on the Castor Canadensis. 

Friday, November 6, 2015


New trees now being planted by the City throughout the park.  The project is funded by Humber College as compensation for vegetation loss on the Welcome Centre site. Click here for more info.

Sunday, November 1, 2015


Summary: FOSS Steering Committee Meeting
October 27th, 2015
7.11 PM, LAMP, 185 5th Street, Etobicoke

  • The Colonel Sam Smith Park ribbon cutting and community tree planting ceremony at the new Wetland Lookout (funded by a grant from the W. Garfield Weston Foundation) on Saturday, October 24. 10:00 AM-12:00 PM was a great success. Over 40 volunteers/supporters of all ages were in attendance.
  • CSSP supporters should report all instances of graffiti/vandalism/illegal dumping of waste/off leash dog infractions at the Lookout and elsewhere in the park to 311. The city's response is "complaint driven".
  • Representatives from the FOSS Steering Committee attended a Special Public Meeting on October 8 at  Toronto City Hall and are pleased to report that CSS Park has officially been  designated as an Environmentally Sensitive Area (ESA). FOSS continues to lobby for ESA inclusion of two additional environmentally significant  adjacent parcels of land.
  • Dog Park Improvements: FOSS recently learned that its lobbying efforts for improvements to the dog park have been thwarted. The Water Treatment Plant administration controls the land in that area and will not allow the planting of additional trees.
  • PHOTO EXHIBITION: FOSS is in the planning stages for a proposed photo exhibition tentatively scheduled for September 2016 and to be held in the Assembly Hall. Subject matter will be wildlife and other interesting natural elements found within the boundaries of CSSP. Keep checking our web site for additional details.
  • BIRD FEEDER PROJECT: FOSS will erect and maintain bird feeders in the area behind the Power House during the December-March skating season. Volunteers are required to fill the feeders. Initial funding for this project was provided by a grant from the Weston Foundation. Contact FOSS (see web site) if you wish to participate.
  • New FOSS web site on line: www.friendsofsamsmithpark.ca  - Links directly to the blog spot.
  • FOSS Membership Renewals: See web site for membership form. Present members are encouraged to renew and individuals on FOSS’s contact list are welcome to join.
  • FOSS's ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING is tentatively planned for March 2016. New volunteers are very welcome.

Monday, October 26, 2015


At this time of the year, small birds, especially goldfinches, get tangled up in burdock seed heads.

clinging burs that were not only the inspiration for Velcro - See more at: http://bcinvasives.ca/invasive-species/identify/invasive-species/invasive-plants/burdock/#sthash.Ba5FMBcO.dpuf
Goldfinches are accustomed to perching on the large heads to eat. As long as only their feet touch the burs they are okay, but, when feathers brush against a hooked bur, the small bird's strength is not sufficient to get free from the tenacious plant.  The plant employs a hook-and-loop system to latch seed heads onto passers-by for dispersal and was the inspiration for Velcro.  

In many parts of Canada, burdock is considered a noxious weed and is eradicated where possible.  In Toronto, because of the danger to birds, there is currently a volunteer effort being organized by the Toronto Ornithological Club and TRCA to remove burdock.

 We have some patches of burdock growing in Sam Smith Park, especially on the outer headlands near the beavers' winter lodge.  On your walks, keep a look out for trapped birds and please attempt to gently release them.


Colonel Sam Smith Park Wetland Lookout Ribbon Cutting Ceremony and Fall Tree Planting 
October 24, 2015

Despite overcast skies and the constant threat of rain, over 40 volunteers/supporters attended the official ribbon cutting ceremony for the new Wetland Lookout in Colonel Sam Smith Park.

The lookout was constructed with funds obtained from a grant provided by the W. Garfield Weston Foundation. Representatives from the foundation and from the parks department spoke briefly and thanked the volunteers from such groups as FOSS and CCFEW for their dedication and interest in the well being of the park.

After completion of the official ribbon cutting ceremony, volunteers of all ages planted a variety of native shrubs that included Serviceberry, Sandbar Willow, Meadow Rose and American Larch. Heavier rain began falling by the noon hour--just in time to water all the new plantings!

From the City of Toronto's Parks website .....

"Through this project, local residents can connect better with wildlife, nature and this beautiful park. On behalf of the community, I'd like to extend a heartfelt thank you to The W. Garfield Weston Foundation and the other partners and sponsors who have made this possible," said Councillor Mark Grimes.  
The Weston Family Parks Challenge is encouraging strong partnerships to ensure Toronto's green spaces have a bright and vibrant future. This project is a shining example of how diverse partners can come together to create lasting change in our city parks," said Camilla Dalglish, Director of The W. Garfield Weston Foundation.
The structure was constructed using funds from a $124,000 grant through the Weston Family Parks Challenge, which is an initiative of The W. Garfield Weston Foundation in collaboration with the Ontario Trillium Foundation and administered by Toronto Park People.
The project also included the installation of turtle-basking logs in the wetland, planting of native trees, shrubs and wetland plants by volunteers, nature-programming, installation of a bird feeder station, and bird feeder kits for the Annual Spring Bird Festival.

The Weston Family Parks Challenge is supporting the Humber Arboretum's Colonel Sam Smith Park Improvements and Programs. This project brings together diverse partners to improve wetland habitat and create a new outdoor classroom. Environmental programs and stewardship opportunities will connect youth and community members to nature by raising awareness of the importance of providing and maintaining natural areas for birds and other wildlife. Public, private and non-profit partnerships will ensure the long-term sustainability of the project, enhancing one of Toronto's most popular birding destinations for future generations."