Wednesday, April 30, 2008


You're Invited! Annual General Meeting for Friends of Sam Smith Park

When: Tuesday, May 6, 7:00 pm

Where: Assembly Hall

What's on the agenda:

* Electing our executive

* Renewing our memberships

* Guest speaker from Toronto Region Conservation Authority

* Updates about our park

* Refreshments

See you there!

Have you been to the blog yet? Join the party.

The web address is

It's extraordinary! You don't have to wait for us to email you. All the updates are on the site. If anyone wishes to add content to the blog, please contact Terry Smith at Comments to posts can be added by anyone at any time.

Thanks for your help on Clean-Up Day April 27

Thank you to all who helped to clean the park. It was a beautiful day, and many beautiful people came to help! Pics are on the blog.

Thanks especially to Alan Roy, and all the clean-up organizers including Allan Valk, Angela Giraudy, Terry Smith, Liana Franciosi, Kathy Sims, and Jem Cain.


You may forward this email to anyone who is interested in Sam Smith Park. Send us an email if you wish to be removed from this mailing list.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008


The Gatehouse will be holding their annual fund raising event next Saturday. Let's all support their worthwhile work.


Humber College needs to do some work on some of its buildings. The City would require additional parking based on the usual formula. However, Humber College has requested an exception to this rule. If they are successful, less cement in the park! Lakeshore Planning Council has endorsed their request. The letter is below. (Note the last paragraph. That long promised Advisory Committee for the park needs to be put in place right away)



Ms. Susanne Pringle, Manager and Deputy Secretary,

Etobicoke and York Panel, Committee of Adjustment,

399 The West Mall

Etobicoke Civic Centre,

Toronto, ON

Dear Ms. Pringle:

Re: Minor Variance Application A204/08EYK, Parking

Lakeshore Planning Council was established in 1990 to involve the community in planning decisions and encourage good planning.

Minor variance A204/08EYK seeks to reduce the parking requirement for Humber College from 0.3 per student to 0.18 in order to refurbish 3 quadrangle buildings bringing the student population capacity up to 4610.

Humber College is located in the former Lakeshore Hospital Psychiatric Grounds now known as Col. Sam Smith Park. Maintaining this area as an environmentally sensitive area was the vision for this area and remains the community’s objective.

The application has the following advantages:

the three quadrangle buildings can be brought into service to implement the overall vision for the former Lakeshore Hospital grounds additional parking would add to traffic congestion within the grounds additional parking will detract from the green setting of Humber College and contribute to further urbanisation of the park lack of additional parking would encourage public transit us public supported expenditures would not be needed to be spent on additional parking

The Lakeshore Planning Council supports the application on the basis that the benefits outweigh the adverse impacts. The Lakeshore Planning Council believes that the four tests in the Planning Act (Official Plan, Zoning, Minor, and Desirability) are met.

We also recommend that the City form a Management Advisory Committee as originally proposed in the Parks Master Plan to help resolve all other future issues on this site.

Yours truly

Bill Denning, Chairperson

Sunday, April 27, 2008


If you were in the park cleaning up today , you probably met Alan Roy, wearing his Scottish war "bonnet", at the post he's manned for the last five years. That's how long Alan has singlehandedly run the annual Sam Smith Park clean-up, long before Friends of Sam Smith Park ever existed. For the last two years, it has been our honour to lend a hand to a guy who is so well organized he even has gifts for the volunteers (colouring books, buttons and pencils for the kids) and a sign-up sheet to count the folks who come to participate (on average, 150 people each year). When asked why he bothers to do this every year, he tells an interesting and moving story. He used to live in the Beaches (the other lakeside community) before moving out to the Lakeshore . While taking a winter walk with his husky in the Glen Stewart Ravine, he came across a neighbour's dog lying in the snow, oozing blood from a wound it had received from broken glass. There was so much blood, "it looked like a murder had happened", Alan recalls. The dog nearly bled to death. As soon as it was possible, he rounded up about twenty friends and neighbours from the community and organized the first ever community clean-up of the ravine park. He did this for fifteen years in a row, rallying up to one hundred and fifty volunteers annually. Alan, you are an inspiration to us all. Thank you.



HUGE SUCCESS!! Alan Roy, Friends of Sam Smith Park, CCFEW, City staff and all the families, park users and neighbours who turned up to help pulled off another wonderfully successful clean-up in the park today. Our park is now spotless. This is one of eight loads of garbage hauled off by City staffers Charlotte and Debbie who worked tirelessly today, taking a genuine interest and pride in the way the park looked. They are in the photo above with Kathy and Terry. Interesting items removed today - old bikes, car tires, a smashed-in cash register with loose change still rattling around inside, three dead raccoons at the top end of North Creek, a cell phone. Most of the garbage, of course, comes from fast-food containers. THANK YOU TO EVERYONE WHO HELPED OUT TODAY.


Tuesday, May 6, Annual General Meeting
Report from chair Allan Valk, and election of new board members for the coming year.
We will welcome a guest speaker: Connie Pinto from the Toronto Regional Conservation Authority who will update us on the park and answer questions.
7 p.m.
Location: The Assembly Hall, Sam Smith Park
Please let us know if you would like to serve on the board, we need volunteers.

Friday, April 25, 2008


Where history meets nature

Community Health Centre,

CCFEW, and local historian Paul Chomik to host

Colonel Samuel Smith Park and Neighbourhood Tree Tour

(Toronto, Ontario) The Toronto Tree Tours – a partnership between award winning organizations Local Enhancement and Appreciation of Forests (LEAF) and the Toronto Public Space Committee – will be hosting a tree tour with CCFEW (, LAMP ( and local historian Paul Chomik on Saturday May 31st from 1pm to 3pm starting at the Assembly Hall at 1 Colonel Samuel Smith Park Drive (Kipling and Lakeshore).

Stroll the grounds of the former Mimico Lunatic Asylum (now Humber College) as local historian Paul Chomik vividly recounts stories of the area’s rich history. Visit a century-old apple orchard once tended by patients of the asylum as part of their restorative therapy. Meander through protected wetlands that are home to beaver and migrating songbirds and be enveloped in the peaceful calm of a grove of black walnut trees. As we make our way through the lakeshore grounds, along the waterfront, and into the surrounding residential area, learn about the efforts of local community groups to maintain the natural wonder of the park and improve the struggling street trees along busy Lakeshore Boulevard.

Space is limited so pre-registration is suggested. Please register online at

WHAT: Tree Tour of Samuel Smith Park and Neighbourhood

WHEN: Saturday, May 31, 2008 from 1pm to 3pm

WHERE: Assembly Hall at 1 Colonel Samuel Smith Park Drive (Kipling and Lakeshore)


For more information contact:

Susan Gulley, Tree Tours Coordinator, 416-413-9244,


The Toronto Tree Tours are a collaboration of LEAF (, a not-for-profit organization that works to involve communities in urban forest stewardship and The Toronto Public Space Committee ( a group dedicated to cultivating and enhancing Toronto's public spaces which are a vital component of a healthy democracy. The project is supported by the Ontario Trillium Foundation and the City of Toronto.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008


Help Grow Toronto’s Urban Forest!


April 26th, 2008, 10am-12pm

Colonel Sam Smith Park

Come out and help plant 800 trees & shrubs in the field south-east of the south parking lot.

Click here to view the flyer on the City of Toronto website

This event is organized and run by Toronto Parks, Forestry & Recreation


The group of nearly thirty participants saw about seventy different species this morning on another successful CFFEW bird walk. Thank you CCFEW and Birds and Beans.


There has been talk of the gatehouse adding an addition to their building. The recently observed orange markings on the ground near the building have prompted speculation about this. Here is their response .....

We have no markings for any addition at this time - these may be for gas lines etc. as we have an event coming up called Mayday and we will have some booths with tents. Parks and Rec. may have made marks for those locations so the tents can be raised with safety in mind for underground pipes etc.

Rest assured we will be going through proper channels to develop such an addition when the time comes.

Sunday, April 20, 2008


Dear Friends of Sam Smith
FYI, a message from LAMP:

A reminder that May 9 is the deadline for nominations for LAMP's Annual Awards of Merit. We are looking for people and organizations and businesses who go beyond the call of duty...making a healthier Lakeshore. The Awards will be held at LAMP on Wednesday June 11.
(Note: Friends of Sam Smith won an award last year, accepted by Terry Smith and Angela Giraudy.)

Also LAMP is looking for golfers to help our charity golf tournament with the Etobicoke Chamber of Commerce, May 26th.

Please contact me with any questions. Many thanks.

Jasmin Dooh
Health Promoter/ Community Relations
LAMP Community Health Centre
185 Fifth Street
Toronto, Ontario
M8V 2Z5
P 416-252-6471 ext. 308
F 416- 252-4474

Saturday, April 19, 2008


Are you anxiously awaiting the announcement of the next public meeting about the proposed skating trail? Remember, after the first meeting last year, a second meeting was promised for late Summer/Fall 2007. Well, eight months later, here is the latest word from Steven O'Bright, the parks planner heading it up ....

"In reply to your inquiry, I anticipate that a public meeting / open house will potentially be announced with ample and reasonable advance notice very soon." (received April 18)

With words like "anticipate" and "potentially", it might still be a while.

Posted by Terry Smith

Friday, April 18, 2008


When the Canada Act of 1791 authorized Lieutenant-Governor John Graves Simcoe to divide Upper Canada into counties and townships, he emulated the Roman model of military colonies and gave the first grants of land largely to disbanded soldiers to ensure the security of the front and to promote settlement. In 1795, 4150 acres of land was allotted to the First Military Tract in Etobicoke. (In 1811, it was renamed The Colonel Samuel Smith Tract by Lieutenant-Governor Sir Francis Gore.)
Simcoe granted 1600 acres from this Tract to his close associate, Colonel Samuel Smith, an officer whose father had bought him a commission in the Queen's Rangers. Smith situated his house at the southeast corner of present day Lakeshore Road and the Etobicoke Creek and in 1799 he married Jane Isabelle Clark. Upon leaving the army, Colonel Smith was appointed to the executive council of Upper Canada in which he twice (from June 1817 to August 1818 and for four months in 1920) served as president during the absence of the Lieutenant-Governor. During this period, he lived primarily in his town house on Richmond Street.
Colonel Smith was the largest Etobicoke landowner in those early days. He built a sawmill on the Etobicoke Creek around 1820 and raised racing horses. At his death in 1826, though land rich, life had become an economic challenge and his daughter was forced to petition for financial aid to maintain her nine younger siblings.
By 1871, when Colonel Smith's son sold the 500 acres remaining in the state, only a few had been cleared and a small orchard cultivated. When the Smith house was sold to E.P. Taylor in 1955, it was probably the second oldest one in Etobicoke. Taylor had the heritage building demolished. An archaeological dig in the schoolyard of Parkview Public School in 1984 located some household goods and a drip line, but the structure was not located. Nonetheless, Colonel Samuel Smith is remembered in the name of the in-fill Colonel Samuel Smith Park, a unique and beloved example of creative naturalized waterfront planning.

Posted by Kathleen Sims
(sources available on request)


We were told that the wire fence on the north side of the oval was put up to stop people from entering the park on ATV's (all terrain vehicles). The top photograph shows what might be another reason, namely stopping entry to the oval by non-permitted, unauthorized sports groups (Double click on the top photo to read the signs). Whatever the case, it is quite ugly and out of context for the park. Some people have suggested that FOSS start planting some (grape?) vines along the fence. What do you think? Any ideas?

Terry Smith


This is surely not the best place to put the cricket storage boxes. The underbrush that was removed to clear this area was part of the riparian (water-following) pathway along North Creek that serves as a movement corridor for birds and animals. This area is already under enough pressure and is pretty thin as it is. These boxes now provide a secluded sitting area with the usual attendant problems. Isn't there a better place to put them?

Terry Smith


male coopers coopers chick female coopers nest location

A pair of Coopers Hawks have set up home in Sam Smith Park, probably the same pair that nested in the northern bowl last year. The nest is high up in a maple tree at the north end of the walkway alongside North Creek leading from the south parking lot to Father John Redmond, on the west side. The male was seen finishing off construction of the nest a couple of weeks ago and the female is now making regular deliveries of rodents and small birds to what Dave the birder thinks are chick(s) in the nest. Seems very early. The hawks have been observed clearing the area of squirrels and crows. Check out the action. (If you double-click on the photo showing Dave pointing to the nest, you can just, maybe, see the top of the head of the female sitting on it)


Thursday, April 17, 2008


Present, Paul C, Angela G., Don M., Nick, Joanne M., Kathy S., Ruth G. Terry S., Allan V. Liana F.

Clean Up Day April 27/08

The annual clean up of Col. Sam Smith Park will again be organized by Allan Roy. Both Foss and CCFEW will be assisting with the event.

  • Angela G. will co ordinate the event on behalf of FOSS with Allan
  • A table will be set up to promote FOSS and the Park Terry, Allan, Joanne, Kathy, Jem and Liana will attend an set up a table to promote FOSS and the Park
  • Joanne will let the media know of the event and email the membership

Ice Skating Trail

  • A public consultation meeting TBA By city Officials

LEAF (Local Enhancement Appreciation of Forests)

A tour of Sam Smith Park will be held on May 31/08 2pm-4pm Leaf will be identifying all the lovely trees we have in the park. The tour will begin at the Assembly Hall.

Powerhouse Committee

Kathy S. will submit a letter to the Education Minister supporting their recent position on environmental programs

FOSS General Meeting May 6.08

Agenda for meeting

Connie Pinto will speak at the beginning of our meeting, break, then the business portion will commence

Other Business

Col. Sam Smith Park will be made part of the Mimico Watershed Project

Police Week will be holding Special event day May 10/08 11-3pm at 22 division

Liana Franciosi (Secretary)


Paul Chomik reported today that the ground has been surveyed and laid out with orange paint west of the Gatehouse. The same thing has been done east of the Gatehouse across the road at the north end of the orchard, and also at the south end of the orchard. Anyone know what this is about?

Terry Smith


During the time when they were trucking out the building debris to build the park's base out in to the lake, there were many pools of water left along the shoreline. In the springtime, those pools were filled with spawning toads that had just emerged from their winter's sleep in the bottom mud, hungry and h . . . . , and, after all kinds of interesting acrobatics, great masses of jellied spawn soon filled the water. Thousands of tadpoles came soon after. The kids had a great time. Do you remember? So, what happened to the toads and the frogs? Does anyone ever see an amphibian, eggs or tadpoles in the ponds anymore? Anyone have an explanation? I know that amphibians are especially sensitive to environmental toxicity, so I am wondering if it is because of leaching from the construction debris.

(If you have any ideas, post them as comments by clicking on "comments" below. Comments can be added to any post)

Terry Smith


For those of us who are also members of Citizens Concerned for the Future of the Etobicoke Waterfront (CCFEW), their AGM will be held on May 13th at the Mimico Public Library at 7 p.m.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008


Watch this space for spring migration updates from Dave, the birder guy. Dave can be seen in the park on a daily basis; he is never without his binoculars or his meticulous lists of sightings. Dave knows the birds of Sam Smith Park better than almost anyone. In the meantime, he wants everyone to mark their calendars from May 19th to about the 24th for the annual viewing of whimbrels (the bird in the third square of our new logo), a birding highlight of our park. More to come.


We have enjoyed Don McClement's beautiful sketch of the park as a logo/banner for Friends of Sam Smith Park for one year now. Thank you so much, Don. We have been striving for a simple, graphic representation that we can use as a permanent logo that illustrates the natural, the human and the heritage aspects of the park we cherish so much. After much deliberation, the new logo can be seen at the head of this blog. Hope you all like it.

(If you want to download and keep a full-size version of Don's sketch, double click the image, then right click and save to your computer - I don't think Don would mind)

Tuesday, April 15, 2008


Tree swallows are already here and have claimed the nesting boxes. Swallows eat insects. There are enough now to sustain them, so the weather is definitely heating up. The park attracts a few pairs of rough-winged swallows (second photo). You will see them very soon, swooping and diving over the rocks on the north side of the boat basin, east of the club house. See if you can figure out where they are nesting. (Don't look up.) Barn swallows will also arrive soon. They will attach their nests to the under-decking of the observation platform at the edge of the large pond.

Terry Smith


Male red-winged blackbirds have been in the park for a few weeks now. They have been noisily displaying their colourful epaulets and sparring around the wetland areas with other males to gain possession of the best territories for food and breeding safety. You may have been attacked by a male who saw you as a rival, particularly if you were wearing red. The females, who are drab and much dowdier than the males, will arrive soon, check over the "possessions" of each male, and then choose their partner by deciding which can offer the best. The weaker males with the worst territories will probably not pair off at all! Remind you of something?

Terry Smith


The brown-headed cowbird, seen in small noisy groups at this time, is a western bird named because of its former habit of following buffalo herds and gathering up insects from the clods of earth kicked up by the herd. Because of this feeding habit, the eggs are laid in the nests of other species as they go, leaving the unfortunate surrogate parents with a very large chick to feed and the demise of their own! Warblers are their favorite targets and this has contributed to the decline of woodland warblers in North America. You can see pairs of red-necked grebes displaying and carrying on in the bays. Their courtship is noisy and rambunctious. Look for Kildeers on the sandy flats or near the water. They are ground nesters. Their eggs are well camouflaged and the nest is scanty. The bird will lead you away from the nest by pretending it has a damaged wing. You'll see this behaviour in the coming weeks. Savannah sparrows have just arrived. They are an elegant type of sparrow with strong yellow striping on the head. You can see and hear them establishing their territories on the outer grassed area closest to the lake. They nest on the ground under grass clumps or hidden up against rocks.

Terry Smith

Monday, April 14, 2008


The City's Parks, Forestry and Recreation Department has a commemorative tree programme that allows the public to pay tribute to a person(s) or occasion by purchasing a tree for planting in a public park. A similar program exists for commemorative benches. Both these programmes include commemorative plaques and maintenance. If you call 416 338 6576, they will send you a brochure and a map of Sam Smith Park showing a choice of locations.


Most of you probably know already that Jorge Ture heads up the city's maintenance team at Sam Smith. His official title is Supervisor of Parks Maintenance, Etobicoke York District. He has always been prompt and responsive to any question or suggestion that I have made in the past. I sense in him a genuine affection for the park. I believe that he has some past connection with the Lakeshore.

To contact him, e-mail at His phone number is 416-394-8559.

On the same subject, garbage problems in the park can be directed to the city's Garbage Hotline - 416-392-5326 (e-mail

Don't forget to say that you are a member of Friends of Sam Smith Park if you need to contact any of the above and please cc a copy to

Access Toronto, 416 338 0338, is a general gateway to any of the City's staff, departments and programmes.


Which is the Humber Bay interpretive sign and which belongs to our park? Rats, I've made it too easy - there is a clue on one of them. Time to ask some questions?