Monday, April 28, 2014



Another incredible day of success.  The weather was perfect and spirits were high .... 103 signed in volunteers with perhaps another 10 not signed in.
A VERY determined core group of volunteers who turned in an incredible collection of debris (Samuel's
picture speaks volumes!)  This years best finds were a floating dead raccoon, a dead swan, a machete and a fisherman's keepnet.
Kudos and thanks to you again Alan for organizing this and for helping us to make the park clean and welcoming for visitors (especially for the migrating songbirds on their wing right now!)

Saturday, April 26, 2014


FOSS received this recent update on the coyote with the tracking collar seen in the park this winter.  See previous post for more information on this coyote and his tracking history.  (If you see this coyote, please send details to FOSS so that we can forward the information to the Ministry of Natural Resources.  The collar is no longer sending signals.)

"Miss04 was observed briefly on Thursday April 24, 2014 around 8:10 pm. Location was at the junction of the east end of the walkway that goes in front of the yacht club where it joins the path from the parking lot up the east side of the inner harbour past the red-necked grebe nest with the orange buoy. The coyote was first observed by a woman with a weimaraner off leash. She came back down the path and put her weimaraner on a leash. The coyote was unconcerned and proceeded north toward the parking lot."

Friday, April 25, 2014


Alan Roy pulls trash from the creek in Colonel Sam Smith Park. Roy is organizing his 11th annual spring cleanup at the park this Sunday, April 27. All are welcome to pitch in, to make the area safe for kids, pets, and wildlife.
A golden retriever that nearly bled to death spurred Alan Roy to become a pioneer of environmental stewardship.
Roy vividly recalled a morning 20 years ago when he was walking his dog in Glen Stewart ravine off Kingston Road in the Beach.
“It looked like something had been murdered there. There was so much blood,” he said. “The girl carried her 60-pound retriever out of the park. Its name was Jinx. It had an awful cut to its pad from broken glass in the stream. The vet said she was lucky she got it there so fast.”
Jinx’s near-fatal cut compelled Roy to organize a community cleanup in Glen Stewart ravine in 1993.
“I was the first in the city to organize a local park cleanup,” he said.
Roy moved to the Lakeshore area of south Etobicoke in 2000 where he soon took environmental ownership of his local park.
This Sunday, Roy leads his 11th annual community cleanup from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in Colonel Samuel Smith Park, an extensive naturalized waterfront park at the foot of Kipling Avenue and Lake Shore Boulevard West.
The wooded shoreline is home to an array of migratory birds, wildlife, plants and trees, a beach and in recent years, the city’s only ice skating trail. Its diversity and quality of habitats has earned it a reputation as one of the premier birding locations in the city.
Cleanup volunteers meet this Sunday on the path east of the marina.
Bring boots, gloves, rakes and shovels. Pack a picnic lunch. Garbage bags, water and snacks will be provided.
“I love it,” Roy said of his environmental leadership. “It has gone from me being in it getting my hands dirty to me being there talking to people and extolling the virtues of cleaning up the park. I’ve made tremendous friends. Barbara Keaveney tells me, ‘I’ve got the registration table for an hour or two. You go.’ They know how much I love to get in there.”
Keaveney is with Citizens Concerned About the Future of the Etobicoke Waterfront (CCFEW), a group that regularly supports Roy’s cleanup.
Often, it’s CCFEW President Brian Bailey who helps Roy wrestle with unearthing larger refuse left abandoned in the park.
“We pulled couches out of the sand dune that were almost buried completely. It was a big year when we got that out. We’ve pulled picnic tables out of the muckiest, boggiest mud,” he said.
His weapon of choice? A five-tonne hand winch and chain that Roy attaches to a tree for leverage: “We can pull something in excess of 500 pounds out with the winch.”
Last year, he found a battered up canoe. One of his favourite finds is a conch shell he found on the rocks.
In 21 years, Roy said his park cleanups even unearthed stolen items. One year, Roy found the art portfolio of the wife of well-known Toronto daily cartoonist Andy Donato in Glen Stewart ravine when he was a Beach resident.
Roy also helps a friend with his annual park cleanup in Oakville.
“We’ve towed tractor tires full of silt that weigh about 450 pounds. Really that’s my satisfaction. It’s no longer in nature.”
Friends of Sam Smith, as well as area residents, also come out annually to participate in the Etobicoke park’s rejuvenation.
Roy said the annual Colonel Samuel Smith Park cleanup has made a difference.
“It has improved year over year. A number of people return each year. We seem to be encountering a lessening amount of garbage. People seem to appreciate nature and the park more. If they see someone throw garbage, they take ownership. They approach the person or they pick it up.”
With exposure, Roy said he expects those who litter and dump will eventually become environmentally conscious.
“Any number of people say that park is where they take their dog for a walk or take their kids. I’m saddened to know people come in to the park and throw stuff out their car windows. That hurts. But with exposure and time, they’ll come around and understand the natural pleasure of that park. It’s a real hidden gem.”

Tuesday, April 8, 2014


Summary: Minutes of the FOSS Steering Committee Meeting

April 1, 2014

7:00 PM LAMP, 185 5TH Street, Etobicoke
  • FOSS will submit a formal letter to Councillor Grimes outlining specific suggestions/requests for improvement to the dog park.
  • FOSS supports the development of a community vegetable garden at the originally suggested location only, i.e. in the field found on the south side of Lakeshore Blvd. just west of the Rabba store. Attendees at a meeting held on March 3 unanimously agreed with this location. Councillor Grimes did not attend this meeting. He desires additional input from all stakeholders.
  • FOSS is concerned that proposed alternate sites (farther south or near the dog park) may be environmentally detrimental. FOSS also questions if there are alternate future plans for development of the Lakeshore Blvd. site that are comparable to the new Humber College welcome centre at the SW corner of Lakeshore and CSSP Drive. FOSS advocates open public consultation.
  • FOSS supports CCFEW’s opposition to expansion of Billy Bishop (Toronto Island) Airport and will write city council voicing its concerns.
  • Colonel Samuel Smith Park’s annual clean-up day: Sunday, April 27, 2014 from 9:00AM-3:00PM. Volunteers would be greatly appreciated.
  • Spring Bird Festival is scheduled for Saturday, May 24, 2014, 9:00AM-1:00PM. FOSS will have items (e.g. t-shirts/caps) and memberships for sale. Kids’ activities include bird house/feeder construction. Art projects will have a bird-focused theme.
  • FOSS is sponsoring a spring photography competition. Theme: “To portray CSS Park as a place for quietly enjoying nature in any season”. Limit of 2 photos per competitor. See blog for details. Winning photos to be showcased on the blog and at the Spring Bird Festival. Prizes. Contest open to all park users.
  • CCFEW-sponsored bird walk is scheduled for: April 26-CSS Park. April’s walk is led by Bob Yukich. Meet in the south parking lot.
  • For more information about kids’ (Grades 1-8) nature classes scheduled to be held in CSS Park during May and June, contact Jimmy Vincent (416.675.6622 ext. 5009/ at the Humber Arboretum. Be sure to mention the CCFEW subsidy. The park is readily accessible by TTC bus.
  • Report all coyote sightings in CSS Park. See blog for details.