Wednesday, March 23, 2016


Below is the description from Humber College of our park and a few words from the photographers who put together the exhibit using their own images.  Sandra Hawkins is an active member of FOSS's steering committee.
Here is the link to the exhibit.
 The Lakeshore grounds, particularly the area that is known as Colonel Samuel Smith Park, is a biodiverse ecosystem with a significant number of animal and plant species. Some of them, for instance, include the Canadian beaver (Castor canadensis), Red-necked grebe (Podiceps grisegena), and the Silver Maple tree (Acer saccharinum). Recently, the park has been officially designated as Environmentally Significant Area.
The park itself began its development in the 1970s and officially opened in 1996. The City of Toronto’s waterfront infill project, along with the mature trees and landscaped grounds of the former Lakeshore Psychiatric Hospital make the park what it is today. The South Etobicoke area, which is originally the land  of  First Nations’ people, offered early settlement for many European military personnel and local farmers. This farming, along with industrialization and urbanization in the 20th century, contributed to deforestation of the landscape, extinction of the Passenger Pigeon (Ectopistes migratorius), and loss of some of local creeks, which were buried completely or altered ( Today, the park is thriving with wild and plant life. Local Aboriginal groups, Friends of Sam Smith Park (, Citizens Concerned about the Future of the Etobicoke Waterfront (, and Humber’s Centre for Urban Ecology ( work to actively preserve and activate Colonel Samuel Smith Park.
 Colonel Samuel Smith Park is famous as one of the most diverse locations for birdwatching in Toronto; more than 200 bird species have been spotted in this area which inspires artists and photographers to observe these colourful feathered creatures. Artists, hikers, and visitors are attracted to the close and accessible location of the park, striking colours of birds and fantastic views of Toronto from the shoreline. Many local enthusiasts organize free walks and talks for watching and appreciating the variety of birds.
These photos represent a gem of green life in the City of Toronto. Next time you take a walk in Colonel Samuel Smith Park, notice the simple natural sounds of birds singing and the reflection of the sun on Lake Ontario. Be sure to visit the park when the trees are covered in snow in the winter, or glistening with dew drops in the spring. Despite the comfort with the benefits of urban life, Torontonians are still drawn to green spaces that have great impact on people’s health. Colonel Samuel Smith Park is South Etobicoke’s space to restore our relationship to the natural world.
This online gallery features captivating images taken by Bob and Sandra Hawkins. Their attention to detail, composition, and movement celebrates the rich diversity of native and migrating birds that were seen and recorded in Colonel Samuel Smith Park.
From Sandra and Bob Hawkins
"One of our greatest joys is to visit wild places where we may be surrounded by the beauty and serenity of nature. After many years of back road traveling and camping from coast to coast in Canada, we came to the realization that the wild country was slipping away and falling victim to overuse and pollution.  We hope our photographs will help to emphasize some of what may be lost if natural habitat is not respected and preserved. We do not employ practices such as baiting owls, luring wildlife with recordings, or intruding into their personal zone of comfort and safety.  Instead, we use patience and a certain amount of serendipity to accomplish our goals." You can reach Sandra and Bob at