Saturday, May 4, 2019


To register for Lakeshore Grounds Sam Smith Park walks, click here.
To see their upcoming events, click here.


Summary: FOSS Steering Committee Meeting                                         
APRIL 29th, 2019
7:00PM, LAMP, 185 5th Street, Etobicoke

SPRING BIRD FESTIVAL: 10th Annual festival will be held on May 25th from 10AM-2PM in Col. Sam Park. Children’s activities, guided walk in Swallow Field, FOSS hat, t-shirt and membership sales. Prizes and much more. Volunteers needed. No experience necessary.  See blog for details.

NORTH CREEK POLLINATOR MEADOW: FOSS is working with the City of Toronto to design and plant a pollinator meadow in the park. Students from Sir Sandford Fleming College (supervised by Janette Harvey, City of Toronto) have completed a design for the garden and have offered suggestions as to the nature of the plantings. Work began on May 2. See blog for details.

DRONE PROBLEMS IN COL. SAM: Drone operators have aggressively buzzed both people and wildlife (swallows, owls, grebes) in the park. Harassment of wildlife is against the law. If you observe such harassment, contact the Municipal Standards By-law Enforcement Officer responsible for Col Sam Park—Gary Borges, Cell # 647 460-4270. Office # 416 338-5706 OR call 311, OR e-mail, OR contact Ward 3 Councillor Mark Grimes.  See blog for more detail.

BURDOCK REMOVAL: The TRCA plans to set up a burdock eradication test site on Whimbrel Point.

GREBE PLATFORMS:  FOSS President, Brian Keaveney, has been busy repairing/building/installing platforms with the aid of Mr. Joe Calico (originator of the platforms) of the Yacht Club.

OWL HARASSMENT: A few thoughtless birders/photographers have been harassing Col. Sam’s owls of late. In addition to disturbing the birds, these individuals tramp down trails and damage vegetation. Caution: it is illegal to harass wildlife.

NAMING PARK ENVIRONMENTALLY SENSITIVE AND NATURAL HERITAGE AREAS: A FOSS mapping project to assign names to significant areas of the park (such as the already-designated “Whimbrel Point”) in order to provide consistency when communicating info about Col. Sam. For more details, check the blog. Names are being collected and a map will be published in the blog when completed.

PARKING LOT TICKETING BLITZ: The city has recently been conducting parking ticket blitzes at Col. Sam. There is a two hour parking limit for the south lot. Please report any parking problems to 311.

FOSS SOCIAL MEDIA ACCOUNTS: Check out FOSS on both Instagram and Facebook. No personal Facebook account? You may still view the contents, but you will be unable to post comments. Keep watch for nature photos highlighting your park.

DRUG/GARBAGE PROBLEMS AT COL. SAM: Discarded drug paraphernalia and litter are on-going detriments in the park, particularly in the North Creek area. Visitors are asked to notify the police at 416 808-2200 for drug infractions and 311 for trash build-up. Any problems reported to 311 are greatly strengthened when accompanied with a photo.



10th Year Review of Ontario’s Endangered Species Act: Proposed Changes

In a move that will prove devastating to species at risk, the Ontario government has unveiled plans to severely undermine the Endangered Species Act. The government has given the public just 30 days to comment on the proposed changes to the law. The deadline for comments is May 18.

For more details and actions you can take, visit the Toronto Field Naturalists 


Check it out!
Exhibit runs until May 18th.  Hours 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Friday, May 3, 2019


There have been some recent altercations between drone operators and park users over the harassment of wildlife. 

The City of Toronto's Park bylaw that does not allow the operation of "powered models of aircraft and rockets" in City parks does not include flying drones per se as prohibited and we are told that this is currently a grey area when it comes to successful prosecution in court.  The City is pursuing a definitive policy on this matter and it will be cleared up, hopefully sooner than later.

However, the City's Park bylaws are unequivocal when it comes to the harassment of wildlife - "disturbing wildlife" is definitely prohibited.  

So, drone operators who are observed buzzing the birds in the Swallow Field or the grebe nesting platforms, as well as the Snowy Owl out on the dock last winter, or, indeed, any other instance of wildlife harassment are to be reported immediately.

An official complaint has been launched by FOSS with the City's Bylaw Standards due to recent incidents and an investigation, as well as increased vigilance, has been assured.

The Municipal Standards Bylaw Enforcement officer responsible for Sam Smith Park is Gary Borges.  His cell phone number is 647 460 4270 (office 416 338 5706) and he has given us permission to give out his phone number so that a quicker response to an incident is possible.  

Calling the City at 311 and/or emailing, as well as letting our Ward 3 Councillor Mark Grimes know, are all to be encouraged.  By law enforcement is for the most part complaint driven.

The City's Park bylaws can be seen here.  #608 - 37 covers wildlife harassment.


Pollinator Meadow location

Yesterday heralded the beginning of an exciting new project for Sam Smith Park.  FOSS members, along with Janette Harvey, Natural Environment Specialist for the City of Toronto, laid down the first tarpaulin in order to “smother” an area of the park to begin the preparation for a meadow restoration that will provide a high quality pollinator habitat.  It will be called the “North Creek Meadow” and is located south of the large pond/wetland near the lake culvert.

FOSS has long advocated for pollinator habitat improvements in the park and we have expressed an interest in participating in all phases of any restoration plan.

The project design is the result of collaboration between Janette Harvey and students from the School of Environmental & Natural Resource Sciences at Sir Sandford Fleming College.

Site preparation includes tarping, or smothering, and light tilling. The implementation phase involves mulching around the plot sites, followed by seeding, and planting of carefully selected and desired vegetation. Stewardship and monitoring activities will monitor the overall health of the site, native plants, pollinator presence/absence, and the removal of invasive and/or encroacher species. Friends of Sam Smith will be involved in multiple steps of the North Creek Meadow Restoration process and the plan offers volunteer opportunities for locals to become engaged.

The project will take four years to complete with different plots established at different times during that period.  The current year will involve no more than signposting and the tarping and checking of the first plot from April to November.  Three more plots will follow.

If anyone is interested in reading the complete design specifications, let us know at


FOSS is looking for volunteers to help at the Tenth Annual Colonel Samuel Smith Park Bird Festival, on Saturday, May 25! The actual Bird Festival runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., but volunteers are needed as early as 8:30 a.m. to help with putting up signs, flags, setting out tables and chairs for participating groups, and helping participants unload their items as quickly as possible from their vehicles.

We could also use volunteers from 10 a.m.- 2 p.m. (or part of this time)- to help with "Children's activities", and at the end of the Festival, at 2 p.m., to take down signs and help pack up.

Any help is appreciated- no experience necessary! Please consider volunteering for an hour or two before the Festival to help make it a great success again this year. If you can help, please contact Barbara Keaveney at, and let us know when you can come- e.g. 8:00 a.m., 8:30 a.m., or 9:00 a.m.

Hoping to hear from some of you!