Accidental Wilderness: The Origins and Ecology of Toronto’s Tommy Thompson Park

This virtual presentation is the Live & Online version of Toronto Public Library’s Our Fragile Planet program series.

Once referred to as Toronto’s “accidental wilderness,” Tommy Thompson Park is now recognized as an urban miracle.

Initially created as a landfill site, the park has grown dramatically. Forests, grasslands, and wildlife now thrive – all steps from the most densely populated areas of North America’s fourth-largest city.

Accidental Wilderness is a rich collection of essays curated by internationally recognized landscape architect and original designer of Tommy Thompson Park, Walter H. Kehm, complemented by stunning photographs by renowned landscape photographer Robert Burley.

Meet Walter and Robert, as well as contributors to Accidental Wilderness:

  • Chief R. Stacey Laforme, Chief of the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation
    Andrea Chreston, Project Manager, Tommy Thompson Park – Toronto and Region Conservation (TRCA)
  • Peter Del Tredici, author, horticulturist and botanist

Moderated by Jacqueline L. Scott, writer and Ph.D. student in Social Justice Education at the University of Toronto whose research is on #BlackOutdoors, sharing the woods as a Black space and diversity in the outdoors.

Annual Butterfly Festival

monarch butterflies at Tommy Thompson Park

Late August is the prime time to get a glimpse of the Monarch Butterfly before they start their annual migration to Mexico, where they spend the winter. This incredible 3,500 km migration takes place between August and November and begins with the gathering of the Monarchs at places like Tommy Thompson Park, Toronto’s Urban Wilderness.

On Saturday, August 21, 2021 the annual Tommy Thompson Park Butterfly Festival will celebrate this incredible migration by welcoming children, families and nature lovers to learn more about butterfly conservation and biodiversity. Through the many activities, nature hikes and educational displays at this year’s FREE event, visitors can discover the more than 55 species of butterflies and moths recorded to date at the park.


Spring Bird Festival

Young birder seeing a bird up close

Located on the Toronto Waterfront, Tommy Thompson Park is Toronto’s largest greenspace and provides critical stopover habitat for migrating birds. There have been 318 native species recorded to date at the park!

Join us at the Spring Bird Festival to learn about the amazing phenomenon of migration and the importance of bird conservation. A variety of activities will be offered for people of all ages and all birding abilities!

Festival Details and Activities