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HIGH PARK NATURE is a joint project of the High Park Natural Environment Committee and High Park Stewards. We welcome your feedback, suggestions, articles and photos. Please contact us at mail@highparknature.org

ABOUT THE PHOTOS: Most of the photos on this site were contributed by local photographers and taken in High Park. Please do not copy or reproduce them without permission. If you would like to contribute photos (low resolution) for this website, please contact us at mail@highparknature.org

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My Park 

High Park Story & Art Project


Sarah Nemeth is a local artist and long time enjoyer of Toronto's High Park. Sarah is creating a series of paintings inspired by our stories and experiences within High Park. The paintings and stories will together create a beautiful archive about who we are and how High Park has touched our lives.

You can learn more about this project and contribute your story at www.highparkproject.com or email Sarah.


January 2017 – OURSpace

Painting by Sarah Nemeth

"This past summer I was sitting on the logs in OURSpace (the fenced field behind the High Park Forest School that now houses the Nature Centre) with some children during lunch. There were approximately 50 people in the field all engaged in activities. Then all of sudden we noticed a squirrel running through the field with something in her mouth. At first we thought it might have been a sock or some kind of food she was carrying. Once we spotted the squirrel she quickly ran up the tree and was gone. We all went back to our activities when we saw the squirrel again with something similar in her mouth. Two leaders and 10 children all stopped their activities and watched the squirrel, who, we quickly realized was moving her babies from one squirrel drey to another. She did this 3 more times for a total of 5 times. I found it so interesting that she felt comfortable enough to move her babies in front of us. Later that week the oak tree that held her original nest was trimmed. It was almost like she knew this was going to happen and moved her babies beforehand."

Story by Chantale Spencer

February 2017 – Park Watch

Painting by Sarah Nemeth

“For over fifteen years, I have spent every Sunday, adorned in a yellow park watch vest, as a host to visitors to High Park. On the rare occasion, we do encounter difficult situations. In general, however, we enjoy our contact with the public. From a personal perspective, I have grown very fond of the actions of the children and the questions they ask.

The first indication of a barrage of questions is the shy little voice behind you that you can’t quite catch. An adult voice follows: “Ask that gentleman in the yellow vest”. Presumably Billie agrees, followed by a tug on your pant leg.

“Mister, did you catch the crocodile?” A Cayman was abandoned in Cat Fish Pond adjacent to High Park. This received a great deal of publicity and encouraged several youngsters to ask this type of question.

“Will I be attacked by the beaver’s ugly brothers? [capybaras]” Once again, publicity over the escaped animals was prevalent. The kids, seeing pictures, thought Bonnie and Clyde were beavers. Similar comments were heard when a peacock toured the neighbourhood.

“Why did you burn down the castle?” [Jamie Bell Playground] The playground was off limits for several weeks from the action of an arsonist. Several local children were frequent visitors to the playground. Our “official looking” vests encouraged the questions, although not stated in the most diplomatic manner.

“Mommy and Daddy losted me. Can you find them and tell them I having fun?” Both the playground and zoo have shaded areas, a welcome relief to a parent keeping an eye on her child. They were not “losted” but taking a cooling break.

If you visit the park, may I encourage you to visit the zoo and watch the expressions of the children as they encounter the various animals. In the spring and summer when the llama pen is open, the expressions of delight, fear or astonishment on a little one’s face is one of the best free entertainment activities in Toronto.

And last, but not least, wander over to a T-ball game with the thought that the youngsters practicing controlled chaos will be our future leaders. Hint: a butterfly, moth, piece of grass or floating cloud may affect the outfielder’s ability to concentrate.”

Story by John Hardie

Find the hidden capybara and caiman in the painting!

Check your answers here.

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Content last modified on February 28, 2017, at 07:53 PM EST