Discover the Natural WOnders of TOronto's High Park

About Toronto's High Park

High Park Quarterly Magazine

For five years, from Spring 1994 to Winter 1998, the High Park Quarterly was published by local resident Gigi Suhanic. This magazine documents a very fertile period of restoration and community involvement in High Park, as well as many other…
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Geology of High Park

by Ken Sharratt High Park shares a common geological history with the rest of the waterfront areas of the Toronto Region. Canadian Shield bedrock is situated about 400 metres below the surface. Sitting on top of this are a number…
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Forests in High Park

adapted from High Park Woodland and Savannah Management Plan, City of Toronto In addition to the savannahs and woodlands dominated by mature Black Oak that occur on dry upper slopes and tablelands, High Park includes several other forest types. Hemlock…
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Welcome to High Park, one of Toronto's most significant natural sites!

High Park is home to one of North America's most endangered habitats – Black Oak Savannah. It is a remnant of the sand prairie systems that once covered much of southern Ontario. Majestic black oaks tower over tallgrass prairie plants like big bluestem grass, butterfly milkweed and wild lupine.

Photo: Karen Yukich
Photo: Karen Yukich

High Park is a perfect place to explore nature right in the city! It's remarkable how many different species of birds, mammals, insects and plants you can discover. Take a walk along the park's nature trails or visit its ponds and creeks, and watch quietly for wildlife.

The park's natural features are both precious and vulnerable. Please treat them with respect. Let's all do our part to help High Park's plants and wildlife continue to flourish, so future generations of visitors will be able to enjoy the wonderful legacy John and Jemima Howard have passed along to our care.

Total Park Area (ha)
Species of Wild Plants
%
Protected Park Area
Species of Native Plants
%
Natural Cover
Species of Butterflies
Vegetation Communities
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Species of Birds

Explore Records from the Past

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High Park Quarterly Magazine

For five years, from Spring 1994 to Winter 1998, the High Park Quarterly was published by local resident Gigi Suhanic.

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Postcards of High Park

Since the early 1900s High Park has been a popular subject for photographic postcards. The postcards on this site are from the collection of Sharon Lovett.

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Quotes about High Park

Fascinating collection of quotations about High Park's early years, shared by Joanne Doucette, local historian and naturalist.

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History of High Park

In 1873 the Howards deeded their property (165 acres purchased in 1836) to the city under the condition that it must be left in its natural state as far as possible, must remain free in perpetuity to Toronto citizens and must always be called High Park. With additional property added it is now 161 ha (399 acres). Recreation facilities were added in the 1960s, accelerating the decline of the natural preserve envisioned by the Howards.

Explore Cultural History

Spring Breezes, High Park. J.E.H. MacDonald 1912

Spring Breezes, High Park. J.E.H. MacDonald 1912

High Park's Ecology and
Black Oak Savannah Restoration

In 1976 after noticing the decline of the natural areas and the lack of regeneration of Black Oak trees in this significantly rare habitat, the Ministry of Natural Resources began doing botanical inventories and prepared a restoration plan. In addition to plants that were not threatened they found 99 significant plant species with 86 locally, 9 regionally and 44 provincially rare species. It is a nationally rare vegetation community and a host to many species of wildlife.


In 1989, the Province of Ontario declared 73 ha (130 acres) of High Park as an ANSI (Area of Natural and Scientific Interest). In the early 1990s native plant propagation began in the High Park Greenhouses.

In 2015 the Toronto Official Plan was amended to protect even more of High Park (a total of 83.25 ha – just over half of the entire park) as an Environmentally Sensitive Area (ESA).


The Oak Savannah consists of open parkland containing scattered trees and shrubs surrounded by grasses and wildflowers adapted to the sandy soil and hot and dry conditions. Less than 1% of tallgrass ecosystems remain in North America.

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The "Jewel Brochure"

High Park: Restoring a Jewel of Toronto's Park System

"High Park is undeniably one of the jewels of Toronto’s park system." An introduction to the natural features and restoration programs of High Park.

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Jewel-Brochure

High Park Stewards Guidebook: Rare Plants of the Endangered High Park Black Oak Savannah

Sample | Poster

A plant and habitat guide, history of High Park, account of volunteering experiences and catalog of stewardship resources all in one entertaining pocket-sized book.

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High Park Ecological Tour

Featured external resource from Ryerson University

This guided tour of the Black Oak Savana and High Park ecosystem for Ecology and Sustainable Landscapes (CKLA 400), an online course offered at Ryerson University. The tour is led by Sam Benvie, an instructor with The Chang School.

Sources and references:

  • YouTube video link.
  • Google map link.
  • Entire learning object link.

Articles, Galleries and Guides

What's New?

Welcome to Our New Website!

By High Park Nature | September 14, 2020
Since the High Park Nature website was first launched in 2010, it has provided a wealth of information about the natural features of High Park. Now we are pleased to…

New Treatment for Buckthorn

By High Park Nature | July 9, 2020
This summer Urban Forestry is partnering in a demonstration trial with BioForest, a forest pest management company, to manage invasive buckthorn shrubs using the bioherbicide Chontrol Peat Paste. The active…

Toronto Star article, January 13, 2020

By High Park Nature | April 5, 2020
“We love High Park for its natural beauty. Will that love be the death of it?” Read the article or The Star Pressreader version

High Park Christmas Bird Count Results

By High Park Nature | December 27, 2019
The most recent High Park Christmas Bird Count was held on Sunday, Dec. 15, 2019 (a very windy day). The High Park route ended up with 43 species, our lowest since…

High Park Stewards Summary 2019

By High Park Nature | December 1, 2019
There were over 280 participants (between 110 individuals coming at least once) who came out to High Park Stewards field restoration events. The average number of Stewards that attended each…

Ecology

History

Birds

Mammals

Herps

Fish

Insects

Trees + Shrubs

Wildflowers

Grasses

Wetland Plants

Invasive Plants

Research

Restoration

Volunteer

Maps