The Swamp of the Don River

By Ashlee McMillan 

On my last visit to Riverdale Farm this past summer, I decided to take a hike around the farm and I stumbled across a large swampy body of water. Riverdale Farm sits adjacent to the Don River and Don Valley Parkway.

Upon further investigation I learned that before the Lower Don River was channelized in the late 19th century, it meandered through the area of Riverdale Farm. However, since the Don has been redirected these farm ponds are all that remain of the once segmented Don River. These ponds still play an important role in the Don watershed and contribute significantly to its overall health.


The ponds and surrounding woodland provide a critical habitat for wildlife species found in this region of Ontario. The beautiful and natural habitat throughout the Riverdale Farm area is used extensively as a stopover for migrating birds, and a permanent habitat and foraging area by many other bird species.


If you would like to learn more about the restoration success at Riverdale Farm check out the Riverdale Farm Stewardship Team, part of the City of Toronto’s Community Stewardship Program. This program was created so that volunteers could help enhance, maintain and monitor the ecological integrity of this site.



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