By Nicole Czorny
Charles Sauriol spent his lifetime preserving many of the beloved natural areas in Toronto. His hard work, commitment and passion, has shaped Toronto, and his efforts are a lasting legacy throughout Canada.
Born in Toronto in 1904, Sauriol spent many summers camping in the Don Valley with his east Toronto Boy Scout group, where he fell in love with the Don Valley and became inspired to protect the Don for generations of urban explorers.
His stories and memories of the Don Valley can be found in his journals and novels.
1927 | Sauriol leases a 40-hectare property at the Forks of the Don
1947 | He purchased the land and built a cottage for his family, where they planted a wild flower garden, tapped maple syrup, canned fruit and vegetables and kept bees
1949 | Co-founded of the Don Valley Conservation Association, with the mission to preserve the Don Valley as a woodland park
1954 | Joined the Don Valley Conservation Authority, now known as the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA)
1966 | Sauriol joins the Nature Conservancy of Canada as the administrative director
1968 | In its efforts to acquire most of the private property in the Don Valley, the TRCA acquires the Sauriol property
1982-1987 | Sauriol becames the executive director at the Nature Conservancy of Canada, where he’s responsible for raising funds, awareness and acquiring natural areas across Canada, with over 500 properties being saved in Ontario alone
1989 | In honour of Sauriol’s commitment to conservation, the east branch of the Don River, from the Forks of the Don up to Lawrence Avenue East was named the Charles Sauriol Conservation Reserve
1991 | Sauriol helps found the Todmorden Mills Wildflower Preserve
Awards and Accolades
Governor General’s Conservation Award -1980
Order of Canada -1989
Parks Canada Heritage Award -1991
Known as Mr. Conservation, Sauriol’s commitment and love of the Don Valley is evident throughout Toronto and Canada, and will be enjoyed by hikers and nature lovers for generations.