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TBG’s Urban Ravine Symposium: Explore, Restore and Celebrate

Friday, November 2, 2018, 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Toronto Botanical Garden
777 Lawrence Ave. East, Toronto

Urban ravines provide us with a quick escape from the stresses of city-living. Shady trees, flood-protecting wetlands, colourful songbirds and bejeweled butterflies are just a few of the many natural treasures offered without cost. Ravines also provide numerous free recreational opportunities. However, decades of taking, and not giving back, have taken a toll on these treasured landscapes.

Urban ravines are experiencing erosion, invasive species, flooding and encroachment at unprecedented levels. These challenges and creative solutions to them will be discussed at TBG’s symposium. Learn how to restore wildlife habitat, discover how earthworms impact restoration, hear from experts on plant invasions and the lessons they provide us, and help the city celebrate ravines in a big way.

Through talks, displays, tours and networking, this event will contribute greatly to the growing enthusiasm and expertise for urban ravine restoration.


Early bird registration ends Friday, September. 21, 2018 After September 21, 2018
  • Public $110
  • TBG Member $90
  • Student $70
  • Optional, Symposium Social $10
  • Public $130
  • TBG Member $110
  • Student $80
  • Optional, Symposium Social $10



8:30 to 9:30 a.m.
Registration, coffee and tea, displays
9:30 to 9:45 a.m.
Harry Jongerden, TBG
9:45 to 10:30 a.m.
10:30 to 11 a.m.
Wild, connected and diverse: Celebrating Toronto’s ravines and biodiversity
Jane Welsh and Doug Bennet, City of Toronto
11 to 11:15 a.m.
Morning break, displays
11:15 to 11:45 a.m.
Where the wild things are: Protecting and creating wildlife habitat in ravines
Karen McDonald, Toronto and Region Conservation
11:45 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.
Dog-strangling vine: Mechanisms of invasion
Richard Dickinson, University of Toronto
12:15 to 1:15 p.m.
Lunch, displays
1:15 to 2 p.m.
Guided ravine tour
Toronto Aboriginal Eco Tours and Toronto Field Naturalists
2 to 2:30 p.m.
What is the value of biodiversity monitoring in an urbanizing region?
Natasha Gonsalves, Toronto and Region Conservation
2:30 to 3 p.m.
Learning to live with novelty: Exotic earthworms and restoration
Michael McTavish, University of Waterloo
3 to 3:30 p.m.
From rain drop to ravine
Kyle Vander Linden, Credit Valley Conservation and Jenny Hill, Toronto and Region Conservation
3:30 to 3:45 p.m.
Concluding remarks
Harry Jongerden, Toronto Botanical Garden
4 to 5:30 p.m.
Ravine social
Enjoy locally produced wines, cheeses and botanical water while reconnecting with fellow ravine advocates in the lovely Garden Hall.

For a more detailed agenda please click here.




Harry Jongerden, Toronto Botanical Garden
Harry has been a professional gardener, garden designer and garden director for 35 years. He is currently executive director of TBG, having held the posts of garden director at VanDusen Botanical Garden in Vancouver for five years, head of horticulture at Royal Botanical Gardens and head gardener at the Stratford Festival. He is the author of “This Other Eden” and designer of the Walkerton Heritage Water Garden and Stratford’s Elizabethan Garden.


Sandra Pella, Toronto Botanical Garden
Sandra holds a degree in political science from the University of Western Ontario, and, upon graduation worked in the financial sector until the pull of plants was too much to resist. She worked as a gardener the City of Toronto as well as TBG prior to becoming TBG’s head gardener in 2008. Her garden philosophy is grounded in a deep respect for nature and desire to support natural systems and biodiversity. Sandra has given countless presentations on gardening with nature and is a regular commentator in the media on nature in urban neighborhoods.


Doug Bennet, City of Toronto
Doug is a business development officer in the General Manager’s Office at Toronto Parks, Forestry and Recreation. His work focuses on third-party partnerships and collaborative governance projects that engage community groups, non-profits, foundations and corporations in creating new funding streams and service delivery models. He volunteered in his local park for 13 years before joining the city, had a career in magazine publishing, and is co-author of the best-selling Up North nature guide series.
Richard Dickinson, University of Toronto
During his long career, Richard has been a field biologist/botanist with the Alberta government, Toronto and Region Conservation, and the Faculty of Forestry, University of Toronto. He has authored several books including Plants of Southern Ontario and Weeds of North America, which won the 2014 Book of the Year from the American Horticultural Society. He is currently involved in several invasive plant research projects and is a PhD candidate at the Faculty of Forestry, University of Toronto.
Natasha Gonsalves, Toronto and Region Conservation (TRCA)
Natasha Gonsalves is a Biologist with the TRCA in its Environmental Monitoring and Data Management Group. With a Bachelor’s degree in Biology from Saint Mary’s University and a diploma in Ecosystem Management from Sir Sandford Fleming College, she has over a decade of experience in the environmental field. In her role, she is responsible for the data collection, management, analysis, and reporting of biological data. Her work, which focuses on botanical inventory and long-term monitoring helps to assess ecosystem function, identify new and emerging threats (e.g. invasive species), and guide and inform land management decisions and restoration efforts. Natasha is an avid nature enthusiast who enjoys exploring the outdoors and sharing her botanical knowledge with others wishing to learn more about native plants and their ecology.
Jen Hill, Toronto and Region Conservation
Jen is the research scientist of the Sustainable Technologies Evaluation Program (STEP), a collaborative of TRCA, CVC and Lake Simcoe and Region Conservation Authority. She is the lead author of STEP’s revised LID guide and a member of the training team.
Karen McDonald, Toronto and Region Conservation
Karen is a senior manager with the Restoration and Infrastructure Division at TRCA. In this capacity, she oversees a dynamic team who restore streams, shorelines, wetlands, grasslands and forests in urban areas. Some of her favourite projects are located in Toronto, including Tommy Thompson Park – a stunning example of reclaimed land turned into a biodiversity hotspot. Karen is a contributing author to the City of Toronto’s award-winning Biodiversity series and is on the Bird Studies Canada Board of Directors. Her fascination with wildlife and nature was nurtured on her family farm in eastern Ontario and continues today.
Michael McTavish, University of Waterloo
Michael McTavish is a PhD candidate at the University of Waterloo working in the Conservation and Restoration Ecology (CaRE) Lab with Dr. Stephen Murphy. His research focuses on exotic species as sources of ecological novelty and their implications for conservation and restoration.
Kyle Vander Linden, Credit Valley Conservation
As program manager for integrated water management at CVC, Kyle works on the design, implementation and operation of green infrastructure – documenting lessons learned and transferring knowledge through LID training under STEP. Kyle also has experience teaching resources management and geography at Redeemer University College.
Jane Welsh, City of Toronto
As project manager of the environmental planning unit in Toronto City Planning, Jane is responsible for creating innovative solutions to sustainability issues and changing the way we build in Canada’s largest city. Her work includes the Toronto Green Standard, Green Roof Bylaw, Bird Friendly Guidelines, and the first Ravine Protection Bylaw, Ravine Strategy and Biodiversity Strategy for Toronto. Jane is a landscape architect with a Master’s of Science in planning from the University of Toronto, and was recently elected to the Canadian Society of Landscape Architects College of Fellows.

Exhibitor Booth

This is an affordable opportunity to promote your business/organization and connect with over 100 attendees who are interested in protecting our ravines. If you have registered for the conference, you are eligible to set up a display table at the Symposium for an additional $20. Additional tickets for volunteers to accompany your display table can be purchased at $45 per person.
For more information, please contact Maggie Janik, 416-397-1362.

For other sponsorship opportunities, please contact Claudia Zuccato Ria, Director of Development, 416-397-1372


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