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May 10/14 11:55 am - Toronto Forest Bike Trail Clean-Up

Posted by Editoress on 05/10/14

On May 24th, the University of Toronto Varsity Mountain Bike Team invites mountain bikers and Torontonians to discover and help the Don Valley's Urban Forest.


Over the past 12 years student athletes from the UofT Varsity Mountain Bike Team have organized an annual Don Valley Forest Trail Clean-Up Day. Their efforts and those of other volunteers has seen 24,000 pounds of litter removed from the forest floor. The team occasionally train on the trails and were surprised in the 1990's to hear they may lose them. At first, the trails within this urban forest were being considered for closure by the City of Toronto. There were environmental concerns due to trail erosion and damage to the forest, designated as an Environmentally Significant Area (ESA).  Since that time, mountain bikers and trail users of all types (runners, dog walkers and local community members) have worked with the City to help protect, improve and keep the trails open.

UofT students took the lead and became some of the first to become involved with the City of Toronto with the aim of becoming informed and try to address concerns. Later, this led to helping with sustainable trail building (and to help close harmful trails), inspired academic work with focus on environment, membership with Toronto's Task Force to Bring Back the Don and the ongoing annual trail clean-up.

Last year volunteers helped remove over 2000 pounds of litter from the forest floor, which was weighed and removed by the City of Toronto. The team later took one hundred grade 5 students from the Thorsncliffe Park Public school for a nature walk into the Valley.  The outdoor education program at Thorncliffe Public School is new and hopes to change what little outdoor exposure these children get. The U of T squad invited the school to the trail clean-up event in the past and are hoping to see some of these children and their families at this year's event. All ages welcome.

"My experience at Thorncliffe Park Public School was really heartwarming" said Head Coach David Wright.  "The kids are keen to learn and care. Many of these children are coming from countries where worrying about war and survival are the priority and caring about the natural environment is not. We need to introduce these kids to nature, to help nurture that bond, so they can help look after the environment in the future. The Don Valley is an excellent classroom to do just that."

Thorncliffe Public school is the largest public school in North America (1500 students) and currently has 21 portable classrooms on their small playground. The 87% of students are from high density / low income areas and are new immigrants to Canada.


Volunteers Needed - Saturday, May 24th, 10am - 1pm

Gloves and Bags Provided. Free BBQ, just show up.

Meet at E.T Seton Park (entrance is off 71 Thorncliffe Park Drive)

Thank you,

University of Toronto Varsity Mountain Bike Team or e-mail


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