The High Park Nature Centre is a charitable organization that was established in 1999. Our mission is to promote awareness and respect for nature through year-round, hands-on outdoor nature education and park stewardship. Nature Centre programs inspire a sense of wonder, knowledge and respect for High Park’s natural systems; restore human connections to local plants and animals; and engage visitors in ecological restoration activities to ensure a sustainable future for High Park for generations to come.
The High Park Nature Centre serves a diverse audience of over 14,000 people annually from across the Greater Toronto Area, including children, adults, seniors, families, elementary and secondary school students and teachers, ESL schools, Girl Guides and Boy Scouts, community centres and recreational programs. Through the Nature Centre’s programs, over 80,000 participants of all ages have been able to “give back” to High Park through park stewardship activities like planting native grasses, wildflowers and sedges or removing invasive plant species.
– Family Nature Walks (by donation) every other weekend see the schedule here
– Special Events throughout the year for more information please visit here
– Nature Clubs – drop off clubs, caregiver accompanied and more (here)
– Camps – including PA, March Break, Summer and Winter Holiday Camps (here)
– Adult Workshops on a variety of subjects (here)
– and more
Centrally located on 399 acres (161 hectares) of land in the heart of the Toronto, High Park provides visitors with a unique and unusual sense of wilderness. The park is home to countless species of wildlife, including insects, birds, amphibians and reptiles, fish and mammals. Recognized as one of the most significant natural sites within the City of Toronto, the park contains an outstanding concentration of rare plant species, including woodland fern-leaf, cup plant, shrubby St.John’s Wort and the wild blue lupine.
About one-third of High Park’s terrestrial system is considered to be ecologically significant because of the rare vegetation and wildlife found there. The most famous and admired plant communities in the park are the black oak savannahs; remnants of the sand prairie systems that once covered much of southern Ontario’s landscape. By some estimates, less than one percent of oak savannah ecosystems are left in the world and High Park contains the fourth largest remnant globally.
It is easy to think that the natural environment in High Park will always be there for humans to use and enjoy. However, the rapid expansion of the city over the last century has endangered and degraded the park’s natural environment. If we want future generations to be able to experience this incredible natural legacy in the heart of our bustling city, we need to teach people how to protect and restore its natural areas. This unique and fragile environment needs the Nature Centre’s educational programs to engage the heads, hands and hearts of park visitors in stewardship activities that will ensure the future of High Park and position them to practice environmental stewardship in their daily lives.
For more information on natural history, other groups operating in the park and park events, please visit the High Park Nature website.