My Urban Paradise: The Leslie Street Spit
Dec 27, 2014
I have always had a passion for nature, and was inspired to pursue an undergraduate degree in Environmental Studies because of my love of the outdoors. During my free time, I enjoy exploring and discovering natural landscapes and heritage sites near my home in Toronto, Canada. Some of the areas that I have a strong appreciation for include Rouge Park, Ashbridges Bay Park, High Park, the Humber River, Riverdale Farm, and Edward Gardens.
One of the greatest hidden treasures in nature that I have been very fortunate to experience is Tommy Thompson Park (more informally known as the Leslie Street Spit), and it is one of the most scenic places that I most frequently visit for many reasons; mainly being when I feel the need to de-stress and connect directly with nature on the most intimate level. When I need inspiration for making decisions about my future, or for gaining direction, I spend hours walking through this park to relax, gain mental clarity, and to have a sense of peace in my being. The diversity of plants and animal wildlife are beautiful to see, and feeling the cool breeze coming from Lake Ontario (which surrounds the peninsula that the park rests upon) lightly brushing against my face and through my hair is a sensation that is indescribable.
There are many people who come to the Leslie Street Spit that I see spending time with family, friends, or enjoying some time alone. I have met people who were inspired to create beautiful artwork, such as charcoal drawings and sculptures, which I have had the pleasure to see. As luck would have it, I ended up making friends with two wonderful people whom I met while walking through this park in 2009. One of the people that I met was visiting from Germany, and we spent time exchanging knowledge of our cultures with each other. Since then, I have continued to share my love of this wonderful urban oasis with my family and friends, and invite them to come for walks with me to enjoy this space and to relax. I frequently reminisce about the beauty of the rabbits, frogs, swans and butterflies, the lighthouse discreetly hidden at the end of the trail, and of the picnics, laughs, and moments of bonding and joy that I have shared with people who I love and cherish at this park.
Connecting through nature was a common theme with everyone I have met and brought to the Leslie Street Spit, and the natural beauty of the land is one of the qualities that I admire the most about Canada as a whole. There is so much to see, and I hope that I have the chance to visit more places within this country during my lifetime. Some places that I often think about visiting are the Maritime provinces and Algonquin Park. I have always wanted to drive across the Prairies as well; my best friend shared a moving experience with me of seeing a bear for the first time during a drive to northern Saskatchewan. Hearing her describe her experiences of seeing this part of Canada has made me want to visit other areas as well.
My experiences and knowledge of natural landscapes in Canada has influenced my identity and life choices in many ways. I am very conscious of the importance of preserving natural landscapes and green spaces for the benefit of environmental protection, and to have areas where natural spaces are available as a refuge for those who need them, whether in an urban, rural or wilderness environment. The Leslie Street Spit is an important example of a space where the needs of having a natural space for the public is balanced with ensuring that environmental protection is maintained for the plant and animal wildlife that are sustained by this park.
On a smaller scale, I try to be as mindful as possible about how the everyday choices that I make impact the environment, and the little things that I can do to support living in harmony with nature. For instance, I try to buy locally grown organic produce as much as possible, which reduces the need to use harmful pesticides, encourages higher levels of biodiversity within the land, and supports my economy directly at home. I also enjoy sharing my love of natural landscapes and my knowledge of environmental issues with others, so that they may also experience the same joy that I feel when I visit places that I hold dear to my heart, and so that they can also learn and become more conscious about the things that they can do to help protect the environment.
I feel very lucky and proud to live in a country that possesses so much richness and beauty in so many forms. Looking at the abundance of beautiful landscapes and cultures that exist within Canada has inspired me to want to learn more about this country, and the rest of the world. I have developed a passion for environmental protection, and an adventurous spirit that knows no limits; one which desires to see as much of Canada as possible. Starting from my home in Toronto, I have already had the privilege to experience so much wonderful natural beauty, but the place that has left the strongest impression on my heart is the Leslie Street Spit. I encourage anyone who is in Toronto to visit this amazing park, and I hope that it brings as much happiness and peace to those who visit as it does to me.