tommy thompson park toronto

Large parties threatening wildlife in one of Toronto's most glorious parks

People are breaking into Tommy Thompson Park and holding large raves, leaving behind garbage and "large amounts of human excrement" disrupting and threatening wildlife.

The Friends of the Spit, an advocacy group founded in 1977 to keep the Leslie Street Spit as a public urban wilderness, say "a large rave" on The Leslie Spit or Tommy Thompson Park happened after park closing hours on July 30.

Someone cut a lock at the entrance and at least one truck drove into the park. A large crowd partied all night, the Friends of the Spit say in a statement posted on their website.

"These are unauthorized illegal and destructive activities in the park, and must be ended," the statement continues. "Not only do these parties disrupt the wildlife, they leave in their wake large amounts of human excrement and garbage which poses a health risk to responsible visitors."

Garth Riley, Friends of the Spit group's co-chair told CBC he understands people want to have fun outside, which has been difficult due to lockdown restrictions but the noise and traffic could permanently damage the wildlife.

"I understand that desire, but this is not the place," he said. "We're trying to keep it as pristine as possible right next to a city of four million people."

The Friends of the Spit would like to see greater enforcement in the area. They have notified the City of Toronto and the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA) (who share joint management of the park) and Ports Toronto (who lease a portion of the Spit) of these and previous damaging activities.

There are only two access points to the park and the group calls for these entry points to be blocked and enforcement stationed there to turn away unwanted visitors. They also suggest patrolling the park.

"The destructive actions of a few threaten the entire park habitat and wildlife," the statement reads.

The delicate balance between wildlife and humans was disrupted earlier this year when the Jason Momoa series See constructed a dystopian village for filming.

People were concerned the film shoot damaged the environmentally sensitive area, which included dozens of large trucks, noisy generators, "piles of film junk," structures emitting smoke and even a grounded helicopter.

Lead photo by

George Hornaday

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