Toronto and Region Conservation Authority

The Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA) or Office de protection de la nature de Toronto et de la région is one of 36 conservation authorities in Ontario, Canada. It owns more than 16,000 hectares (40,000 acres) of land in the Toronto region and employs more than 400 full-time employees and coordinates more than 3,000 volunteers each year. TRCA's area of jurisdiction is watershed-based, and includes 3,467 square kilometres: 2,506 on land and 961 water-based in Lake Ontario. This area comprises nine watersheds from west to east: Etobicoke Creek, Mimico Creek, Humber River, Don River, Highland Creek, Petticoat Creek, Rouge River, Duffins Creek, Carruthers Creek.

Toronto and Region Conservation Authority
FocusNatural resources conservation and management
Area served
Greater Toronto Area

The lands TRCA administers are used for flood control, recreation, education and watershed preservation activities, including drinking water source protection. On several sites, TRCA operates conservation areas open to the public for recreational use. The TRCA also operates the Black Creek Pioneer Village, which preserves several 1800s-era buildings in a pioneer setting. Several municipal parks inside and outside Toronto are located on TRCA lands, such as the Toronto Zoo, Humber Bay Park and Milne Park. The TRCA operates five dams for flood control.

Based out of its Kortright Centre for Conservation, the TRCA offers knowledge and experience to help its partners contribute to a healthy city region. This includes ecology and the study of water quality, natural habitats, plants, animals and more. It helps identify environmental needs, set targets, and restore natural areas. It advises partners about land use, development proposals and construction, and environmental education to help students and community members appreciate their local environment and learn to look after it. This work is focused in and around Toronto including portions of the Regions of Peel, York, and Durham.


In 1946, a number of conservation authorities were established by the Province to administer the numerous watersheds of the Toronto region (Don Valley CA, Etobicoke-Mimico CA, Humber Valley CA, Rouge CA, Duffin Creek CA, Highland Creek CA and Petticoat Creek CA) under the Conservation Authorities Act. These early conservation authorities were funded by the municipalities that bordered on their valleys, and any land purchases had to be proposed and funded from either the Province of Ontario grants, local municipal levies or grants on a project-by-project basis. For example, in 1951, the Don Valley CA proposed a conservation area at the point where Lawrence Avenue today crosses the East Don River in Toronto. The DVCA also proposed a halt on transportation uses in the valley.[1] Funding was not approved for the project [2] and the land was eventually used for the Don Valley Parkway project.

In conjunction with the formation of the conservation authorities, volunteer organizations sprang up to assist the conservation authorities in their missions. In Toronto, the Don Valley Conservation Association was established in 1946 by Roy Cadwell, Rand Freeland and Charles Sauriol to protect the lands of the Don River valley from a proposed development. The Association went on to other activities, including tree plantings, wild flower and tree preservation and advocacy. The Association organized popular 'conservation special' train outings from the Don Station north along the CNR line to Richmond Hill and other destinations to promote the conservation of the Don Valley.[3] Sauriol would later become a director of the MTRCA.[4]

Watershed management also included promoting activities such as recreation and public education on authority lands. The Humber Valley CA opened Albion Hills Conservation Area in Caledon as well as Dalziel Pioneer Park, around a historic 1809 barn located on farmland in the Humber River valley. The designated conservation areas charged daily use fees for the general public to use their facilities, unlike typical public parks.

After the deaths and damage of Hurricane Hazel in 1954, governments recognized the need for improved regulation of river floodplains. In 1957, the four Toronto-area authorities were merged into the single Metro Toronto and Region Conservation Authority and given full legal authority to purchase and expropriate lands for conservation. In conjunction with this, the Province of Ontario passed legislation that made building on floodplains illegal. The authority retained the name until 1997, when Metro Toronto was abolished.

In 1959, MTRCA developed its Plan for Flood Control and Water Conservation, which outlined a CDN $22 million plan of dam construction, flood channel construction and floodplain acquisition. In total, 15 dams, four channels were to be built and 11,200 acres (4,500 ha) of land to be acquired.[5] The MTRCA constructed three of the 15 dams: Clairville, Milne and G. Ross Lord dam, plus others in Stouffville and on the Black Creek. The Authority constructed twelve flood control channels and two flood control dykes. Over 280 erosion control works were also constructed.[6]

The MTRCA continued to operate the Dalziel Pioneer Park. In 1960, the MTRCA opened Black Creek Pioneer Village on the Stong Farm, at the corner of Jane and Steeles on the Black Creek, which expanded on the Dalziel lands. It subsequently added other pioneer buildings relocated from around the Toronto area. The village became a popular tourist destination in its own right.

In 1982, the MTRCA opened the Kortright Centre for Conservation in Woodbridge, Ontario. Its mission is to be "a centre of excellence in the field of sustainable technology".[7] The 325 hectare property hosts educational programs for students, workshops for industry and the general public, technology demonstrations in a park-like setting.


A list of parks and conservation areas under the TRCA:

Associated propertiesEdit

See alsoEdit


  • Sauriol, Charles (1992). Trails of the Don. Hemlock Press. ISBN 0-929066-10-3.
  1. ^ "Don River Most Polluted River in Province". The Globe and Mail. February 7, 1951. p. 15.
  2. ^ "City Withholds Don Valley Grant For Land Purchase". The Globe and Mail. July 12, 1951. p. 4.
  3. ^ Sauriol 1992, pp. 268–281.
  4. ^ Sauriol 1992, p. 301.
  5. ^ "The History of Flood Control in the TRCA" (PDF). Toronto and Region Conservation Authority.
  6. ^ "Flood Protection". Toronto and Region Conservation Authority. Retrieved February 23, 2013.
  7. ^ "About Kortright". Retrieved February 22, 2013.

External linksEdit