September can be a hectic month. Between back-to-school and the return of the five-day work week, many people forget or find it challenging to make time for outdoor activities.
Hiking, cycling, canoeing and the whole gamut of outdoor fun can end up as summer nostalgia or on your “next summer” bucket list. But, why not enjoy these health-promoting activities as much as you can right through the fall? Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA) looks after greenspace, parks and hundreds of kilometres of trails, and they host fun, family friendly activities that help people learn about the environment and connect with nature. You don’t have to travel far to enjoy the outdoors.
When you’re planning how to unwind from a busy week, take a look at TRCA’s Events Calendar to see what’s happening near you. Maybe you’ll end up packing the canoe to join hundreds of others for a leisurely paddle down the Humber River, or grabbing your gardening gloves to help out at a local tree planting. Engaging activities like these run on weekends throughout September—right here in Toronto and the GTA.
Here are our top ten ways to enjoy nature this September:
1/ Go bird-watching with the experts.
On Sundays from September 2nd to 23rd, join the birding experts at Tommy Thompson Park for a fun and informative two-hour morning hike. More than 300 bird species, including songbirds, migrating raptors, waterfowl and shorebirds call this urban wilderness home, or pass through during their annual migration. Bring your binoculars to catch the park’s winged residents and seasonal travelers up close
2/ Run, jog or walk for the bees.
The 1st Annual Run for the Bees takes place at the Kortright Centre for Conservation on September 15. This inaugural fundraising event kicks off the Kortright’s Honey Harvest Festival. Lace up your runners and hit the trails to show your support for the bees. All proceeds from the event go towards bee habitat conservation and education.
3/ Explore Toronto’s urban wilderness.
Tommy Thompson Park isn’t just known for birds – it’s a popular place for all types of wildlife. Snakes, turtles, beavers and foxes have all been spotted here. If you’re interested in the park’s unique ecology, kick off your weekend with a Saturday morning Wildlife Walk on September 8th or 22nd.
4/ Volunteer at a community tree planting.
September marks the start of fall planting season. Thousands of native trees and shrubs will be planted this month to green our region, and you can help! Volunteer with your family at one of TRCA’s community plantings to give a little back to nature while enjoying time outdoors. There are events happening on September 15, 16, and 23.
5/ Learn all about bats.
Explore the special world of bats on September 15. Families attending the evening event will enjoy an indoor presentation, a bat-box building session and a stroll in the woods to detect and record bat activity.
6/ Listen to stories of the Spit.
If you love a great nature tale, stop by Tommy Thompson Park on September 15 for Stories of the Spit. You’ll get to hear the story of Tommy Thompson Park and share your own park experiences with others who are interested in the history and ecology of Toronto’s urban wilderness.
7/ Hike the Altona Forest.
Located in our region’s east end, the Altona Forest provides essential habitat for plants and animals. Yet, it stretches across suburban, urban and agricultural areas that fragment the forest. Visit the Altona Forest on September 9 to discover how its plant communities are changing.
8/ Explore the curious world of life in a pond.
Are you interested in knowing more about the amazing critters that inhabit our region’s ponds? On September 12, TRCA experts will be using dipnets to carefully examine some amazing invertebrates at Rotary Park before releasing them back into their underwater home.
9/ Experience the Heritage Humber River—by canoe.
On September 9, make your way to Etienne Brule Park for Humber by Canoe! Paddle the only river in the GTA designated as a Canadian Heritage river and enjoy family activities, live entertainment and guided hikes at this day-long event. If you have a thirst for greater family adventure, check out the 10 Waters Experience Adventure Kayaking Tours for a sunrise or sunset paddle in the city.
10/ Attend the Annual Highland Creek Salmon Festival.
Each fall, thousands of salmon swim through our region’s rivers and creeks as they make their way upstream to spawn. On September 30, TRCA hosts the Annual Salmon Festival at Morningside Park to capture the wonder of this annual migration at one of the salmons’ first stops. Bring the whole family to enjoy fun activities and watch the salmon run!
We know that spending quality time outdoors is good for our health and wellbeing. Some studies even show that a healthy dose of nature boosts creativity and makes us more efficient at work! So no matter how busy your days may be, try to find time in your week to keep connected with nature. It’s good for you and your health and can make a difference for our planet.
Please refer to TRCA’s Events Calendar for up-to-date information and to register for events.