Ontario Chapter

The Sierra Club is a grassroots, volunteer-driven organization, with most of our key work accomplished by member-volunteers. Sierra Club Canada has active chapters in every region of Canada, with offices in Ottawa, Victoria, Sydney, Corner Brook, Halifax, Edmonton, Montreal and Toronto.

Our Mission is to protect and restore the health of the natural environment, including human communities by empowering Sierra Club members and the citizenry through education, advocacy, action and outdoor adventures.

What’s In Your Water?

By Alyssa Beurling

The Town of Ajax sits along seven kilometres of beautiful and uninterrupted shoreline along the northern side of Lake Ontario, and for over 50 years now the Town’s Council has focused on creating an open, swimmable, green and accessible waterfront for residents. Although drastic improvements have been made the lakeshore is now experiencing nuisance algal blooms, and a recent study indicates effluent from the nearby Duffins Creek Wastewater Pollution Treatment Plant (DCWPTP) in Pickering is to blame.

Sierra Club Works to Save Irish Grove Forest

By Dr. John Bacher

A new threat to the environment and the future of the Greenbelt on the eve of its 2015 Review has emerged in Niagara. It is a proposal to extend through the Greenbelt in Grimsby,  a Niagara Regional Road, Livingston Avenue (Niagara Regional Road, 512)  in the middle of the old growth Irish Grove Forest.

The Irish Grove Forest is a 26 acre forest which has never been farmed. It contains huge Red and White Oaks that have been estimated by experts to be 450 years old. It also contains towering super-story White Pines of a hundred to 150 years in age. Most of the trees in this climax Carolinian forest are climax mature  Sugar Maples and Shagbark Hickories which are regenerating well.

More Mississauga Riparian Restoration Opportunities: Oct 2014

ACER (Association for Canadian Educational Resources) has a number of programs but one very special one is their use of citizen scientists to collect climate change data. This year ACER is planting a number of sites to restore forests around Lake Ontario and is seeking volunteers to plant and help with monitoring of trees. Their Riparian Rangers program.

As a volunteer for Riparian Rangers Mississauga you will gain hands-on knowledge concerning the restoration and monitoring of riparian ecosystems. Specifically, volunteers will clean the sites so they are free from litter, identify and remove invasive species, as well as measure and monitor 10% of each tree species that has been planted in terms of growth and health.

Volunteers will be needed for two restoration sites:

Community tree planting in Brampton was a success!

200 trees and shrubs were planted over the weekend in McLaughlin Valley!  A big thank you to everyone who came out on September 6!  More than 30 volunteers dug in with Sierra Club and CVC to reforest the area.  Give yourselves a big pat on the back!  Keep an eye out for upcoming opportunities to participate in plantings and help improve the air and water quality in your community. 

Unity for the Climate

Over the past 5 months, Joseph Boutilier has cycled 5,000km on one wheel to call for action on climate change. Join Joseph as he arrives in our nation’s capital – his final destination – to meet with MPs just as Parliament reopens for the Fall session. Join others demanding political action and unity for the climate crisis. Do it #ForOurFuture.

12:00 pm, September 15, 2014 – Parliament Hill (Meet at the Centennial Flame), Wellington St., Ottawa

Bringing back Paradise at the Ajax lakeshore

Join us for Paradise Beach Project planting event September 20, 2014

Sierra Club, Town of Ajax and Toronto and Region Conservation are psyched to plant native plants and trees on Paradise Beach bioswales as part of the Great Canadian Coastal Clean-up Saturday, September 20th. 

'What's a bioswale?' you may ask. A bioswale is a way of filtering surface water by channeling through plants, gravel or rip-rap and slowing it down. Silt and particulate matter will fall out and the plants in the bioswale help take out nutrients and chemicals, for instance automotive run-off from a parking lot. The plants and soil do this work for free for our benefit!

Join In Walk To Grow Greenbelt

By John Bacher

Image source: Friends of the Greenbelt

On Saturday, September 27th, at 2pm, a walk will be held to grow the Greenbelt as recommended by a motion of the City of Thorold Council. Walkers and cyclists will assemble at the outside the Indian Flame Bar and Grill, at 1300 Lundy’s Lane near the Allanburg Bridge.  The route will take an hour and a half by walking and participants are encouraged to meet informally at the Indian Flame afterwards. In case of any extreme weather, the event will be held at 2pm on Sunday, September 28th at the same location.

Rouge Park deserves better protection

Rouge Park has been getting a lot of press coverage recently. The proposed federal legislation for Rouge Park is not good enough, and the remarkable ecological values of the park deserve more protection.  A letter signed by 7 environmental groups outlining the objections to the legislation for establishing the future urban park can be found here

Read more:

http://www.insidetoronto.com/news-story/4820598-ontario-set-to-deny-transfer-of-land-to-rouge-national-urban-park/ - (EDC) Ontario set to deny transfer of land to Rouge National Urban Park

Ajax Paradise Beach Bioswale Tree Planting

Come plant with Sierra Club in Ajax to help improve the air and water quality in the community!  

When:  Saturday, September 20th 

Time:  1:30 pm - 4:00 pm

Where:  2973 Lakeview Blvd.  (Between Pickering Beach Road S. and Shoal Point Road S.) 
Meet at "Paradise Beach" sign across from Paradise Park 

To participate, please register here.  

For more information, please contact Alyssa at paradise.beach@sierraclub.ca, or Kristina at 647-346-8744.    

Norval Quarry Decision Time; Natural Heritage Policy Applied with Unprecedented Rigour

By Janet Kuzniar

The City of Brampton Council will be presented a Recommendation Report by their Planning staff on Monday September 8, 7:00 pm, Brampton Council Chambers, Brampton City Hall.

The Report, based on peer reviews, recommends NOT supporting the Norval Quarry rezoning from agricultural to industrial extractive. There is a strong ecological component to this report, as the subject lands are dominated by key ecological features such as mature woodlands, watercourses, and provincially protected wetlands. This is the first time that the recently mapped  Natural Heritage System in Peel has had a quarry application, and a rigorous analysis by the City of Brampton has shown that the Norval Quarry fails the policy test. 

Brampton Tree Planting - September 6, 2014

Trees improve air and water quality, and mitigate climate change.  Help green our communities!  No experience necessary, there will be demonstrations on site.  Gloves, shovels, and light refreshments will be provided.  Students are eligible for volunteer hours. 

Where:  McLaughlin Valley (see map on flyer).  Major intersection is McLaughlin Road N. and Williams Parkway. 

When:  Saturday, September 6, 2014

Time:  9:00 am - 12:00 noon

Who:  Everyone is welcome!  Bring your friends and family! 

Toledo's toxic faucets

By Shaima Al-Khalili

It finally happened…what scientists and enviros have been trying to get citizens and governments to see finally became undeniable.  Twenty days ago today, eutrophication in Lake Erie finally entered the consciousness of the everyday citizen…through their drinking water.

Citizens of Toledo, Ohio and surrounding areas were feeling the wrath of Erie first hand. Approximately 400,000 people rushed to stock up on their water supply in supermarkets, corner stores and anywhere else they could get their hands on that liquid gold…including neighbouring states! Why not just boil it? Why the drama? Well…you CANNOT boil the toxins out of the water. So drink at your own risk, you know, if you have a thing for diarrhea, nausea and a whole other array of ailments.

Save David Dunlap Forest

Walk  To Save Southern Ontario’s Vanishing Forests.

By John Bacher

Today we have a bizarre situation where hard wrested environmental progress is being turned back. This is the shrinking of Southern Ontario’s forests, in the fertile agricultural area south of  the Canadian Shield.

Following the invasion of what was called Upper Canada there was a rampant destruction through burning of the forests of the land which, after Confederation, became called Ontario. Most of these forests were used to produce ashes, to manufacture soap and other products manufactured in Europe. It took sixty large maple trees to produce a single barrel of potash to be shipped across the sea.

Guided Bird Nature Walk July 26 - Heart Lake Conservation Area

Ever wonder who is tweeting at you?  (No not on twitter)  Come find out with us on Saturday, July 26! 

Discover the trails at Heart Lake Conservation Area, and learn about birds and other features in the area with avid naturalist and birder, Bob Noble.   

Date:  Saturday July 26, 2014

Time: 9:00 am - 10:30 am

Location:  Heart Lake Conservation Area
10818 Heart Lake Road, Brampton

Event is free, however, we ask that you RSVP so we can notify park staff and prepare for the event. 

For more information and to RSVP, visit the event page:

Visit TRCA website for applicable park fees:

Green Bins Critical to Mitigating Climate Change (Video)

Sierra Club's Waste Diversion Expert, Rob Muir, continues to emphasize the necessity of waste diversion to combat climate change.  Local government has an important role in making it happen, however, the key is developing sustainable consumer behaviour.  We need to be more conscious of how resources are used, the products we consume, and how we deal with our waste. 

Watch Rob's video on Ottawa's Green Bin Program here

Visit Sierra Club Ontario Waste Diversion to learn about this critical step towards creating a sustainable future, and mitigating climate change. 

Rob Muir's Profile.

Recap of Our Natural Capital Volunteer Workshop in Brampton!

Thank you to everyone who came out to our Natural Capital Volunteer Training Workshop on June 25th, 2014!  We were lucky  the looming storm clouds cleared just in time for the evening.  

Most of our important work are accomplished with help of volunteers, and we were happy to see some new faces join us.    
Volunteers were given a presentation on the Natural Capital concept, introduction to Sierra Club's outing style and things to be aware of when guiding a nature walk.  Then we went for a stroll along Etobicoke Creek Trail behind the Brampton Four Corners Library to highlight how to run an outing.

One of our main goals for this workshop was to discuss ideas about potential outreach activities to expand the Natural Capital project.  We came up with some great ideas and are looking forward to planning and new collaborations to bring an event-filled summer in the Peel Region!  

Brampton's Natural Capital

Natural Capital refers to the stock of natural resources and environmental assets, and how they contribute to building healthy communities. The Natural Capital perspective is a way of placing a monetary value on the ecological goods and services to quantify these benefits.  

Brampton's ecosystems contain many natural areas and urban green spaces that provide the city with ecological goods and services, which translates to valuable Natural Capital.  

Thanks to support from Ontario Trillium Foundation and the Mississauga Community Fund, we are expanding the project by doing walkshops and natural area restoration work throughout Brampton and Mississauga in summer of 2014.  Our goal is to educate and engage the community to raise awareness and appreciation for these natural areas.