Now that the snow has melted and the parks and trails are starting to become green and vibrant again, it’s time to go visit the StoryWalks once more! Starting in late May, you’ll find a nice surprise to greet you at each of the same trails as before, with new StoryWalk panels installed at select parks throughout Vaughan (one in each ward)! These are new titles, so if you made your way through all of them last year, be sure to check them out once again! If you haven’t heard about them before, VPL has partnered with the City of Vaughan’s Department of Parks to offer a different reading experience: you get to read a story as you make your way through the park. Who says reading is an indoor activity?
And while you’re making your way out onto the trails, why not bring along one of our many Nature Backpacks with you? We have 7 different types of Nature Backpacks, each packed with themed activities, including magnifying glasses, binoculars, books and more! Do you go crazy for bugs? Check out Things with Wings, or maybe Creepy, Crawly Critters! Animal lover? You can learn how to identify Who’s Been Here? with our Nature Backpacks, so you’ll be able to figure out who’s visiting your local park or backyard. Or if you love seeing Spring bloom and grow, you might be interested in Buds, Blossoms & Leaves. And if you just love everything there is to know about the outdoors, you’ll want to get your hands on the Explore Outdoors backpack! In fact, the fun doesn’t end once Winter comes around again, so don’t forget about the Winter Outdoor Fun backpacks!
Ward 1: Learn about different ways to experience your city at Mackenzie Glen District Park (220 Cranston Park Ave, Maple) with My City Speaks, by Darren Lebeuf, illustrations by Ashley Barron. Enjoy the familiar Toronto landscape as this daughter and father get to know the city through its smells, sounds, tastes and textures. With multiple paths leading into the park from the residential streets around it, Mackenzie Glen is full of life, including a couple of beautiful swans that have been spotted at the pond! There is a large parking lot, public washrooms, and a gazebo to rest and have a picnic – it’s the perfect place to spend a nice day outside. For some fun and games for the whole family, there’s a soccer field and a large playground with a splashpad, suitable for children of all ages.
Ward 2: Join this family on an alphabetical romp as they try to find their lost dog at the Pride parade in Pride Puppy! by Robin Stevenson, illustrated by Julie McLaughlin, at the Nort Johnson District Park (close to the Woodbridge Pool and Memorial Arena), where you’ll find lots of puppers out on walks, sharing the space with a multitude of wildlife, including blue jays, cardinals and geese galore! Don’t have a dog? Take a seat at the picnic tables to play cards with friends, or join in a game of bocce at the bocce court!
Ward 3: Lawford Park (300 Lawford Rd, Woodbridge) is getting Mii Maanda Ezhi-gkendmaanh (This is How I Know) by Brittany Luby, illustrated by Joshua Mangeshig Pawis-Steckley, a bilingual Anishinaabemowin & English story-poem of a child and grandmother experiencing nature throughout the seasons. Lawford Park is a cozy little neighbourhood hangout spot with a small playground, a soccer field, and an accessible walking path with seating areas scattered throughout the park. There’s no parking lot besides that of the school, so it’s perfect for visiting when out on a walk around the area.
Ward 4: The Storywalk at Sugarbush Heritage Park has finished its run for the season and has been taken down for 2022.
Learn how to listen to the forest at Sugarbush Heritage Park (91 Thornhill Woods Dr, Thornhill) with I Hear You, Forest by Kallie George, illustrated by Carmen Mok. As you make your way through Sugarbush forest, you too will hear the way the trees creak and the leaves rustle, and become more aware of the sounds of nature. Besides being home to a range of different plants and fungi – I’m fairly certain I’ve found chicken of the woods growing on a tree there before – you might also see wildlife such as deer, and different types of birds. The easiest way to spot anything, whether it’s noticing the different plants, such as the red trillium, or coming across a stunning bird like the pileated woodpecker, is to slow down and listen, take a look around, and notice what you’ve been passing by whenever you take a step and make a sound.
Ward 5: And at Marita Payne Park (16 Jason St, Concord), we’ll get I Love You More by Emil Sher, illustrations by Barbara Reid, showing many different ways, big and small, in which we are connected by love. The small stormwater pond at the park is home to birds galore, including cormorants, geese, and more, and there’s a bench for you to sit and enjoy the tranquility by the artificial pond, as well as short trails taking you closer to the river beside it. On the other side of the park, there’s a playground, plus a soccer field and baseball diamond. Marita Payne is part of the Bartley Smith Greenway trail, which is a 15km-long trail following the West Don River, stretching from Steeles and Dufferin all the way to Teston Road, where the trail ends with a few local parks. It’s a lovely trail for bikes, but definitely not bad on foot either!
Located 10 minutes north of Toronto, on 325 hectares of pristine woodlands, the Kortright Centre for Conservation combines a natural oasis with some of the most leading-edge sustainable education programs and events in Canada. The boards are located on the Wetland Trail starting around trail marker W3.