Accidental Wilderness: The Origins and Ecology of Toronto’s Tommy Thompson Park

By Walter H. Kehm, with Photography by Robert Burley

© 2020

Once referred to as Toronto’s “accidental wilderness,” Tommy Thompson Park is now recognized as a fortuitous urban miracle. Initially created as a landfill site on the city’s rapidly developing waterfront, the park’s physical and ecological footprint have grown dramatically. Forests, grasslands, and wildlife now thrive – all within a stone’s throw of some of the most densely populated areas of North America’s fourth-largest city.

Accidental Wilderness is a rich and lyrical collection of essays curated by internationally recognized landscape architect and original designer of Tommy Thompson Park, Walter H. Kehm, complemented by a stunning collection of photographs by renowned landscape photographer Robert Burley. The book explores the city’s port origins; the park’s master plan principles and design; the native-plant succession process; the park’s unique flora and fauna; public advocacy; and public recreation in the park and its effect on mental, physical, and spiritual health.

In an era where the looming dangers associated with climate change affect our daily lives, Tommy Thompson Park offers a hopeful narrative about how nature can flourish in, and contribute to, the well-being of twenty-first-century cities.

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Product Details

  • Imprint: Aevo UTP
  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 176 pages
  • Illustrations: 100
  • Dimensions: 12.3in x 1.0in x 9.3in
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SKU# SP006529

  • PUBLISHED NOV 2020

    From: $32.47

    Regular Price: $49.95

    ISBN 9781487508340
  • PUBLISHED NOV 2020
    From: $49.95
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Quick Overview

Accidental Wilderness showcases how the removal of city rubble and its displacement can result in new urban parklands with significant ecological importance for the health of the city and its residents.

Accidental Wilderness: The Origins and Ecology of Toronto’s Tommy Thompson Park

By Walter H. Kehm, with Photography by Robert Burley

© 2020

Once referred to as Toronto’s “accidental wilderness,” Tommy Thompson Park is now recognized as a fortuitous urban miracle. Initially created as a landfill site on the city’s rapidly developing waterfront, the park’s physical and ecological footprint have grown dramatically. Forests, grasslands, and wildlife now thrive – all within a stone’s throw of some of the most densely populated areas of North America’s fourth-largest city.

Accidental Wilderness is a rich and lyrical collection of essays curated by internationally recognized landscape architect and original designer of Tommy Thompson Park, Walter H. Kehm, complemented by a stunning collection of photographs by renowned landscape photographer Robert Burley. The book explores the city’s port origins; the park’s master plan principles and design; the native-plant succession process; the park’s unique flora and fauna; public advocacy; and public recreation in the park and its effect on mental, physical, and spiritual health.

In an era where the looming dangers associated with climate change affect our daily lives, Tommy Thompson Park offers a hopeful narrative about how nature can flourish in, and contribute to, the well-being of twenty-first-century cities.

Continue Reading Read Less

Product Details

  • Imprint: Aevo UTP
  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 176 pages
  • Illustrations: 100
  • Dimensions: 12.3in x 1.0in x 9.3in
  • Reviews

    "The Spit is miraculous and amazing, growing out of Toronto like a volcanic island. Accidental Wilderness is a stunningly beautiful and hopeful book that captures with writing that is both technical and romantic the story of how the Spit came to be and what it almost was if not for the interventions of the people who protected it."


    Shawn Micallef
    Spacing magazine

    "The Spit was quarried from the landfill of the city, cradled and cared for by local activists and then captured by the regenerative forces of nature. This extraordinary saga is beautifully told by Walter H. Kehm and his colleagues and exquisitely highlighted by the photography of Robert Burley."
    David Crombie, mayor of Toronto (1972–1978), professor, and writer

    “This resonating book is a command performance of what is left of nature for the people of Toronto. It is a mirror for change, a welcoming walk into the spirit of renewal.”
    Diana Beresford-Kroeger, author of To Speak for the Trees

    “Venturing onto the Leslie Street Spit, we are still in the city but in an entirely different world. It is sublime. The Spit was never intended to be a wilderness park, but it became a magnificent one. In Accidental Wlderness the photographs by Robert Burley capture the Spit’s strange beauty, while the text by Walter H. Kehm and his colleagues brilliantly tells the suspenseful story of the perilous and persistent journey to ‘let it be.’”
    Ken Greenberg, author of Walking Home and Toronto Reborn

    Accidental Wilderness should be required reading for urbanists, advocates, and environmentalists in Canada and beyond.”
    Charles Waldheim, Harvard University
  • Author Information

    Walter H. Kehm is a landscape architect and was a professor and Director of the School of Landscape Architecture at the University of Guelph.


    Robert Burley is an artist working in photography. His projects often explore the transition between city and country.
  • Table of contents

    Foreword
    David Miller

    Introduction
    Walter H. Kehm

    Portfolio I
    Robert Burley

    Part I: Epiphany

    The Spontaneous Ecology of Tommy Thompson Park
    Peter Del Tredici

    Building the Leslie Street Spit
    Wayne Reeves

    Aquatic Park
    Walter H. Kehm

    The Evolution of Advocacy
    John Carley

    Portfolio II
    Robert Burley

    Part II: Process

    Conservation by Design: The 1986 Plan
    Walter H. Kehm

    Plants and Natural Succession
    Gavin Miller

    Birds and Birding at the Spit
    Garth Vernon Riley

    Mammals and Fish
    Gord MacPherson and Walter H. Kehm

    Habitat Projects and Wildlife Management
    Andrea Chreston

    Portfolio III
    Robert Burley

    Part III: Evolution

    People in the Park
    Walter H. Kehm

    Let the Spit Be!!
    Robert Burley

    Home
    Chief R. Stacey Laforme

    Acknowledgments
    Comparative Parks
    List of Bird Species
    List of Plant Species
    References
    Further Resources
    Image Key
    Contributors

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