Toronto sites

Moderators: edfrank, dbhguru

Post Reply
User avatar
Posts: 316
Joined: Sat Apr 10, 2010 5:15 pm

Toronto sites

Post by tomhoward » Thu Jun 24, 2010 7:18 pm


Here is my other report on Toronto:

Toronto, Ontario Sites 6/19-6/20/2010

On Sat. 6/19/2010 Jack Howard and I visited the Ontario Science Centre, one of the best science museums with many interactive exhibits on many aspects of Science, including space science (with a Moon rock brought back by Apollo astronauts, and a piece of a meteorite blasted off Mars), environmental science, etc., and a neat traveling exhibit (on a temporary visit to the Science Museum) that recreates the world of Harry Potter. One of the environmental exhibits creates a small area of tropical rainforest in a large warm humid greenhouse; there are several species of tropical trees and vines, including Kapok trees that reach to a ceiling that seems to be at least 60 ft. tall.

The Ontario Science Centre is in a splendid natural setting built into the side of a forested ravine in the eastern part of Toronto. From the main entrance you walk on an indoor walkway across the canopy of 2nd growth hardwood forest with much Sugar Maple. Then to get to exhibits you take an escalator down several levels through a steep forest dominated by large Black Locust. One part of this forest on a shelf in the ravine is open to the public; it is called the Reason for Hope Garden, part of Jane Goodall’s Roots and Shoots program. There are some big Weeping Willows near a Chinese style garden pavilion and there is some forest with Beech and Hemlock and one large forest grown White Pine, with rough bark high up into crown, and with a big trunk about 40” dbh (estimate as I did not have my “D” tape with me); this is the most impressive tree at the Ontario Science Centre – this White Pine should easily be over 150 years old. In the same area I counted 60 rings on a 6” radius cross-section of a Black Locust log.

On Sun. 6/20 Jack and I explored Queens Park right in the center of Toronto near the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM). The ROM and the city of Toronto have a program called Trees for Toronto whose purpose is to plant and identify existing trees in Queens Park. Over 40 tree species are identified with plaques on their trunks. The largest trees are huge old open grown Red Oaks and White Oaks; these oaks, some of which are over 200 years old, are remnants of an Old Growth Oak Savanna. I measured several trees with “D” tape:

Red Oak 57.1” dbh hollow low branches
Red Oak 62.7” dbh (16.4’ cbh)
Red Oak 62.3” dbh huge buttress roots, massive craggy limbs
Red Oak 61.9” dbh east end of park

White Oak 46.9” dbh
White Oak 52.9” dbh (13.9’ cbh)
White Oak 46.2” dbh lightning scars
White Oak 37.8” dbh taller trunk than most

All other trees were planted and include:

Pin Oak 45.6” dbh young-looking crown

Butternut 33.8” dbh
Kentucky Coffeetree 23.6” dbh
Blueleaf Birch 17.9” dbh native to Maritime Provinces, northern New England, usually much smaller

Other trees seen include Cornelian Cherry ( a Dogwood from Europe), European Linden (in fragrant bloom), European Ash (common in park), Catalpa, Gingko,
big Sycamore Maple, several big Silver Maples, London Plane Tree.

One of the big Red Oaks fell recently leaving a huge rotten stump. This tree apparently was younger than some of the other big oaks. I counted only 50 wide rings outside the rotten center. Last year I counted 170 rings on an oak stump in Queens Park.

Tom Howard

User avatar
Posts: 316
Joined: Sat Apr 10, 2010 5:15 pm

Re: Toronto sites

Post by tomhoward » Sun Oct 17, 2010 1:13 pm


On 10/2 - 10/3/2010 Jack Howard and I explored more sites in Toronto:

On 10/2/2010 I measured trees in Lynndale Park, a small park near where my brother Jack Howard lives in Toronto. In its midst is a small grove of second growth White Oaks (to 24” dbh) and Red Oaks to 32.8” dbh) that in Oct. 2009 I guessed to be under 60 ft. tall. The following are the measurements made with the Forestry 550 Laser Rangefinder:
White Oak 54.5 ft.
White Oak 56.5 ft.
Red Oak 58.5 ft.
Silver Maple 60.5 ft. double-trunked at edge
The tallest trees are Black Locusts at the Wood Glen Rd. entrance to Lynndale Park; the tallest Locust (about 23” dbh) is 70 ft. tall.

Jack Howard and I explored High Park near Toronto’s west side on Sat. Oct. 2, 2010 in a constant light rain. The park contains about 110 acres of remnant old growth Black Oak Savanna, and there are many large spreading Black Oaks but no trees are very tall – wide spread, often gnarled form, and low height are typical of savanna trees. Black Oak is close to its northern limit in Toronto. Some of the largest Black Oak are in an open park setting near Bloor St. W. including:
Black Oak 44.7” dbh 58 ft. tall
Black Oak 46.1” dbh
Black Oak 46.6” dbh
White Pine in midst of Black Oaks (measured from Black Oak Café) 74.5 ft.
European Linden in same area 72.5 ft.

We next entered a hilly savanna area with an overstory of crooked still green Black Oaks and an understory of Sassafras turning yellow, gold, orange, red with many birds seen and singing. Some trees in this section:
Sassafras 47 ft.
Black Oak 56 ft.
Sassafras 44 ft. tallest in old battered group of 3. each over 2 ft. dbh
We also saw some Paper Birch.

In an open area near Grenadier Restaurant are some Dawn Redwoods, with one 63.5 ft. tall. There is also a White Pine 62.5 ft. tall.

Near an old (19th century) white building is a huge Black Oak with trunk over 4 ft. dbh, spread easily 70 or more ft., height 62.5 ft.

We walked through a small zoo and then by Adventure Playground I measured a White Pine 83.5 ft. tall, one of the tallest trees at High Park.

This marks the beginning of a beautiful old growth Black Oak Savanna that we climbed through on a trail. Black Oak is the most common tree, generally low and stunted, and with picturesque crooked forms. Here and there rugged White Pines rise above the Oaks. I measured one of these White Pines to at least 79 ft.
Another White Pine not more than 50 ft. tall is 24.2” dbh, old and battered looking with platy bark and scars at base. I counted 160 rings on the cross-section of a fallen Black Oak branch, 9” radius – the branch fell from a few feet above the base of the living tree, and this Oak is possibly about 180 years old. Other trees measured in this section of old growth Black Oak Savanna:
White Pine in hollow 82 ft.
White Oak 69.5 ft.
Black Oak 27.5” dbh typical tree
Black Oak 25.6” dbh typical tree
Black Oak 67 ft. typical tree
Black Oak covers 95 % of this savanna with White Pine the most common associate.
Other trees seen: White Oak, Red Oak, Sugar Maple, Norway Maple, Austrian Pine, Black Cherry, Paper Birch, Mulberry, Ash.

On Sun. 10/3/2010, a cold breezy day Jack Howard and I visited Rosetta McClain Gardens in the Scarborough section of Toronto atop steep bluffs leading down to Lake Ontario. There are flowers of many different types in a series of decorative gardens, including some gigantic Thistles. The views over Lake Ontario are awesome, and on this day we could see the spray rising from Niagara Falls over 35 miles away to the south. There are many large planted trees here, especially many large conifers, with Norway Spruces being the standouts. Trees measured:
European Larch 41” dbh 76 ft. double-trunked
Norway Spruce 82.5 ft.
Norway Spruce 80 ft.
Norway Spruce 18.4” dbh 90 ft. tallest tree I’ve measured in Toronto
Norway Spruce 33.5” dbh 88 ft.
Norway Spruce 35.8” dbh 79 ft. – this is the biggest of the Spruces with 3 large ascending limbs – it has a similar appearance to the great champion Norway Spruce in Root Glen, Clinton NY and to the even larger European Silver Fir at Ardkinglas Woodland Garden in Scotland but is much smaller than either tree.

Near these Norway Spruces is the largest tree we would see in Rosetta McClain Gardens, a broad-crowned hardwood that I think is an English Elm, (has small leaves like English Elm but is much larger than any English Elm I’ve ever seen):
48.5” dbh (12.7 ft. cbh) at least 88 ft. tall with 2 great ascending limbs; this tree has rough shaggy old bark.

There are many large Silver Maples in this garden and the biggest is 48.2” dbh, 83 ft. tall. Silver Maples were planted in rows and these trees have wide low crowns:
Silver Maple in row 38.6” dbh
Silver Maple in row 43.7” dbh 2 big ascending limbs, not tall
More trees measured:
Blue Spruce 72.5 ft.
Spruce with same crushed needle fragrance as White Spruce but with Blue Spruce cones - 22.1” dbh 71 ft.
Slender Norway Spruce next to it 72 ft.
Blue Spruce 85 ft.
Silver Maple next to it 84 ft.
Tuliptree 18.6” dbh 56 ft. – this tree planted in 1991 to commemorate the opening of the Gardens.

Tom Howard

User avatar
Lee Frelich
Posts: 155
Joined: Mon Mar 15, 2010 3:24 pm

Re: Toronto sites

Post by Lee Frelich » Wed Oct 20, 2010 10:43 am


Several years ago I was in Toronto for a Ph.D. defense at York University, and I remember how huge the red oaks were in Queens Park. I remember wondering why they don't get that big in Minneapolis. Probably there are fewer droughts in Toronto.


Post Reply

Return to “Ontario”