To see an environmental triumph already in progress, head for the Leslie Street Spit. This five-kilometre (three-mile) urban wilderness is one of North America's most successful reclamation projects. Begun in the 1950s as a man-made breakwater to protect Toronto's outer harbour, the project was abandoned as the shipping business declined. But in the 1960s and '70s, as the city mushroomed, the spit was used as a dumping ground for building debris. The peninsula grew, and when the city transformed it into a wilderness preserve, nature took over. On weekends and holidays, the place draws walkers, birders, bladers and cyclists, who commune with an incredible variety of flora and fauna - some 400 varieties of plant and 300 bird species. Beavers, otters, red foxes and coyotes have also been sighted here. In 1974 a lighthouse was established to mark its terminus. Today the 'Spit' is known as Tommy Thompson Park, after a former parks commissioner.
Cars aren't allowed on to the Spit, but parking is available at the gate. A shuttle
van operates from early May to mid October, taking people to a footbridge located about halfway to the lighthouse. Otherwise, the walk from the park entrance to the lighthouse is five kilometres (two miles), but on a beautiful day it feels short. A map and brochure are available at the park entrance.