Posted 05 Aug, 2018
THE PRESERVATION AND ENHANCEMENT OF DAVID DUNLAP OBSERVATORY PARK
In an effort to protect the area surrounding the David Dunlap Observatory the town of Richmond Hill has made official plans to conserve and increase the number of trees and amount of vegetation in the area. Back in the day when the observatory saw frequent use, the nearby park received little attention. The building’s significance was primarily rooted in its contribution to astronomy. While several notable advancements and discoveries were made as a result of the building’s impressive telescope (which remains the largest in Canada to this day), it has now been declared a National Heritage Site.
As for the park itself, it’s receiving some much-needed love and care. A comprehensive plan has been laid out detailing the step-by-step process that will both retain the existing natural foliage of the park and eliminate any invasive species. That’s the short-term plan, anyway. The long-term plan will have appropriately sourced trees and shrubbery of the same species replanted and properly maintained. Boundaries will be cordoned off to allow this new growth to flourish, and keep the existing plants safe from harm.
In total, there will be upwards of one thousand new trees planted in the DDO area over the next few years. A dedicated, positive step taken towards revitalization. Not only will this project give the park more greenery, but it will also provide hundreds of new habitats for local fauna.
In addition to planting new leaf-bearing trees, the town of Richmond Hill is also committed to saving the apple trees that currently take up residence there. Once saved they will begin work on creating a new apple orchard. The remaining trees will receive the care they need to continue bearing fruit, and from their seeds, the Parks Department will cultivate new trees to increase the orchard’s size.
Once upon a time, the land near the DDO was all farmland. With this new effort to infuse the area with more life, it will mark a return (in part) to how the area looked during the early days of the Toronto area (or York, as it was first called). We’re very happy to see that Observatory Hill is preserving and enhancing this natural area.