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April 22, 2002
Toronto turtles get new homes
The City of Toronto and the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority held a
preview event today to celebrate Earth Day and the new wetland on Centre Island
called Turtle Pond. The 1.48 acre (0.6 hectare) wetland, located near the
Island Public and Natural Science School, is the first piece of a larger
project, the Franklin's Children Garden, inspired by the Canadian storybook
character and television star Franklin the Turtle.

Toronto City Councillors Pam McConnell and Joe Pantalone and invited guests
toured Turtle Pond, a wetland designed as a learning landscape to foster a
better understanding of wetland ecosystems. Mark Schollen, the landscape
architect who designed the wetland, shared his vision which includes habitat
for turtles and amphibians, birds, fish and plants. A separate island called
Turtle Island will allow turtles to lay their eggs in a protected environment.

Once the tour was completed, Councillors McConnell and Pantalone, Toronto Parks
and Recreation Director Don Boyle, Gord Mac Pherson from the Toronto and Region
Conservation Authority (TRCA), Ann Borgmann from the Great Lakes Sustainability
Fund, John Hay from the Ontario Great Lakes Renewal Foundation, author Joanna
Kidd, Mark Schollen (Schollen and Company Landscape Architects), and children
from the Island Public and Natural Science School helped to unveil the new
Toronto Parks and Recreation Turtle Pond sign. For the occasion, the children
were dressed like a butterfly, bee, spider and ladybug.

After the unveiling, another 79 children in grades one to three at the island
school joined the group to meet real turtles. The TRCA brought a Blanding's
Turtle (considered rare in Ontario), a Painted Turtle, and a Red-Eared Slider
(pet store turtle) to the event for show-and-tell.

Turtle Pond has been made possible through the generous contributions of the
Toronto and Region Conservation Authority, which donated $125,000, the Great
Lakes Sustainability Fund ($90,000) and the Ontario Great Lakes Renewal
Foundation ($45,000). When the wetland is complete it will include 50 new
trees, 1,300 new shrubs and 4,300 aquatic and herbaceous plants -- all native
to the area.

Joanna Kidd's latest publication, Nature on the Toronto Islands: An Explorer's
Guide, was also released at the Turtle Pond preview event.

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