Accidental Wilderness

The Origins and Ecology of Toronto's Tommy Thompson Park

Table des matières

David Miller

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

Chief R. Stacey Laforme

Comparative Parks
List of Bird Species
List of Plant Species
Further Resources
Image Key

La description

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. A stunning collection of photographs by renowned landscape photographer Robert Burley complements the work. Once referred to as Toronto’s “accidental wilderness,” Tommy Thompson Park is now recognized as a fortuitous urban miracle. The book offers a hopeful narrative about how nature can flourish in, and contribute to, the well-being of 21st-century cities.


  • Winner, 2021 Heritage Toronto Book Award 2021
  • Winner, Canadian Society of Landscape Architects 2021 Award of Excellence – Research 2021


"This beautifully produced ode celebrates a unique place on the shores of Toronto's Lake Ontario. The Spit, as it is known locally, was a dump site for the city's midcentury building boom, a landform not so much planned as accumulated. But nature arrived uninvited, spurring several decades of local advocacy, and eventually a singular urban park emerged. "

- <em>Landscape Architecture Magazine </em>

"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

"This book will leave readers with a great appreciation of what has been created in Lake Ontario at the end of Leslie Street and what impact that creation could have on the future of wilderness – accidental or otherwise – in Canada. "

- Michael Olsen

"Part field guide, part environmental history, Accidental Wilderness would make an excellent manual for ecological restoration along the entire lakeshore. "

- Amy Lavender Harris

"The book’s value is the detailed accounting of how the accidental creation of Tommy Thompson Park evolved in concert with Kehm’s park master plan. The planning and design process could be used as a framework for creating and restoring urban wildlands in Great Lakes communities and other coastal ecosystem areas. Such a framework is especially critical given how climate change is shifting weather-induced physical processes and temperature. Burley’s photography provides the reader with an intimate feel for the created park character. The book is recommended for those interested in more ecologically based planning and design processes."

- Richard Smardon, SUNY-College of Environmental Science and Forestry