Human Impact on the Earth: Toronto's Leslie Street Spit

In the middle of last century, Toronto began building a breakwater for its Outer Harbour on the northern shore of Lake Ontario. Soon after, developers began using the structure, named the Leslie Street Spit, as a dumping ground for sand, rubble, and earth dredged from hundreds of building projects in the city, expanding what was once just a thin strip of land in the city’s busy harbor. According to Reuters, this created “an unexpected urban oasis, bringing marshes, lagoons and forests to the center of Canada’s largest city.” Tommy Thompson Park was established on the spit, populated by various wildlife. As Reuters adds, “the passion of the cyclists, birders, hikers and naturalists who flock to the artificial peninsula every weekend has preserved the unlikely park in its unnatural state.” Ahead of the United Nations Climate Conference in Paris this December, Reuters will be releasing a series of stories, called “Earthprints,” focusing on the ability of humans to impact the landscape of the planet.

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