Shreya Jagasia, 8, holds a life-sized replica of an Atlantic salmon at the Adventures in Salmon event in Morningside Park.
By Kathy McGrath
Every fall, Centennial residents have the opportunity to see salmon migrating in local rivers and streams. Watching an enormous salmon hurl itself through the air to spawn upstream is certainly a great experience.
On October 2, the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA) resumed its annual salmon festival, now called Adventures of Salmon, at Morningside Park. The event encourages people to learn about salmon and their habitat and directs them to the creek where they might spot them.
Rena Jagasia came all the way from Thornhill with her husband and children to try to get a glimpse of the large fish. “We saw them last year and it was amazing,” said Rena. “You can read about it in books, but to actually see the salmon get up the stream is incredible.”
The festival is one of a series of events run by the TRCA in several locations across the city. TRCA partnered with organizations like the Toronto Zoo, the Ontario Federation of Hunters and Anglers and the Royal Ontario Museum (fishes division) to set up information tents about salmon and conservation.
While salmon were commonly found in Lake Ontario and its rivers more than a century ago, European migration created deforestation, pollution and construction barriers that harmed fish. By 1898, salmon were locally extinct from Lake Ontario. Over time, Chinook and Coho salmon were introduced to Lake Ontario and, in 2006, water quality and habitat improvement allowed for restoration of Atlantic Salmon.
One of the most popular activities offered by TRCA is guided salmon hikes. The public can sign up online for the walks, which quickly sold out this year. Colin Love, Supervisor of Community Learning for TRCA, said spawning season is typically September and October, but it’s difficult to predict exactly when the salmon will appear due to variations in “all sorts of natural cycles and rhythms.”
“I really recommend people go to our website at trca.ca and check out the interactive story map,” said Colin. “It’s like one-stop shopping to learn about salmon and to find locations where people can see them in person.” The map allows users to report salmon sightings, which helps the TRCA track and monitor the fish.