Love Mountain Nature Reserve, Happy Valley Forest, ON (Photo by NCC)
Love Mountain Nature Reserve, Happy Valley Forest, ON (Photo by NCC)

Love Story: Protected habitat in the Happy Valley Forest grows

May 15, 2013
King, ON


Nature Conservancy of Canada and partners announce new conservation lands


The Nature Conservancy of Canada’s today announced the conservation of Love Mountain in the Happy Valley Forest Natural Area. Thanks to a donation of land and funding from the Government of Canada, York Region and generous private donors, the network of connected conservation lands in the Happy Valley Forest has grown by 90 acres (36 hectares).

Named for the “high mountains” described by early settlers and travellers of the Toronto Carrying-Place Trail, which passed very near this area, Love Mountain is a tribute to both a cultural and a family history. The older-growth forest and wetland habitats of the property provide a haven for species at risk and other rare wildlife including Acadian flycatcher, Jefferson salamander, southern flying squirrel and snapping turtles.

Part of an important headwater region, conservation projects in the Happy Valley Forest Natural Area – including Love Mountain – contribute to the protection of important water resources, and help to provide safe drinking water for residents as far away as Toronto. Trails within the Happy Valley Forest are open to visitors year round for walking and wildlife viewing.

NCC would like to thank David and Ann Love and family for their generous donation of land, a tribute to their family’s history in the Happy Valley. Additional funding for this project was generously provided by:

  • Government of Canada through the Natural Areas Conservation Program;
  • York Region;
  • Estate of Robert Townshend;
  • Donna J. Haley; and
  • Leonard and Gabryela Osin Foundation.


"We are grateful for the amazing and continued support we receive for our work in the Happy Valley Forest, whether it be donations or friendship – they all result from a shared love for this special place," said Mark Stabb, NCC Ontario program manager. "The Love family is leaving a wonderful natural legacy that also honours their family legacy, and we are so pleased they chose NCC to receive this gift, and trust us to guard it."

"We hope that our donation of the land that we love so much inspires those fortunate enough to consider doing the same in the Happy Valley Forest and beyond," said David and Ann Love.

"This landmark project marks another achievement under our government's Natural Areas Conservation Program," said Member of Parliament Paul Calandra. "With this investment, we are taking action to protect and conserve our country’s ecosystems for present and future generations."

"York Regional Council is actively engaged in the protection of our natural features though the Regional Greenlands Securement Strategy and partnerships with organizations such as the Nature Conservancy of Canada," said York Region Chairman and CEO Bill Fisch. "The combined efforts of all parties to conserve Love Mountain in the Happy Valley protects this land for current and future generations."


  • Ninety acres is the equivalent of approximately 45 Canadian football fields, or about 40 city blocks.
  • Love Mountain’s kettle ponds, a prominent feature of the Oak Ridges Moraine, were formed during the end of the last ice age and are important habitat for many wetland animals.
  • David Love’s grandparents, Ellsworth Flavelle, an accomplished photographer, and his wife Muriel, founder of Kingcrafts Studios, first purchased land in the Happy Valley Forest in 1930.
  • European settlers called the property “Sunny California” because, with a south facing slope, the lot was always several degrees warmer than anywhere else in King Township.
  • The Happy Valley Forest is one of the largest remaining intact upland deciduous forests on the Oak Ridges Moraine.
  • The Happy Valley Forest is a special area that features all the elements necessary to achieve old-growth structure in the next 50 years.
  • Happy Valley Forest area supports more than 110 breeding bird species.
  • The Toronto Carrying-Place Trail was an important Lake Huron to Lake Ontario portage route used by First Nations and European explorers as far back as the 17th century.
  • The Oak Ridges Moraine Trail, open to the public year-round, allows visitors to experience the Happy Valley Forest without disturbing its sensitive habitats.
  • NCC manages 521 acres (210 hectares) of conservation land within the Happy Valley Forest Natural Area. NCC and partners together have protected 630 acres (255 hectares).

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The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) is the nation’s leading land conservation organization, working to protect our most important natural areas and the species they sustain. Since 1962 NCC and its partners have helped to protect more than 2.6 million acres (more than 1 million hectares), coast to coast.

The Government of Canada’s Natural Areas Conservation Program is a $225 million investment to assist non-profit, non-government organizations to secure ecologically sensitive lands to ensure the conservation of our diverse ecosystems, wildlife, and habitat. The Nature Conservancy of Canada has been entrusted to lead the program and has committed to raising matching funds for each federal dollar received.

The Regional Municipality of York, through the York Region Greening and Securement Strategies, has partnered with conservation organizations and invested more than $11 million to protect 1,017 hectares of natural environment lands in York Region since 2001. Nearly 500 hectares of conservation land protection has been achieved through a highly successful and long-term partnership with the Nature Conservancy of Canada.

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Thank you for your interest in land conservation. Together we will achieve tangible results.

© 2013 Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) | ™ Trademarks owned by The Nature Conservancy of Canada.