Happy Valley Forest (Photo by NCC).

Happy Valley Forest (Photo by NCC).

Nature Conservancy of Canada expands important wildlife corridor in the Happy Valley Forest

October 12, 2016
King City, ON


Protects some of last remaining forest in GTA

A popular site for hikers, nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts near Toronto is expanding. The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) has announced the purchase of two new properties in one of the GTA’s most biologically rich areas – the Happy Valley Forest.

The Happy Valley Forest is one of the largest remaining intact upland deciduous forests on Canada’s Oak Ridges Moraine. This 1,560-acre (631-hectare) area is best identified by its outstanding mature sugar maple and beech upland forest.

It protects the headwaters of streams that head north to Lake Simcoe and south to Lake Ontario. The area also holds special cultural significance, as it is connected to the Toronto Carrying Place, a historic portage and travel route.

The Glen Echo and Deep Woods properties, as they are known, add 116 acres to the existing protected space.  The sites feature ancient trees and are home to many provincially and federally identified rare species.

Participating in a media conference and property tour at Happy Valley Forest were Nature Conservancy of Canada Regional Vice President James Duncan, King-Vaughan Member of Parliament Deb Schulte, representing Environment and Climate Change Canada, along with local businesses and donors.

Buying these lands helps the Nature Conservancy of Canada expand a crucial wildlife corridor that links several Oak Ridges Moraine properties and reaches north toward Pottageville Swamp.

These Nature Conservancy of Canada projects were generously supported by funding from the Government of Canada through the Natural Areas Conservation Program; the Regional Municipality of York; the late Ian Dalton; Dennis and Denise Starritt; Vicki and Paul Hotte; John and Margaret Catto; the Honourable Donna J. Haley; Jean O’Grady; Roy Val; and others who wish to remain anonymous.

The Nature Conservancy of Canada has been working to conserve the Happy Valley Forest over the past 15 years, and has helped assemble 737 acres (302 hectares) of protected land that is open to the public for low impact activities, such as hiking.  Visitors are welcome and encouraged to visit and experience its incredible natural beauty. The Oak Ridges Moraine Trail runs through the forest. NCC’s properties also feature hiking trails, which will be connected through Glen Echo and Deep Woods properties.


“These acquisitions represent a significant step forward toward our goal of protecting the core of the Happy Valley Forest for the benefit of current and future generations,” said James Duncan, NCC’s Regional Vice President, Ontario.

“On behalf of the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, the Hon. Catherine McKenna, I am delighted to announce that the Government of Canada is investing more than $2 million to help conserve this important old-growth forest in the heart of the Oak Ridges Moraine,” said Deb Schulte, Member of Parliament for King-Vaughan. “Through the Natural Areas Conservation Program, our Government is proud to support the efforts of local donors to protect this ecologically important landscape.”


• The wetlands and upland forest are critical to the survival of nationally significant species such as Acadian flycatcher, cerulean warbler and Jefferson salamander.

• The Happy Valley Forest is an old-growth forest in the making. Nowhere else on the western Moraine or within the Greater Toronto Area is old-growth forest of this extent achievable.


The Nature Conservancy of Canada 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 2.8 million acres (over 1.1 million hectares), coast to coast with more than 184,000 acres (74,400 hectares) in Ontario.

The Government of Canada’s Natural Areas Conservation Program (NACP) is a unique public-private partnership led by the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC). To date, $345 million has been invested in the NACP by the Government of Canada to secure our natural heritage. Additionally, more than $500 million in matching contributions has been raised by NCC and its partners.

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