Runner calls on Leaside and area residents to stop trashing the Don Valley

Lawrence Warriner has organized a community clean-up for Sunday, June 17


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Lawrence Warriner in the Don Valley

Now that the weather has improved, Torontonians are flocking to local parks and ravines. Runner Lawrence Warriner, who founded Toronto True Running, headed to the Don Valley near Leaside, and in Crothers Woods he was surrounded by fresh air, tall trees and a stinking mountain of trash.

Warriner took time to clean up as best he could, carrying out 14 bags of trash at last count, then took the next step and got vocal, urging the city and residents to stop trashing the place. He is hosting a community clean-up day this Sunday on June 17. Help him out!

Why is this issue so important to you?
I was born almost on the very edge of one of the valleys of the Don. My family has lived here for at least 130 years. I truly believe every citizen of the place they call home has the responsibility of stewardship for both this generation and the ones that follow. I am ashamed that I didn’t act sooner and better. I want to be a better part of Toronto. 

If a lot of that garbage is blown in, how can we prevent it from happening?
Very very little of the garbage is blown in. Almost all is intentionally thrown there by some residents of the many apartments along Thorncliffe Park Drive.

What has been the reaction so far since you went public with this issue?
The reaction has been amazing and I’ve received help from just about everywhere. We have companies on board, city councillors willing to meet, media doing stories, people offering to join on every level. We are closing in on 2,000 signatures on the petition. The greatest thing though has been the network that has been created of people who love Toronto enough to act for the greater good.

How do you foresee this playing out if we don't do any better at taking care of this place?
The Don Valley is a massive ecosystem that is being poisoned by this immense garbage. This large hidden part of the valley, which is filled with toxins and plastics, will destroy the parts we love best. 

What would you like to see people do?
Take ownership of the city. Tell the city that this part is important enough to warrant both care and a system of responsibility. Not just clean ups but taking care of the valley. Residents, users, companies who advertise that they are part of Toronto and Canada, and of course the city. We need voices to tell politicians that this is important. Sign the petition and get involved.

What is the area like?
There is acre after acre, small stream after small stream and hollow after hollow suffocating under layer after layer of trash. 

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