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Wings of the Lakeshore


Curated by Ala Asadchaya 
Featuring photography by Bob and Sandra C.  Hawkins 
Click on any photo below to see the full gallery 

The Lakeshore grounds, particularly the area that is known as Colonel Samuel Smith Park, is a biodiverse ecosystem with a significant number of animal and plant species. Some of them, for instance, include the Canadian beaver (Castor canadensis), Red-necked grebe (Podiceps grisegena), and the Silver Maple tree (Acer saccharinum). Recently, the park has been officially designated as Environmentally Significant Area.
The park itself began its development in the 1970s and officially opened in 1996. The City of Toronto’s waterfront infill project, along with the mature trees and landscaped grounds of the former Lakeshore Psychiatric Hospital make the park what it is today. The South Etobicoke area, which is originally the land  of  First Nations’ people, offered early settlement for many European military personnel and local farmers. This farming, along with industrialization and urbanization in the 20th century, contributed to deforestation of the landscape, extinction of the Passenger Pigeon (Ectopistes migratorius), and loss of some of local creeks, which were buried completely or altered ( Today, the park is thriving with wild and plant life. Local Aboriginal groups, Friends of Sam Smith Park (, Citizens Concerned about the Future of the Etobicoke Waterfront (, and Humber’s Centre for Urban Ecology ( work to actively preserve and activate Colonel Samuel Smith Park.
Colonel Samuel Smith Park is famous as one of the most diverse locations for birdwatching in Toronto; more than 200 bird species have been spotted in this area which inspires artists and photographers to observe these colourful feathered creatures. Artists, hikers, and visitors are attracted to the close and accessible location of the park, striking colours of birds and fantastic views of Toronto from the shoreline. Many local enthusiasts organize free walks and talks for watching and appreciating the variety of birds.
These photos represent a gem of green life in the City of Toronto. Next time you take a walk in Colonel Samuel Smith Park, notice the simple natural sounds of birds singing and the reflection of the sun on Lake Ontario. Be sure to visit the park when the trees are covered in snow in the winter, or glistening with dew drops in the spring. Despite the comfort with the benefits of urban life, Torontonians are still drawn to green spaces that have great impact on people’s health. Colonel Samuel Smith Park is South Etobicoke’s space to restore our relationship to the natural world.

This online gallery features captivating images taken by Bob and Sandra Hawkins. Their attention to detail, composition, and movement celebrates the rich diversity of native and migrating birds that were seen and recorded in Colonel Samuel Smith Park.
From Sandra and Bob Hawkins
"One of our greatest joys is to visit wild places where we may be surrounded by the beauty and serenity of nature. After many years of back road travelling and camping from coast to coast in Canada, we came to the realization that the wild country was slipping away and falling victim to overuse and pollution.  We hope our photographs will help to emphasize some of what may be lost if natural habitat is not respected and preserved. We do not employ practices such as baiting owls, luring wildlife with recordings, or intruding into their personal zone of comfort and safety.  Instead, we use patience and a certain amount of serendipity to accomplish our goals." You can reach Sandra and Bob at

This work is protected under Canadian and international copyright law and may not be downloaded, reproduced, distributed or otherwise used except for personal, non-commercial purposes, without the express written consent of Bob Hawkins and/or Sandra C. Hawkins.


Bob Hawkins and Sandra C. Hawkins possess the exclusive right to produce, reproduce, publish, perform, exhibit, transmit or retransmit the work by telecommunication, create derivative works, sell, rent, offer for sale or rent, exhibit by way of trade, or distribute the work in whole or in part. It is unlawful to exercise any of the above rights or to alter or modify the Work without the prior written consent of the Artist.

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