Invite moose to bathe in the Don

Rating: NNNNNWe haven't seen a real moose in this city since 1981, mayor Mel's fibreglass facsimiles notwithstanding. Back then, a.

Rating: NNNNN

We haven’t seen a real moose in this city since 1981, mayor Mel’s fibreglass facsimiles notwithstanding. Back then, a lost antlered soul wandered into the Rouge and met its end via the well-aimed rifle of an animal control officer.

But what would it say about ecological restoration if moose could once again swim in the Don River, as they did for the thousands of years before we plunked a highway in the valley?

All we would need to lure them back would be continuous forested corridors so they could roam from their current exile in Algonquin Park all the way to our green spaces.

That would mean the protection and reforestation of the whole Oak Ridges Moraine and the re-wilding of the entire 60-square-mile federal-provincial land assembly between the Rouge Park and the cancelled Pickering airport.

Of course, these wildlands would also need to be cleared of golf courses and the Don Valley Expressway.

The resurrection of raw forest in the city would involve major planning, even mega-project planning — not a popular word in this Jane Jacobs era.

But sometimes, to win big you have to think big and not terribly local. Richard Fung’s waterfront report attempts this kind of large-scale re-visioning, and many are critical of him for it — see the musings of John Barber, John Sewell and Jacobs herself.

But perhaps Fung’s scheme is not mega enough. He never did mention the return of the moose to our city waters.

Mel Lastman hopes his art-adorned creatures will be good for the local economy. We ecologists hope for the return of the noble giants that will signal the cleansing of our city’s pollution and car-addicted pursuits.

What’s good for the moose is good for… well, just about all of us.

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