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Cliffcrest Butterflyway

Our pollinator population is in big trouble - because of their population decline, so are our birds. 

We're here to help increase the numbers and biodiversity of bee, bird, and butterfly populations through gardening. 

With restorative garden practices and the focus on native powerhouse plants, gardeners can create food and an environment that supports the various life stages of our insects and birds. Combined, gardeners have an enormous, untapped impact on restoring large-scale biodiversity and on reducing our carbon footprint.


Cliffcrest is located in one of the most important migratory routes.
Birds visit the Bluffs in Toronto on their way north to the boreal forest and on their way south to South America. Monarch butterflies congregate at our shore and fuel up to cross Lake Ontario in order to continue their journey to Mexico. 
As development in our area increases, the natural habitat for pollinators and consequently birds is lost. By growing native plants it is astonishingly easy to create an oasis in which bees, butterflies, and birds can thrive. We can also enjoy the beauty that native flowers, shrubs, and trees bring to our landscape. We aim to create many habitat oases and connect them to corridors for wildlife. This will allow the wildlife to find food and shelter and move through safely.
Through our stewardship, we want to inspire Youth and show that everybody plays an important role in improving the future of our neighbourhood and our planet.

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One nature.

We are nature.

All people, and all species.

We are interconnected with nature, and with each other. What we do to the planet and its living creatures, we do to ourselves.

                                                                Quote  DAVID SUZUKI FOUNDATION

Let's Bee an Oasis, Cliffcrest!

My Story


I was amazed by how little help nature needed to bounce back from sterile turf to a lively community of countless bees of all sizes, butterflies of all colours, and birds singing different songs. It all began by adding some native plants to an all-lawn garden. Within the first summer, the tiny plants flourished into breathtaking beauty. 

It was thrilling how much beauty and joy came with native plants and the wildlife they attract.

Governments and scientists warn that pollinators are declining at an unsustainable rate. "Insect populations have declined worldwide by 45 percent in the last 40 years," urges Jode Roberts, a Senior Strategist at the David Suzuki Foundation. Without pollinators, humans could barely survive for 4 years.

Functioning ecosystems get increasingly converted into cities. We create lawns that consume more fertilizer, herbicides, and insecticides than our agricultural industries. Today cities and monocultural agriculture take up so much space that it just makes sense to put as much nature as we possibly can back into our gardens, schools and public places.

Realizing this, I became passionate about reaching out and sharing my experience. In early 2020 a couple of neighbours started the 

Cliffcrest Butterflyway.

This wonderful article puts science behind my experience and summarizes why and how we can make a difference.

How You Can Help:

Plant a Pollinator

Interested in adding more pollinator-friendly shrubs, trees, and flowers?

Do you have a sunny spot that can grow some native perennial flowers? Maybe you are thinking of converting some lawns or adding some native flowers to the existing mix. Native plants fit in with any style of garden.


Maybe you want to change your shaded woodland edges into a native wildflower paradise. 


Grow Native Plants

Native plants have co-evolved with the beneficial insects and the birds

of our area to sustain our ecosystem.

Native plants are the one essential prerequisite to animal diversity by enabling a complex food web.

  • They will bloom at exactly the right time to feed them with their nectar and pollen. They are shaped to take advantage of native insects' physiology. 

  • They feed local and migrating birds with seeds, berries and insect biomass that the birds recognize as their food. 


Native plants can create ecosystems that don't rely on a gardener to keep them in balance.

  • They are adapted to our local climate, therefore require less care and water.

  • They are best equipped to evolve with climate change.

  • They are adapted to our soils, therefore don't need fertilizer.

  • They have deep root systems that sequester substantial amounts of carbon and foster healthy soil by feeding native microorganisms.

  • They are adapted to our native insect communities and support predatory insects. Therefore, they don't need pesticides and help keep pests in vegetable gardens in check.

Add a Garden Sign

Raise awareness about the importance of native plants with this beautiful double-sided garden sign in your front yard. It is designed by our volunteer Janine Penev. Signs are available for $12.- for pick up in the Bluffs or can be shipped.


Did you know?

Insects are the most efficient life form to transform solar energy, that is captured in plant material, into protein. They build the base in all terrestrial food chains and are key to feeding any higher form of life, including us.

bee pollen hyssop.jpeg

About Bees:

There are over 360 species of wild native bees in Toronto.

Wild bees don't produce honey and don't live in hives.

They are solitary and harmless.

  • The honey bee is an introduced species from Europe and is managed as a livestock.

  • Wild bees are the most efficient pollinators. Different species still fly when it is windy or cold or rainy.

  • 30% of Toronto's bees, and some butterflies, hibernate and lay eggs in hollow sticks and deadwood. They only emerge at the end of May. Please, keep your garden waste till then.

  • The hollow canes of raspberry shrubs are most beneficial for those cavity-nesting bees. Grow native raspberries, enjoy their fruit, and leave the dead canes till the end of May. If you really want to cut back, leave at least 20 cm.

  • 70% of native bees are ground-nesting and need sunny, bare patches of soil as habitat to hibernate and breed. Keep some areas un-mulched, best in sunny spots, the more the better. Covering lightly with leaves is the second-best option.

  • Bumblebees emerge very early in spring and males can still be seen until late in fall.

  • Other species of wild bees have a very short window in which they emerge and collect nectar & pollen to deposit with their eggs. They rely on native, co-evolved plants that bloom at exactly that time they emerge. The different kinds of bees also depend on the specific physiology of the native plants with which they have co-evolved.