End of Year News

Happy Holidays to everyone, and thank you so much for your support of Don’t Mess with the Don. In this post you’ll find a summary of what we have done this year, and our plans for 2020 to keep the Don Valley clean.

Our accomplishments in 2019

This year, we conducted 7 big clean ups, and with the help of around 1500 volunteers we took out more than 20TON of garbage out of the Don Valley ravines. Our biggest event in April saw 800 people spread out over 12 ravines in E.T. Seton park to clean up 17 acres of landfill. The results are astonishing. We could not have done this without your support, our sponsors and the press coverage we received from CTV, CBC, CP24, Global, Newstalk 1010 and the Guardian.

This is what can be done when people work together:
Before and After Sept 28

Action to prevent garbage return

One of the important things we have been working on is implementing measures to prevent the garbage from returning to the ravines. We have worked actively with the building managers and residents edging the valley to come up with solutions that help prevent further littering of the ground that has been cleaned.

During our October clean up, we reinforced the fencing around the top of a ravine that sees the most garbage return. We plugged holes, installed mesh fencing and created a natural barrier to keep windblown garbage out of the ravines. We are already seeing less garbage return in the ravines behind the fence, a sign that these measures are helping.

Another major issue we are tackling is the garbage spill from dumpsters and during garbage pick up. Often garbage has to be discarded twice or three times as it doesn’t end up in the right bin the first time. Don’t Mess with the Don has been working with Ryerson University’s students to create a design solution to ensure correct disposal of garbage and recycling, and prevent dumpster spill especially around the apartment buildings in Thorncliffe Park. The students created a report with observations and recommendations which we will share and act upon in 2020.
field trip

Field Trips & Educational Outreach

This year we have started to do more educational outreach by taking groups of all ages through the Don Valley. We had a lot of fun taking grade 6, 7 and 8 science students from Cosburn Middle School and Withrow Avenue Junior Public School into the Don Valley to explore the nature, history and impact of human activity in the Don.

Presentations were given at Bishop Strachan School and Wilkinson’s Public School where we discussed strategies on how to reduce litter in the schoolyard.

We have partnered with Evergreen, Todmorden Mills, Jane’s Walk and Lost Rivers on art tours, historical site visits, and salmon spotting walks in the Lower Don Valley. Interested in booking a tour? Contact us: info@dontmesswiththedon.ca


Looking forward to 2020

So what’s in store for 2020? Apart from conducting monthly cleanups, we plan many educational and stewardship events including walks, presentations at schools and events like Ravine Days.
We will continue to build and foster close relationships with other valley stakeholders, clean up groups, environmental organizations, local and federal politicians and community groups.

One of the big plans for 2020 is that we are hoping to organize a trail race through the Don Valley. We are currently looking for sponsors to help us with this. The proceeds of the trail race would go to efforts to clean up and restore the Don Valley.

Thank You

We would like to thank the following people who have one way or another, made our work possible:


We have achieved some amazing results, which we couldn’t have done without all of your support. We look forward to working hard in 2020 to make the Don Valley the greatest, cleanest green space in Toronto. We wish you all happy holidays and a fantastic 2020!

The Don’t Mess with the Don team


  1. Peter Leiss

    Keep up the good work. The Don is a “natural” (mostly) resource that the City needs.

  2. Najeeb Siddiqui


    What an amazing work being done by the volunteers of Don Mess with the Don!

    I live in the Flamingdon park area and would love to volunteer my time with the group. I am plant/gardening enthusiast and have been involved with Green initiatives at work and would love to participate locally in my neighbourhood to help out. Please let me know how I can join as a volunteer.

    Najeeb Siddiqui

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