How to protect Butterflies and other Pollinators!

Butterflies are one of the most common and popular visible insects at Toronto and Region Conservation Authority’s (TRCA) Tommy Thompson Park (TTP), a picturesque urban wilderness spanning over 500 hectares along the shores of Lake Ontario. TTP is one of the largest existing natural habitats on the Toronto waterfront, serving as an important roosting site for pollinators with over 55 butterfly and moth species recorded to date!

the TRCA Butterfly Festival at Tommy Thompson Park will highlight and annual migration of the Monarch

So, how can you contribute to the health and conservation of these delicate creatures? Pollinator gardens! These gardens provide a helpful sanctuary for butterflies offering food sources and habitat and can be created in almost any outdoor setting from backyard to balcony.

Here are some tips for designing your butterfly-boosting garden:

  1. Choose native plant species that are well-adapted to the local climate and provide nectar, pollen, and refuge sources for butterflies and other pollinators year-round. Butterflies seek out two distinct types of plants: nectar-producing plants for adult butterflies to feed on, and caterpillar food/host plants to lay their eggs on. Click here to learn about the best plants you can choose to support these little creatures!
  2. Select plants with diverse blooming seasons throughout the year to ensure a continuous food source for butterflies.
  3. Create shallow water features such as birdbaths or small ponds to provide butterflies with water sources for drinking and puddling.
  4. Minimize or eliminate the use of pesticides, as they can be harmful to butterflies and other beneficial insects.
  5. Incorporate elements like rocks, fallen logs, and tall grasses to provide resting spots and sheltered areas for butterflies.

By planting pollinator-friendly gardens and adopting practices that support these delicate creatures, we can all play a vital role in safeguarding their future and ensuring the health and balance of our ecosystems.

Monarch Butterfly
Monarch Butterfly

Another great way to protect GTA pollinators is to support TRCA through the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority Foundation, to help ensure that we protect and maintain vital pollinating spaces like TTP and The Meadoway! Click here to donate.

If you’re interested in learning more about the incredible species of butterflies, join us at the TRCA Butterfly Festival on Saturday, August 19 at Tommy Thompson Park. This free festival is a unique opportunity to witness and celebrate the flight of the Monarch butterfly, a special event for this iconic insect as it embarks on an epic journey to Mexico for the winter.

Monarch Butterfly
Monarch caterpillar
Monarch Butterfly

This incredible 4,000 km migration takes place between August and November and begins with the gathering of Monarch butterflies at places like TTP. TRCA will celebrate this remarkable phenomenon by welcoming children, families, and the community to the park to learn more about butterfly and pollinator conservation through fun activities, nature hikes and educational displays. Click here to learn more and register for guided walks during the festival!