Humber Bay Butterfly Habitat, Humber Bay Park
A playground for butterflies at the waterfront
Humber Bay Shores Park is part of a string of parks along the Etobicoke Lakeshore district that are connected by the Martin Goodman Trail. The Butterfly Habitat is part of Humber Bay Park East and is made up of a diverse array of native plants, shrubs and trees. It is located immediately south of the Waterfront Trail.
The restored outdoor area has been designed to attract butterflies by offering nectar plants, host plants, boulders for sunning, wind shelters, water access, hibernacula (places for hibernating) and other things butterflies need to survive through every stage of life.
The goal of the Habitat is to establish a self-sustaining native plant community that supports a variety of butterfly species, while engaging and educating park users about the value of urban wildlife habitat.
The short prairie grasses provide a variety of host and nectar plants for caterpillars and butterflies. Trees and shrubs have been planted on the berm opposite the prairie. They offer perching areas, shelter and further food sources.
The Wildflower Meadow represents the largest component with four vegetation areas: tall grass prairie, short grass prairie, wet meadow and upland meadow. Each area provides a distinct mix of native wildflowers, grasses and sedges as well as unique physical features that shield the butterflies from the wind.
Expect to see lots of Monarch Butterflies as well as its smaller cousin the Viceroy. Others to look for include the Red Admiral, Mourning Cloak, Eastern Tiger Swallowtail, American Painted Lady, Sulphur Yellow and the Silvery Blue. The Habitat provides signs so you can learn more about what you see and their habitat.
The Habitat includes a Home Garden component where the general public can see what plants and features might work in their own backyard, especially to attract butterflies.
The Humber Bay Butterfly Habitat Stewards actively help maintain the Habitat and are always looking for volunteers.
The first three weeks in September (late summer to early fall) is a good time to visit the garden to see a large group of Monarch butterflies.