Toronto

Go, fish! Cheer on the migrating salmon in Toronto this weekend

As many indoor activities get shut down due to an increase in new COVID-19 cases, GTA residents looking for safe outdoor fun can take advantage of the impressive salmon migration now taking place.

Watching the Toronto salmon run is a great outdoor activity during the pandemic

Children cheer on salmon trying to jump over a dam at Toronto's Etienne Brule Park. (Evan Mitsui/CBC)

As many indoor activities get shut down due to an increase in new COVID-19 cases, GTA residents looking for safe outdoor fun can take advantage of the impressive salmon migration now taking place.

Every autumn, GTA rivers and streams swell with hundreds of thousands of salmon heading upstream to spawn. In shallow water, the backs of the big fish are visible from shore.

At dams and other obstacles, salmon will jump as high as three metres, even though the big ones can weigh as much as 13 kilograms.

On a nice day at some locations, people gathering to watch the salmon swim upstream will cheer them on, Rick Portiss, a senior manager with the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority, told CBC Radio's Here and Now.

"They'll cheer as fish jump over the obstacle, or they'll boo when the fish doesn't make it," he said.

"It's actually quite fun."

A salmon leaps out of the Humber River while migrating on Oct. 14, 2020. (Evan Mitsui/CBC)

A beautiful natural phenomenon anywhere, people in Toronto and surrounding areas have the unique advantage of being so close to waterways where salmon runs occur.

Many of the rivers and streams where salmon can be spotted are surrounded by municipal parks and are also accessible by public transit.

A photographer was among the crowd of people gathered at Toronto’s Etienne Brule Park for a seasonal run of salmon in the Humber River. (Evan Mitsui/CBC)

According to the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority, some of the best spots for salmon-run viewing include:

  • Étienne Brûlé Park, Humber River, 13 Crosby Avenue, Toronto.
  • Charles Sauriol Conservation Area, Don River, 701 Don Mills Road, Toronto.
  • Morningside Park, Highland Creek, 390 Morningside Avenue, Toronto.
  • Glen Rouge Campground, Rouge River, 7450 Kingston Road, Toronto.
  • Whitevale Park, Duffins Creek, 371 Whitevale Road, Pickering.
  • Bowmanville Creek Fish Ladder, Bowmanville Creek, 35 Roenigk Drive, Bowmanville.
  • Erindale Park, Credit River, 1695 Dundas Street West, Mississauga.
Spectators and anglers converge in Toronto’s Etienne Brule Park for a seasonal run of salmon in the Humber River on Oct. 14, 2020. (Evan Mitsui/CBC)

Portiss said that this week is within the peak migration period. In some waterways, fish ladders have been installed to help the salmon get past large barriers.

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