"I remember them as though they had happened yesterday."
So writes author-naturalist Charles Sauriol in reference to his many memorable experiences within Toronto’s Don River Valley. From Scout outings in 1920 to pioneer cottaging, train excursions, maple syrup making, beekeeping and countless other activities, the author’s long association with the Don makes for fascinating reading in this sequel to his earlier book, Remembering the Don.
Tales of the Don provides for Toronto residents and visitors alike a picture window through which they may see the valley as it was years ago. A vital part of a great city’s heritage has been preserved thanks to Charles Sauriol’s foresight, tenacity and unshakeable love of subject. Once again "The King of the Don Valley," in his quaint and refreshing way, has written a book that will delight his sizeable following and undoubtedly gain for him many new readers.
Charles Joseph Sauriol, CM (May 3, 1904 - December 16, 1995) was a Canadian naturalist who was responsible for the preservation of many natural areas in Ontario and across Canada. He owned property in the Don River valley and was an advocate for the valley's preservation. As a member of the Metropolitan Toronto and Region Conservation Authority, he was responsible for much of the Don valley's conservation. A section of the valley is a conservation reserve named in his honour and four other locations in Canada are named in his honour.
His life work as a conservationist was recognized by many. Known as Mr. Conservation he was made a Member of the Order of Canada on April 12, 1989. He received 40 other awards and citations including the Governor General's Conservation Award in 1980 and the Parks Canada Heritage Award in 1991.
Not only was Sauriol an experienced outdoorsman he also had the knack for fundraising. During his career he raised over $20 million dollars to preserve natural areas. His legacy of preserving natural areas will be enjoyed by Canadians for many generations.
In addition to the Charles Sauriol Conservation Reserve four other natural areas have been named for him: the Charles Sauriol Conservation Area on the Credit River, the John M. Cape/Charles Sauriol Biological Studies Area at the Lake Opinicon site of Queen's University, the Charles Sauriol Parkette in the former Borough of East York, and the Charles Sauriol Carolinian Forest in Norfolk County. Starting in 1995, the MTRCA and the Oak Ridges Moraine Land Trust host the Charles Sauriol Environmental Dinner, an annual fundraising event.
"As years go on and the population increases, there will be a need of these lands and more, and in life where so much appears futile, this one thing will remain. In essence, those who continue to support the work of conservation can say, I have lived here, I have done something positive to ensure that its natural beauty and natural values continue." - C.J. Sauriol
Sauriol died of natural causes in 1995 at the age of 91.