Charles Sauriol

About Charles Sauriol


Charles was born in Toronto, May 3, 1904.  His love for all things natural started in 1919 at age 15 when he would camp along the banks of the Don River with his Boy Scout troop.

In 1927 he leased a property at the forks of the Don where he kept a wild flower garden, tapped maple syrup, canned fruit and vegetables, kept a goat, pigs, as well as chickens, and of course bees. In 1947, he purchased the property outright and it became the family cottage.

Seven years after he purchased the land, Hurricane Hazel rolled through Toronto and caused significant damage to the cabin.  At this point the cabin was converted into the Don Valley Conservation Centre Clubhouse.

Many editions of "The Cardinal" were written there.  The Cardinal" was a quarterly 8-page illustrated journal, first published in March 1951.  Charles had developed it to record the history of the Don and to bring to life the streams, woodlands, birds and flowers located at the doorstep of Toronto.

The cabin was still used 7 years later until the property was expropriated to make way for the DVP.

Until this point conservation had been a hobby (albeit a completely consuming one). 

Charles who spoke fluent French, worked for nearly 30 years as an advertising manager for 2 French publishing companies.

A phone call on a December morning in 1956 from Metro Chairman Fred Gardiner brought conservation as a hobby to an end for Charles and officially launched a career in conservation.  Mr. Gardiner informed Charles that he had 5 minutes to decide whether he would accept the position of the chairman of the Conservation Areas Advisory Board of the Metropolitan Toronto and Region Conservation Authority, now known as TRCA.

Charles' new job was to assemble land for conservation areas supported by $500,000 dollars a year to accomplish the task. A massive sum of money in those days.  This led to 74 land acquisitions totaling 2,500 acres at a cost of $10.5 million.  These properties included part of Glen Major, Duffins Creek, Claremont, Albion Hills, Bruce's Mill, Cold Creek, Claremont Field Centre, Roblins Mill at Black Creek Pioneer Village, Greenwood and Lake St. George.
 
In 1971 Charles' efforts to protect nature in his own backyard went national as he joined The Nature Conservancy of Canada. In his later years Charles retuned to assisting Conservation Authorities in Ontario with raising funds and donations for conservation land. At the time of his death in his 93 year he was still assisting TRCA in raising $1 million dollars to purchase one more key property in his beloved Don River Watershed. 

Our country has also bestowed upon Charles the order of Canada for "devoting his life to the preservation and improvement of natural sites important to Canada's environmental heritage".