Toronto Community Housing and partners celebrate innovative tree planting initiative

(Nov. 4, 2019 – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE) Toronto Community Housing Corporation (TCHC), the City of Toronto, Local Enhancement and Appreciation of Forests (LEAF) and Park People marked another milestone today in their partnership to increase tree coverage on TCHC properties.

The TCHC Planting and Stewardship Initiative team gathered at 1615 Dundas St. E. to celebrate their 2019 plantings.The group aims to increase urban forest canopy cover and achieve environmental and quality of life benefits for TCHC tenants.

“This project is an excellent example of multiple partners working together to reach our goal of 40 per cent canopy cover,” said Toronto-Danforth Councillor and TCHC board member Paula Fletcher. “I’m thrilled to welcome everyone here today to celebrate this innovative project.”

This year, about 75 native trees will be planted at eight different properties in Toronto’s east end, including the Scarborough area. Planting plans are devised with the help of TCHC staff and tenants at each site. Planting locations are carefully selected and a variety of species ensure that diversity is a priority. At the 1615 Dundas St. E. site, eight different species were planted. These include American elm, basswood, bur oak, Freeman maple, Kentucky coffee tree, silver maple, sugar maple and serviceberry.

“We are thrilled to continue working with our partners and tenants to replace trees lost to pests and ice storms,” said Cutty Duncan, TCHC Manager of Capital Engagement and Conservation Program (CECP). “Increasing the canopy is an important way to offer tangible community benefits like shade and improved air quality.”

The project is also supported by the City of Toronto Forestry Department. “Our goal is not only to increase canopy cover, but also to ensure species diversity and equitable distribution across the city,” said Amory Ngan, Project Manager, Urban Forestry. “This unique partnership allows us to achieve those goals.”

The City provided the trees as well as a grant through the Toronto Parks and Trees Foundation. That funding was matched by a TD Green Space Grant from TD Bank Group (TD) and the Arbor Day Foundation. LEAF was one of 20 U.S. and Canadian organizations selected to receive a grant in order to support innovative urban greening and tree planting projects in underserved areas of the community.

“Green spaces play a critical role in creating more livable cities. Not only do they provide environmental benefits, but they also provide social services and economic benefits to cities and the people within them,” said Andrea Barrack, Global Head of Sustainability and Corporate Citizenship, TD. “That’s why we are working with the Arbor Day Foundation to support innovative community programs in cities including Toronto that are striving to create a more inclusive and sustainable tomorrow.”

“Our goal with this grant program is to help communities not only enrich their green spaces but also enrich lives,” said Dan Lambe, President, Arbor Day Foundation. “We’re supporting LEAF in an effort to build awareness about the benefits of trees, educate residents on proper tree care and lay the groundwork for a greener future.”

Tree stewardship plans will be developed and supported by LEAF and Park People, working in partnership with TCHC staff and tenants. “We appreciate the support of TCHC tenants and staff with this project,” said Erin MacDonald, Community Programs Manager at LEAF. “Diligent watering and replacing of mulch in the first few years after planting will ensure that the investments made in planting now, pay off in ecological benefits later!”

Plans are in the works for more planting in 2020!

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