Leaf celebrates innovative tree planting program with Toronto Community Housing and partners
Toronto Community Housing and community partners gathered together to celebrate another milestone in the tree-planting program.
On Thursday, November 2, tenants and staff from Toronto Community Housing (TCHC) along with staff members from the City of Toronto's Urban Forestry Branch, TD Bank Group and Local Enhancement and Appreciation of Forests (LEAF) came together to celebrate another milestone in a joint partnership to increase tree coverage on TCHC properties.
The recognition event took place at 140 Adanac Drive in Scarborough, where 12 trees were planted in 2021. Since that time, these trees have been cared for by tenants as part of the TCHC Planting and Stewardship Program. This tenant-driven community greening program engages a wide range of residents in the planning and implementation of plantings. It also connects them with the necessary tools to green their communities.
Since the inception of the program, a total of 384 trees have been planted across 32 TCHC communities. This fall, an additional 57 trees will be planted at eight sites, further contributing to the greening of TCHC properties. The program has also distributed 1,240 shrubs to TCHC tenants, with 308 given out earlier this year. These efforts are not only transforming TCHC properties into lush, green spaces, they are also helping to foster a stronger sense of community stewardship among residents.
“The tree planting program is one of the many ways our tenants, staff and community partners work together to enrich the neighbourhoods around them,” said Tom Hunter, Interim President and Chief Executive Officer at TCHC. “Trees are more than just an environmental benefit, they bring life to a community, allowing tenants to enjoy a wide range of social and well-being activities. This includes shade in the summer for family gatherings and a chance to see the leaves turn colour in the fall. The tree planting program is also a tangible way TCHC can help deliver on its vision to create vibrant communities where tenants are proud to live and work. For that, we are grateful to our partners at LEAF, the City of Toronto and TD Bank.”
Along with providing large caliper trees and in-kind planting services, the Planting and Stewardship Program is supported by a City of Toronto Urban Forestry Community Planting and Stewardship Grant.
“The City of Toronto has been a proud supporter of this collaborative partnership with LEAF and Toronto Community Housing for over five years," said Jennifer Gibb, Supervisor of Strategic Tree Planting Projects at the City of Toronto. “Community-led planting and stewardship programs are effective ways to engage residents in greening their community while also contributing to the City's 40 per cent tree canopy cover target. We wish to applaud all involved for their continuing efforts!”
Funding for the program is also provided by a TD Green Space Grant from TD Bank Group and administered by the Arbor Day Foundation. LEAF was one of 22 U.S. and Canadian organizations selected to receive a grant in order to support innovative urban greening and tree planting projects in underserved communities. TD Green Space Grants are made possible through the TD Ready Commitment, the Bank's corporate citizenship platform, aimed at helping open doors to a more inclusive and sustainable tomorrow.
“Green spaces play a critical role in helping to create more vibrant, livable cities, which can positively impact the health of community members. Focusing on and investing in projects that lead to more equitable access to trees is crucial,” said Janice Farrell Jones, Senior Vice President, Sustainability and Corporate Citizenship at TD Bank Group. “We are proud to continue our support for the Arbor Day Foundation through the TD Ready Commitment to promote innovative community projects that can lead to more equitable access to green spaces, including the work being done by LEAF.”
"As we continue to experience these increasingly frequent and prolonged periods of extreme heat, planting trees to provide shade and cooling has become a necessity for our most vulnerable communities,” said Dan Lambe, Chief Executive at the Arbor Day Foundation. “We are excited to help support LEAF in their efforts to equip their neighbourhoods with the right trees to lead to a more sustainable future.”
Tree planting and stewardship plans are developed and supported by LEAF in partnership with TCHC staff and tenants. “We appreciate the invaluable support of TCHC tenants and staff involved with this project,” said Brian Millward, Community Programs Manager at LEAF. “Regularly watering trees and diligently replacing mulch plays a pivotal role in nurturing our newly planted trees, ensuring that investments in planting now will provide long-term ecological benefits and enhance community well-being.”
TCHC, the City of Toronto’s Urban Forestry Branch, TD Bank Group, the Arbor Day Foundation and LEAF remain committed to continuing the program, acknowledging the vital role that trees and greenery play in urban landscapes. The joint commitment to promoting cleaner air, enhancing biodiversity and providing residents with valuable green spaces to enjoy exemplifies the power of collaboration in building sustainable urban environments and enhancing the quality of life for all residents.
For more information on the TCHC Planting and Stewardship Program, please visit yourleaf.org/tch-planting-and-stewardship-program.
Photo highlights from the event
About Toronto Community Housing
Toronto Community Housing (www.torontohousing.ca) is Canada's largest social housing provider, with 20 years of service to the community. Named a 2023 Greater Toronto Top Employer, TCHC provides supportive housing to nearly 43,000 low- and moderate-income households in neighbourhoods across the city.
About the Arbor Day Foundation
Founded in 1972, the Arbor Day Foundation is the largest nonprofit membership organization dedicated to planting trees. Together with our partners, we have helped plant more than 500 million trees in neighborhoods, communities, cities and forests throughout the world. Our vision is to lead toward a world where trees are used to solve issues critical to survival. Through our members, partners and programs, the Arbor Day Foundation inspires people across the globe to plant, nurture and celebrate trees. More information is available at arborday.org.
About TD Global Corporate Citizenship
TD has a long-standing commitment to enriching the lives of its customers, colleagues and communities. As part of its corporate citizenship platform, the TD Ready Commitment, TD is targeting CDN $1 billion (US $750 million*) in total by 2030 towards community giving in four areas critical to opening doors for a more inclusive and sustainable tomorrow – Financial Security, Vibrant Planet, Connected Communities and Better Health. Through the TD Ready Commitment, the bank aspires to link its business, philanthropy and human capital to help people feel more confident - not just about their finances, but also in their ability to achieve their personal goals in a changing world. For further information, visit td.com/tdreadycommitment.
About the City of Toronto’s Urban Forestry Branch
The City of Toronto's Urban Forestry Branch is home to one of the largest urban forestry programs in Canada. It is responsible for the management, growth and stewardship of Toronto's urban forest through maintenance, planting, protection and planning. Toronto's urban forest comprises more than 11.5 million trees and is valued at $7.04 billion.
LEAF (Local Enhancement and Appreciation of Forests) is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the protection and improvement of the urban forest. Beginning in 1996, LEAF has been delivering successful planting and stewardship programs that engage citizens. LEAF envisions healthy, vibrant communities where everyone values and cares for the urban forest.