Toronto Community Housing tree project: spring season celebration and tour

(May 15, 2019 – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE) Toronto Community Housing Corporation (TCHC), 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 tree planting project team, including TCHC tenants, gathered at 121 Kendleton Drive for a spring season celebration and guided tour of a selection of the young trees. The plantings aim to replenish lost trees due to ice storm and insect damage, increase urban forest canopy cover for environmental benefits, and create a vibrant, green community that promotes a healthy quality of life for TCHC tenants.

About 80 native trees were planted at 121 Kendleton Drive, 1901 Sheppard Avenue West and Scarlettwood Court in November 2018. Hearty tree species were selected so that they will thrive in the sunlight and soil conditions found at these properties. A wide variety of species were planted, including American elm, basswood, bur oak, Freeman maple, ginkgo, grey dogwood, hackberry, honey locust, Kentucky coffee tree, serviceberry, silver maple, and sugar maple. With nurturing care provided by tenants and staff, these trees will provide benefits for years to come.

"We are excited to be working with our partners and tenants to make sure our new trees thrive," said Cutty Duncan, TCHC Manager of Capital Engagement and Conservation Program (CECP). "The healthier the trees, the more benefits they will provide, such as shade and improved air quality."

Park People and LEAF are working with TCHC staff and tenants to make sure trees are watered and mulch is replenished.

The project has community engagement and long-term tree survival at its core. "Engaging TCHC tenants and staff in the project is very important," said Minaz Asani-Kanji, Manager of Outreach at Park People. "We are working together to train and support tree care teams at each of the sites. With the right watering, attention, and care, these trees will bring beauty to the community for many years to come!"

Proper watering and mulching are essential for the establishment of newly planted trees. Ideally, they should receive twice weekly watering of about six gallons (about 3 watering cans) from early spring through late fall. Replenishing mulch twice a year is an important step to improve the soil and prevent damage from lawnmowers and string trimmers.

As a partner to the tree planting project, Cohen & Master provided trees and planting services at a reduced rate. A team of tree care specialists is committed to treating the newly planted trees with a natural soil additive that supports soil microbes and enhances root establishment. "We are very pleased to be supporting this project," said Cohen & Master Director, Tomas Cohen. "We look forward to watching the trees as they grow and thrive in the coming years."

The next steps for the TCHC Planting and Stewardship Initiative are to select the planting sites for fall 2019 and to engage a whole new group of tenants and staff at these new sites.

The project is supported by the City of Toronto, which provided trees and funding through their Every Tree Counts program. "Our Strategic Forest Management Plan strives for 40 per cent canopy cover and includes the goals of species diversity, achieving equitable distribution and promoting stewardship,"said Amory Ngan, Project Manager, Urban Forestry, City of Toronto. "This project helps us to achieve all of these goals and is especially exciting because of the partners' collective efforts."

"It is exciting to work with all the participants and understand their needs. From sharing tree knowledge, to organizing planting plans, to training how to care for new trees, it is very satisfying to see the program grow to new properties in 2019. The teams have been living the LEAF motto: Right tree, right place, right care!" said Janet McKay, LEAF Executive Director.

Media Contacts:

LEAF: Janet McKay, Executive Director,  | 416-413-9244 x17

City of Toronto's Urban Forestry: Amory Ngan, Project Manager,  | 416-392-4401

Cohen & Master: Kristie Nairn, Marketing and Communications Director | 416-932-0622 ex 210 and Tomas Cohen, Director, | 416-833-3854

TCHC: Daniele Gauvin, Senior Communications Advisor, | 416-737-1352

Park People: Minaz Asani-Kanji, Manager of Outreach, Park People, | 647-991-2921

About the Implementation Partners:

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 designing and delivering successful planting and stewardship programs, as well as education and training programs across the City of Toronto.

Park People supports and mobilizes people to help them activate the power of parks to improve quality of life in cities across Canada. With over seven years of experience and network building in Toronto and four years in underserved communities through the Sparking Change Program, Park People creates change by inspiring leaders, reducing social isolation and building inclusive communities. Park People brings experience working in partnership with TCHC to engage tenants in the parks and greenspaces in their neighbourhoods. Their work in TCHC and other Neighbourhood Improvement Area (NIA) communities informs the work on this project.

Toronto Community Housing Corporation (TCHC) is Canada's largest social housing provider. TCHC is owned by the City of Toronto and provides homes for nearly 60,000 low- and moderate-income households in 106 of the city's 144 neighbourhoods. Their 2,100 buildings represent a $10-billion public asset.