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Beautifying the Danforth
At the beginning of June, LEAF staff and volunteers gathered together to plant over 175 native perennials and grasses in street tree planters along the Danforth, where our Adopt-a-Street-Tree pilot project is already underway. All participants had a wonderful time, and the Danforth is looking better than ever.


LEAF’s Adopt-a–Street-Tree pilot project on the Danforth , now in its second year, is going strong. The trees are doing well, the streets are greener, and the business owners and residents are very happy!  But we were so excited about the project that we couldn’t stop there:  we decided to plant some more greenery around the existing trees.


Placed and ready to go!

The new native perennials and grasses – including yarrow (Achillea millefolium), pearly everlasting (Anaphalis margaritacea), little bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium) and others,were chosen specifically for characteristics that would make them good for the streetscape. They’re drought-tolerant, so they can survive in dry, city-street conditions. They grow less than three feet in height, so they won’t crowd out the trees or obscure sightlines. And they’re neat to look at!  We made sure to include a variety of plants that flower at different times, to give the Danforth even more of a green aesthetic.


A finished planter, with the new perennials to keep the tree company.

Stewards gathered on a bright Friday morning in front of two local businesses - Sunny’s Auto and Bark ‘N Scratch. Our group was made up of local residents and other LEAF volunteers, as well as staff from both LEAF and the City of Toronto. We brought trowels, gloves, and other gardening supplies needed to get the new plants in the ground. Hats and sunscreen were strongly recommended!


One of the volunteers’ dogs also joined us for our planting day. Who says that only humans care about greening cities?

It was a wonderful way to spend the morning. All together, we planted 11 tree beds between Oak Park and Westlake. While we were there, we had the opportunity to chat with several passers-by, who expressed their appreciation for what we were doing. One business owner even gave us jugs of water to quench our thirst midway through the morning (thanks, Blue River House!). And the pastries from Oliver at The Danny BIA were much appreciated by all.



After the planting was done, it was important to make sure the plants received enough water to get off to a good start . We made several trips to Toronto Honda and Vincenzo’s Supermarket – who generously offered their water to us – filling watering cans and dispensing their contents liberally into the newly-planted areas.  I have seldom appreciated the density of water more than when I was lugging full watering cans down the street! For anyone looking for exercise, gardening may be the activity for you – and the bonus is that you get to spend time outdoors.



The perennials and grasses we planted will be monitored over time, and the information we gather will help inform the forthcoming Adopt-a-Street-Tree Manual (in development by LEAF and the City of Toronto). We hope to learn which plants are best-suited for commercial streets, so that the street-greening concept can take root across the city.


Two of our hardworking volunteers!


The planting event was a great success, and all our participants were sweaty and smiling as they headed home. As I turned to look back on my way out, it was so nice to see the new foliage waving at me in the gentle breeze. Stay tuned for more LEAF planting events to come!


The Adopt-a-Street-Tree Danforth pilot project was initialised last year, and was funded, in part, by a grant from Live Green Toronto.


Montanna Diakun is LEAF’s Education and Stewardship Assistant.


Hi Margery, Thanks for your message. The photo in the header is indeed the Toronto skyline. It was taken by one of our volunteer photographers from atop a green roof here in the city (but I'm sorry I can't remember which one at the moment).If you look closely, you can see a few recognizable buildings, like the Canada Life building on University Ave (on the left side of the photo), and the top of the TD Canada Trust tower down in the financial district (on the right side of the photo). Thanks!
I enjoy reading the blog posts after events eg the planter-planting along the Danforth etc but one question that often or always comes to mind is why LEAF has, what I'm fairly certain is, the CALGARY skyline as it's photo header on the website??? If it is Toronto please tell me where the photo was taken???? If I am right and it is Calgary can it please be replaced with a Toronto skyline pic asap! Please respond on this question. I've been disappointed that there have been few Tree Tours this year. I always find them very interesting and informative. Margery Palomino

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