Dale MacRae – Urban Forest Champion

Dale first planted with LEAF in 2017 and then again in 2018. By adding seven trees and a bunch of shrubs to his Toronto property, he is making a wonderful green impact. Our Program Manager, Kim De Lallo, interviews Dale about his enthusiasm for LEAF and his love of his backyard oasis.



How did you first become interested in the urban forest?

I was always interested in gardening once I married and had two children. I bought the house I live in now because of the large lot and the potential to plant large gardens, but as we age I had to cut out all the flower beds due to the work. So I decided to just plant trees and shrubs and replace the sod where needed to attract the local wildlife.


How did you find out about LEAF and how have you been involved?

After clearing all the garden beds and cutting down 12 old and dying trees, I was on the internet searching for info on where to find help to transform my yard when I came across “LEAF," a non-profit urban tree planting program that is supported by the City of Toronto. What luck that was, so I called and made an appointment for someone to come out.


Please share an interesting story or memorable moment from your experience with LEAF.

That’s when I meet Brenna Anstett who is an arborist and her team. Every time I look out my window or go out my backyard I have a smile. Brenna and her team did a fabulous job, the way Brenna placed the trees and shrubs I love it, and the fact that they are all native species.

The best part as well is that the City of Toronto subsidized all the trees and plants and the LEAF program plants them all for you which sold me. The whole process was seamless, and I felt I was in good hands with Brenna and her team (thank you all).


What does the urban forest mean to you and what message would you like to share with others to encourage them to become involved?

How all the wildlife is returning and it is a joy to relax in my new yard. Jaya my 14-year-old, 7 lb Yorkshire terrier runs around like a little puppy, she loves her new yard. I would strongly encourage anyone who needs help in transforming or adding to their yards to contact LEAF, a great program supported by the City of Toronto.




Kim De Lallo is the Program Manager at LEAF.


LEAF offers a subsidized Backyard Tree Planting Program for private property.  The program is supported by The City of Toronto, The Regional Municipality of York, The City of Markham, The Town of Newmarket, The Town of Ajax, Ontario Power Generation and Toronto Hydro. For details on how you can participate, visit http://yourleaf.org.