Bringing Life to Old Mill Station

Next in the series of Tree Tender graduate profiles: I’d like to introduce a team! Meet Teresa Chan, Joe Chan, Maxine Chan, Margaret Calder, Natalia Jakubek, and Audrey Jakubek. This dedicated team of Tree Tender graduates united with a common passion for trees and gardens to transform the view outside their local subway station, Old Mill, into a thriving pocket of biodiversity and LEAF's first Urban Forest Demonstration Garden.


Neighbours of south Etobicoke, the teamed formed and took the Spring 2010 course together to learn more about tree care, soils, and proper planting practices. Back then, they shared with us their story of their instrumental role in establishing LEAF’s first Urban Forest Demonstration Garden.


Before and after planting at Old Mill Station


Teresa, Joe, Maxine, Margaret, Natalia, and Audrey committed their time weekly all season to maintain and care for this garden. They helped plant, mulch, and weed before taking on the biggest task of all: watering.


At this site, it was no simple task.  Without water access directly at the garden, the condo at 12 Old Mill Trail came to the rescue and graciously agreed to be our garden watering partner. To transport the water from 12 Old Mill across the road, the team began with buckets and a little red wagon. We quickly learned more water was needed for such a large garden and the team worked to acquire hundreds of feet of hose. It was quite a sight - drivers, pedestrians and TTC commuters looked on with wonder and amazement as the hose stretched across the busy road.


Old Mill Station Garden


The space quickly transformed from a compact turf to a flourishing garden that attracts birds and pollinators. TTC riders waiting for the bus admire the garden located in the centre of the bus roundabout; passersby give their thanks.


Fast forward three years and the survival of the garden is owed to the commitment shown by Stewardship Team. A young maple had a particularly difficult time establishing, but now stands tall - a reminder of the team’s hard work and dedication. LEAF is incredibly proud of all our Stewardsip Teams, and the Urban Forest Demonstration Gardens they care for. Each one showcases the beauty of native species and contributes to a greener city for all Torontonians.


Stewardship Team


Whether in your own backyard or in your neighbourhood urban forest, if you’ve always wanted to learn more about your local trees and make a positive difference by caring for them, the Tree Tenders Volunteer Training Program is ideal for you! The courses are open for registration now and spots are filling up fast! Check out the Tree Tenders Volunteer Training Program page on our website for details on the course schedule and information about how you can register.