Imagine a Greener Toronto: Eye-catching shadow art draws attention to Toronto’s urban trees

(October 7, 2015, Toronto, ON – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE) An engaging new public art campaign was launched this weekend by non-profit organization LEAF (Local Enhancement and Appreciation of Forests) in partnership with the City of Toronto.

An intriguing tree shadow mural was installed on the exterior wall of the Parkdale Community Centre (75 Lansdowne Ave.) on Friday.  Another popped up outside Artscape cultural hub Daniels Spectrum in Regent Park (585 Dundas St. E.).  More will appear in other locations soon, asking Torontonians to “Imagine a greener Toronto”. Images of the shadows will also appear on screens in TTC subway stations.

The campaign aims to raise public awareness and encourage dialogue through a two-week twitter campaign about the importance of our urban forest and what residents can do to help it grow.

“Urban forests are essential to the health and happiness of urban residents,” said Janet McKay, Executive Director, LEAF. “Trees clean our air, give us shade, offer privacy and provide habitat for wildlife.  They improve our physical and mental health, and of course, they make our city a more beautiful place to live.”

An estimated 10.2 million trees can be found within our city’s limits. Approximately 40% of those trees grow on municipal land, while the remaining 60% are located on privately owned property. Toronto’s urban forest is an incredibly valuable shared resource (worth an estimated $7 billion according to the City of Toronto 2013 Report, Every Tree Counts and referenced in a TD Economics report from June 2014), and it takes public and private partnerships to ensure it thrives.

LEAF and the City of Toronto are working together with other partners to do just that.

“In 2013, our city’s canopy cover was approximately 26.6 – 28%. The impacts from the invasive insect emerald ash borer and extreme storms have been seen on Toronto's trees,” stated Jason Doyle, Director, Urban Forestry. “It is the goal of the City of Toronto to increase the city's tree canopy to 40 percent by 2050-60. To accomplish this, it is vitally important to work with partners like LEAF and members of the public to protect what we have, plant more and ensure everything is well cared for.”

It’s a lofty goal, so LEAF and City are calling on all Torontonians to do their part to help achieve it. Here are three easy ways anyone can help: 


Have a tree planted in your yard, around your apartment building or at your place of business through LEAF’s subsidized Backyard Tree Planting Program. Or, have a tree planted on the road allowance through the City of Toronto’s Get a Free Tree Program.


LEAF and the City of Toronto support Adopt-a-Street-Tree and Adopt-a-Park-Tree programs to give new trees a fighting chance. You can also volunteer in other ways for both LEAF and the City of Toronto.


Donate to LEAF’s Urban Forest Fund. Your contributions make it possible for LEAF to deliver their planting, education and stewardship programs.


Throughout the two-week campaign, LEAF will be asking residents to share their vision for a greener Toronto, and will in turn be sharing tips on how we can all work together to turn those dreams into reality.

Follow @leaf on twitter. Join the conversation and start growing the urban forest today.




Interviews available upon request. 


Janet McKay

Executive Director, LEAF                                                       

416-413-9244 x17 or 647-883-5777 (cell)                                                                             


Matthew Cutler

Manager, Public Relations and Issues Management, City of Toronto



LEAF is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the protection and improvement of the urban forest.  We make it easy for you to plant, care and give.