TCH Planting and Stewardship Initiative

COVID-19 Update: This initiative continues with some modifications to engagement activities.

The TCH Project

Person planting trees in front of a building. Fall time.

LEAF is working with Toronto Community Housing (TCH) and the City of Toronto to engage communities in the planting and stewardship of native trees and shrubs on TCH properties. 

Unfortunately, trees and, by extension, their benefits are not equitably distributed across the city, with lower-income communities often having lower canopy cover. Many trees on TCH properties have been severely affected by extreme weather events over the past decade and thousands of trees have been removed and/or infested by emerald ash borer. The majority of remaining trees in these communities are limited to a handful of species, many of which are non-native such as Norway maple and Austrian pine. 

The project aims to engage tenants and staff in TCH communities to improve the local tree canopy, providing local residents with the many benefits that trees offer - from shade and cooling to social and psychological benefits.

A central element of the project is the engagement of local tenants and site staff in both the planting plans and the stewardship of the trees once they are planted. Training and tree care resources are provided in order to ensure each tree thrives. 

Project sites are identified in consultation with TCH tenants and TCH Facilities Management staff. The supply and installation of large caliper trees is provided by the City of Toronto.

LEAF is excited to annouce this year's project sites as:

  • 7 Capri Road
  • 10, 30, 40 Gordonridge Place
  • 13A Albany Avenue
  • 15 Tobermory Drive
  • 17 Brimley Road
  • 50 Norway Avenue
  • 65 Greencrest Circuit
  • 140 Adanac Drive
Person providing specialized tree care

Fifteen TCHC communities across Toronto welcomed nearly 200 new trees as part of this initiative over the past three years.

At each site, we work with tenants and site staff to initiate Tree Care Teams. The teams operate differently at each property, but are generally made up of tenants that are interested in helping the trees thrive.

“Through the project, I was able to learn how to properly care for trees and other plants and developed greater respect for greenspace and mother nature” – Tree Care Team member

Each team receives specialized, hands-on training from LEAF about proper tree care along with resources to help them carry out their stewardship efforts with confidence. The main responsibilities of the teams include regular watering, keeping tree bases free from weeds and mulching the trees when needed. 

We work with the Tree Care Teams to host fun and educational community events that celebrate the trees and the people that help care for them. “A key benefit to me is that this project was able to bring the community together through the tree care parties that were held, which got tenants out and engaging with each other while caring for the trees! “ – Tree Care Team member

* The supply and installation of large caliper trees is provided by the City of Toronto.

Man standing with shrubs in pots


Another way this project supports TCH tenants in greening their communities is by offering free native shrubs that can be planted on TCH properties, in or along the fence lines of community gardens and in garden beds alongside buildings. Applications for shrub request are opened annually in the spring. Tenants can request the shrubs through LEAF and LEAF staff will provide training on proper planting and care. The requests are reviewed by Landscape Design and Community Safety at TCH. Once approved, LEAF delivers the shrubs for tenants to plant themselves. 

Since the project started in 2018, over 450 native shrubs have been planted by tenants at over 20 properties. 


Young bur oak in front of a building

Implementation Partners

Toronto Community Housing (TCH) is Canada's largest social housing provider. TCH 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.

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. LEAF plays the lead role in the planting, stewardship and education activities.

The City of Toronto's Urban Forestry Branch provides the critical services needed to protect, maintain and enhance the urban forest. With funding for this project provided in part through a Community Planting & Stewardship Grant, the City of Toronto is investing in tree planting and stewardship on private land to help grow the urban forest. Additional support provided includes the supply and installation of large caliper trees.

Funding for this project is also provided, in part, through a TD Green Space Grant from TD Bank Group and the Arbor Day Foundation. TD Green Space Grants are made possible as part of the TD Ready Commitment, TD's global corporate citizenship platform, aimed at opening doors to a more inclusive and sustainable tomorrow. 

In-Kind Support

Thank you to the following companies for providing mulch throughout the year!

Cohen & Master Tree and Shrub Services

TS Arborist Services

Supporting Partners