TCHC Planting and Stewardship Initiative
The TCHC Project
LEAF is working with Toronto Community Housing Corporation (TCHC) and the City of Toronto to engage communities in the planting and stewardship of native trees and shrubs on TCHC 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 TCHC 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 TCHC 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 to ensure each tree thrives.
Project sites are identified in consultation with TCHC tenants and TCHC Facilities Management staff. The supply and installation of large caliper trees is provided by the City of Toronto. In 2021, we helped green 21 TCHC communities with over 300 native trees and shrubs through the TCHC Planting and Stewardship Initiative. Planning is underway for 2022!
The following TCHC communities across Toronto welcomed nearly 300 new trees as part of this initiative since 2018. The supply and installation of large caliper trees is provided by the City of Toronto.
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 was provided by Cohen & Master.
Another way this project supports TCHC tenants in greening their communities is by offering free native shrubs that can be planted on TCHC properties, in or along the fence lines of community gardens and in garden beds alongside buildings. Applications for shrub requests 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 TCHC. Once approved, LEAF delivers the shrubs for tenants to plant themselves.
Since the project started in 2018, almost 700 native shrubs have been planted by tenants at over 40 properties.
Toronto Community Housing Corporation (TCHC) is Canada's largest social housing provider. TCHC 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 140 neighbourhoods. Their 2,100 buildings represent a $9-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.
Thank you to the following companies for providing mulch throughout the year!
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Follow our social media channels to stay up-to-date on this project and join the conversation by using the hashtag #TCHCTrees. Be sure to tag us so we can share them too!
Interested in finding out more about this project? Want to learn all about the latest updates and news? Read through our media releases and blogs for more information on how we're working with TCHC communities to green and beautify their properties.
Read our media releases:
- November 30, 2021 - LEAF Awarded TD Green Space Grant to Support TCHC Planting and Stewardship Initiative
- April 21, 2021 - Toronto Community Housing, the City of Toronto and partners celebrate Earth Week by offering free trees and shrubs to tenants
- November 4, 2019 - Toronto Community Housing and partners celebrate innovative tree planting initiative
- May 15, 2019 - Toronto Community Housing tree project: spring season celebration and tour
- November 16, 2018 - Toronto Community Housing Partners with Several Organizations to Expand Tree Canopy in Its Communities
Read our blogs:
- Inspiring TCH Tenant Shares Her Experience Working With LEAF
- TCH Tenant Committed to Greening His Community
- Young Urban Forest Leader Greens Her TCH Community
- Shrubbing It Up in the City!
- Growing Teams and Growing Trees at Toronto Community Housing Sites
- How Much Are Our Trees Worth?
- Meet the New Neighbours at Toronto Community Housing Properties!
- Trailblazing the Way for Equitable Tree Planting
- Stewarding Trees for the Future
- Greening Community Housing Properties Grows More than Trees
- Bringing Trees to Communities and Communities to Trees