COVID-19 Update: This initiative continues with some modifications to engagement activities.
TCH Planting and Stewardship Initiative
The TCH Project
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.
Tree and shrub requests are now open for 2021 planting!
Fifteen TCHC communities across Toronto welcomed nearly 200 new trees as part of this initiative over the past three years.
- 110 Mornelle Court*
- 111 Kendleton Drive
- 1615 Dundas Street East*
- 1901 Sheppard Avenue West
- 20 & 30 Falstaff Avenue*
- 20, 30 & 40 Gordonridge Place*
- 3847 Lawrence Avenue East*
- 4100 & 4110 Lawrence Avenue East*
- 4455 Bathurst Street*
- 6 Glamorgan Avenue*
- 65 Greencrest Circuit*
- 7 Glamorgan Avenue*
- 75 Tandridge Crescent*
- Scarlettwood Court, 58 Waterton Road*
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.
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.
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.
Thank you to the following companies for providing mulch throughout the year!
Follow and Share
Follow our social media channels to stay up-to-date on this project and join the conversation by using the hashtag #TCHTrees. 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 TCH communities to green and beautify their properties.
Read our media releases:
- 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:
- 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