TCHC Planting and Stewardship Initiative

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

The TCHC Project

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

LEAF is working with Toronto Community Housing Corporation (TCHC), the City of Toronto and Park People to engage communities in the planting and stewardship of native trees on TCHC properties. 

Many trees on TCHC properties were affected in the ice storm of 2013 and thousands of trees have been removed and/or infested by emerald ash borer. Additionally, the majority of remaining trees on these properties are limited to a handful of species, many of which are non-native such as Norway maple and Austrian pine. This project is a wonderful opportunity to enrich the native diversity of these landscapes.

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 TCHC tenants and TCHC Facilities Management staff. The supply and installation of large caliper trees is provided by the City of Toronto.



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, LEAF and Park People worked together to initiate Tree Care Teams. The teams operate differently at each property, but are generally made up of tenants, staff and other local residents interested in helping the trees thrive. 

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. 



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

Young bur oak in front of a building

Implementation Partners

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 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 will play a lead role in the planting, stewardship and education activities.

Park People supports and mobilizes people to help them activate the power of parks to improve the quality of life in cities across Canada. With over seven years of experience and network building in Toronto and four years in underserved communities through the Sparking Change Program, Park People creates change by inspiring leaders, reducing social isolation and building inclusive communities. Park People brings experience working in partnership with TCHC to engage residents in the parks and greenspaces in their neighbourhoods. Our work in TCHC and other Neighbourhood Improvement Area (NIA) communities will inform our work for this project and bring a network of grassroots community groups and social service agencies as partners to the project.

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 and In-Kind Support

The project is also supported by funds from TD Green Space Grant from TD Bank Group (TD) and the Arbor Day Foundation, which support innovative urban greening and tree planting projects in underserved areas of the community.

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

Cohen & Master Tree and Shrub Services

TS Arborist Services

Supporting Partners