Toronto Community Housing Partners with Several Organizations to Expand Tree Canopy in Its Communities

(November 16, 2018) Toronto Community Housing Corporation (TCHC) has partnered with the City of Toronto’s Every Tree Count program, Local Enhancement and Appreciation of Forests (LEAF) and Park People to deliver a project aimed at increasing tree coverage on three TCHC properties. About 100 native trees were planted at 111 Kendleton, 1901 Sheppard Avenue West and Scarlettwood over the past eight days. Teams of volunteer tenants will be engaged and trained to care for the trees.

“We are excited to be working with our partners and tenants to replenish tree loss in communities that serve as homes for families and individuals,” said Keir Brownstone, TCHC Manager for Energy, Partnerships, Waste and Conservation. “Planting trees will help improve the quality of life for tenants by providing better air quality, increasing biodiversity in the area, preventing floods and beautifying the environment.”

The first step undertaken for the project was to conduct tree inventories at each site. Completed with the help of a University of Toronto Forest Conservation Master’s student, the inventories revealed a majority of non-native species, most commonly Austrian pine, Norway maple, Manitoba maple and Siberian elm. Honey locust was the most common native species.

“Our Strategic Forest Management Plan identifies a target of 40 per cent canopy cover and includes the goals of increasing canopy cover and species diversity, achieving equitable distribution and promoting stewardship,” said Amory Ngan, Project Manager, Urban Forestry, City of Toronto. “This pilot project helps to achieve many of our goals and we’re pleased to be supporting this collaborative effort.”

The pilot project has community engagement and long-term tree survival at its core.

“Engaging tenants in the planting project and ongoing stewardship of the trees is the most important part of our work,” said Minaz Asani-Kanji, Manager of Outreach at Park People. “We’ll be continuing over the winter to train and support tree care teams at each of the sites.” These teams, made up of both tenants and staff, will continue to receive support from Park People and LEAF throughout 2019 to make sure the trees and their care teams get the best possible start.

LEAF developed the planting plans for each site in consultation with TCHC staff. Tree species and individual tree locations were carefully selected to make sure the planting plans meet all site criteria.

“TCHC staff and tenants have been really wonderful about helping us understand all of the particular issues at each site, including things like future construction, existing use of common areas and species preferences,” said Janet McKay, Executive Director of LEAF. “We are so excited to see this pilot come to fruition, and we’re even more excited about the possibilities for improving and replicating this model on other TCHC properties across the city.”

Local tree company, Cohen & Master, is working with LEAF to provide trees and planting services at a reduced rate for the pilot project. “The goals of this project are very much aligned with our corporate philosophy,” said Cohen & Master director, Tomas Cohen. “We strive to improve our local environment through high quality planting and ongoing care of trees. When we were approached and asked to participate in this project, we jumped on board!”


To learn more about the Toronto Community Housing Corporation Planting and Stewardship Initiative, visit LEAF's page.



LEAF: Janet McKay, Executive Director, | 416-413-9244 x17

City of Toronto’s Urban Forestry: Amory Ngan, Project Manager, | 416-392-4401

Cohen & Master: Kristie Nairn, Marketing and Communications Director |416-932-0622 ex 210 and Tomas Cohen, Director, | 416-833-3854

TCHC: Daniele Gauvin, Senior Communications Advisor, | 416-737-1352

Park People: Minaz Asani-Kanji, Manager of Outreach, Park People, | 647-991-2921



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 tenants 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.

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.