Toronto Low-Canopy Neighbourhood Greening Initiative

It has been well researched that tree cover is not equitably distributed in Toronto, with low-income communities often having lower canopy cover. Communities that do not have healthy canopy cover experience higher surface temperatures because of the urban heat island effect and the multitude of resiliency benefits that trees provide (both physical and psychological) are not shared equally. With urban temperatures rising because of climate change, this inequitable access to the environmental and health-related benefits that trees provide is of growing importance.

With support from the Arbor Day Foundation, Salesforce and the City of Toronto, LEAF is carrying out a 1-year pilot initiative to increase tree planting activities and grow the urban forest in low-canopy Neighbourhood Improvement Areas (NIAs). According to the Toronto Strong Neighbourhoods Strategy 2020, NIAs are defined as neighbourhoods facing the most inequitable (unnecessary, unfair and unjust) outcomes in five key areas: economic opportunities, social development, healthy lives, participation in decision-making and physical surroundings.

Low-canopy is defined as anything below 26.9%, which is the average canopy cover in Toronto, based on the most recent tree canopy and neighborhood data. Of the 33 NIAs in Toronto, 23 have below average canopy cover.

Join us to help increase canopy cover in Toronto’s 23 low-canopy NIAs!


map of the City of Toronto with Neighbourhood Improvement Areas highlighted
©2024 City of Toronto. Click to view large map.

Grow a More Equitable Urban Forest

LEAF staff posing with tree

To achieve canopy growth, Toronto property owners located in low-canopy NIAs can plant for free on their property! There is a limit of one free tree and up to three free shrubs per single-dwelling residential property per year (space permitting) and three free trees and up to five free shrubs per multi-unit or business property per year (space permitting). First come, first served.

This incentive runs from August 2023 to June 2024! Eligible NIAs include:

  • Beechborough-Greenbrook
  • Black Creek
  • Downsview
  • Eglinton East
  • Glenfield-Jane Heights
  • Golfdale-Cedarbrae-Woburn
  • Humber Summit
  • Humbermede
  • Ionview
  • Keelesdale-Eglinton West
  • Kennedy Park
  • Kingsview Village-The Westway
  • Mount Olive-Silverstone-Jamestown
  • Oakdale-Beverley Heights
  • Regent Park
  • Rockcliffe-Smythe
  • Rustic
  • South Parkdale
  • Thorncliffe Park
  • Weston
  • Weston-Pelham Park
  • Woburn North
  • York University Heights


To determine if your address falls within an eligible NIA, use the City of Toronto’s “Find Your Neighbourhood” website here. Type your address into the address search bar to find out which neighbourhood you live in. If your address is one of the 23 low-canopy NIAs listed here, please mention it when you email us or submit your application to one of our programs.

Ready to plant? Getting started is as easy as 1, 2, Tree!

  1. Visit our Toronto homeowners page (for Multi-Units or Businesses, visit our Multi-Units & Businesses page) and select either the Full-Service or Do-It-Yourself tree planting program.
  2. Review the webpage content and submit your application!

Interested in shrubs for delivery? Visit our Shrubs page and send your request to

LEAF staff at a planting event

Here are some other ways that you can help improve the urban forest in your community!

Join an Educational Program

Tree Tenders Volunteer Training Course

Learn all about trees from expert instructors and connect with other nature lovers! This course is great for all skill-levels.

Young Urban Forest Leaders

Youth (ages 18 to 29) can take part in a free, four-month (May to August) training and mentorship program that provides valuable experience in the fields of arboriculture, urban forestry and community engagement. The program seeks to support Toronto youth from equity-deserving groups within arboriculture and urban forestry.

Young Ravine Leaders

Youth (ages 18 to 29) can take part in a free, one-month (fall), educational program that provides an in-depth overview of Toronto’s ravines, community stewardship and career development. The program seeks to support Toronto youth from Toronto NIAs and/or equity-deserving groups within ravine ecology, urban forestry and environmental stewardship.

Become a LEAF Volunteer

There are many ways to get involved! Please note that we only accept volunteers over the age of 18. Opportunities include:

  • Planting and Stewardship Events
  • Garden Steward Teams
  • Community Outreach and Education
  • Much more!

Join an Event

LEAF offers many events throughout the year that provide opportunities for people to learn more about the urban forest.

Community Tree Planting

Take direct environmental action and learn about how we can protect and care for our urban forest ecosystem. These fun, community-building events allow people to be part of the solution to climate change and biodiversity loss. Please note that community tree planting events take place in York Region and Durham Region.

Tree Tours

In-person guided walks that focus on tree identification and fun tree facts.

Supporting Partners