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April 30, 2011
Trees Across Toronto volunteers help grow the urban forest
Councillor Norm Kelly (Ward 40 Scarborough Agincourt), Chair of the Parks and Environment Committee, together with Councillor Chin Lee (Ward 41 Scarborough-Rouge River), the local ward councillor, welcomed approximately 1,000 volunteers today to Milliken Park (5555 Steeles Ave. E) for the annual City of Toronto's tree and shrub planting event, Trees Across Toronto.

"Thank you for helping to improve our public green spaces," said Councillor Kelly. "The groves of young trees and shrubs planted today will grow up to become lush wooded areas that provide habitat for wildlife as well as shade and fresh air for future generations of Torontonians."

Hundreds of volunteers also gathered at Colonel Samuel Smith Park (3131 Lake Shore Blvd. W.) and McCowan District Park (150 McCowan Rd.) to take part in the planting event. Between the three sites, 4,500 native species trees and shrubs were planted, making a significant contribution to Toronto's urban forest in a single day.

Parks, Forestry and Recreation's Urban Forestry staff selected a range of species for the plantings, with trees and shrubs chosen based on the soil, shade and other environmental conditions specific to each park, as well as the natural history of each area and the needs of wildlife. The aim of the program is to create self-sustaining native plant communities.

"These plantings will produce environmental benefits for the community for years to come, improving the natural habitat and bringing a greater diversity of birds and animals to Milliken Park," said Councillor Lee. "More trees will help improve our water and air quality and reduce the local heat island effect."

Several generous sponsors, including Toronto Hydro, Toronto Parking Authority, Enbridge, CNE, HSBC Bank Canada, and the Toronto Parks and Trees Foundation helped make the event a success. Landscaping sponsor LOMCO prepared the planting sites as an in-kind donation and Canada Lands Corporation, Starbucks, Garage and Dynamite Stores, Absolute Tent and Event Services and Kraft Canada also lent an important hand.

Toronto's urban tree canopy is a vital city asset valued at $7 billion, with approximately 20 per cent forest cover representing 10.2 million trees. The benefits derived from the urban forest significantly exceed the annual cost of management - trees in the city provide the equivalent of at least $60 million in ecological services each year, storing 1.1 million metric tonnes of carbon annually or the equivalent of annual carbon emissions from 733,000 automobiles.

As trees literally bring life to the city, Urban Forestry aims to preserve and expand Toronto's tree canopy by planting new trees, caring for existing public trees through regular maintenance, and protecting public and private trees from unnecessary damage and removal through public education and by-law administration.

Trees Across Toronto is part of a volunteer stewardship program that gives citizens the opportunity to play an active role in caring for Toronto's urban forest. In addition to participating in this event, property owners are encouraged to plant and maintain trees on private land, because that's where the most potential is to grow the urban forest.

More information on how residents can help with the stewardship of Toronto's urban forest throughout the year is available at

Toronto is Canada's largest city and sixth largest government, and home to a diverse population of about 2.6 million people. Toronto's government is dedicated to delivering customer service excellence, creating a transparent and accountable government, reducing the size and cost of government and building a transportation city. For information on non-emergency City services and programs, Toronto residents, businesses and visitors can dial 311, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

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