Homegrown National Park Brings Nature Home to the City

There is something green growing in Toronto’s Ward 19…


With the launch of an innovative new leadership initiative called the Homegrown National Park, the David Suzuki Foundation is helping to create Toronto’s greenest ward, right in the heart of the city.

Between Bathurst and Dovercourt, stretching from Dupont to the waterfront, the Homegrown National Park is a crowd-sourced “green corridor” that runs along the path of the Garrison Creek, one of the city’s most notable lost rivers. Inspired by authors Richard Louv and Douglas Tallamy, this corridor will enhance, restore and create urban green space, helping to “bring nature home to the city.”

Two dozen dedicated volunteers – or Neighbourhood Park Rangers – act as community animators, helping to catalyze innovative greening projects at the grassroots level in neighbourhoods across the ward. We work with community organizations, residents, local small businesses and amazing groups like Friends of Roxton Road Parks to raise awareness, recruit local residents, host community events and organize planting projects. Read more about our team of Rangers here.

There are lots of great ways to get involved with the Homegrown National Park. We are getting our hands dirty planting native plants, cultivating pollinator-friendly gardens and growing food in yards and balconies. Here are just a few of the projects and activities we’re involved in…

Ranger Aidan with his canoe

Ranger Aidan with his canoe

Community Canoe
Community Canoe playfully engages people in interactions with wetland plants and animals, raising awareness of the Garrison Creek watershed through public performance and planting projects. Look for Canoe Portage Parades along the lost creek’s path and native plant canoe gardens popping up in parks across the ward. Find out more on Facebook or follow Community Canoe on Twitter.

Group shot from a dig-in for a new native plant garden at Charles G Fraser Public School on May 25.

Group shot from a dig-in for a new native plant garden at Charles G Fraser Public School on May 25.

Get Growing!
Get Growing encourages and supports homeowners and residents to plant gardens on their property to green our neighbourhoods, create habitat that sustains local pollinators, increase property values, and cultivate food. Whether you’re a seasoned gardener or brand new, we’ve got lots of resources available, from free and discounted seeds and plants, to advice and support on integrating native species into your garden. Whether you’re tending a small urban farm or a few containers on your balcony, you’re encouraged to submit your gardens into the Get Growing Garden Contest for a chance to win great prizes. To find out all the amazing benefits of joining Get Growing, visit us on Facebook or email getgrowing.gardens@gmail.com to join our email list.

Pothole planting from Palmerston Square Park-on-the-Street (photo credit: Ranger Anjum Chagpar)

Pothole planting from Palmerston Square Park-on-the-Street (photo credit: Ranger Anjum Chagpar)

Palmerston Square Park-on-the-Street
From May to September, we’ll be transforming Palmerston Square into a public park. Based on the ethics of the commons, gift and sharing economies, and a desire to end nature deficit disorder, the idea is to create a community green space for people to share, connect, disconnect, escape, explore, reflect, and act as stewards. If you live in Seaton Village or Ward 19 and are interested in sharing ideas, time, tools or supplies, please join us!

These projects – and many more! – will be happening over the summer in your neighbourhoods. To find out more and how you can get involved, check us out online.

WEB: www.facebook.com/HomegrownNationalPark
TWITTER: #HomegrownNationalPark
TUMBLR: homegrownnationalpark.tumblr.com
EMAIL: parkranger@davidsuzuki.org

Post by Andrea McGavin