July 15, 2011
A green roof of a different kind
Landscape Ontario joined with Mark Cullen, Ron Sexsmith and Cynthia MacDougall, chair of Toronto Parks and Tree Foundation, to help preserve parks and natural areas.
Denis Flanagan CLD
Director of public relations and membership services

Denis FlanaganAs part of our partnership with the Toronto Parks and Tree Foundation, LO helped promote and participate in the recent Green Tie Fundraiser at Sutton
Place Hotel.

Attendees were encouraged to wear a green tie or scarf to show their support for the fundraising event. Those attending were offered tours of a different kind. The 33rd floor of the Sutton Place has an amazing panoramic view of the Toronto tree canopy, and city foresters gave guided tours highlighting areas of the city that still have successful tree coverage.

They also pointed out sections that are in decline, which really was the whole point of the evening, to make business people, politicians and the general public aware of the need to plant more trees.

As Mark Cullen pointed out in his opening remarks, Toronto’s urban forest covers approximately 17 per cent of the city. This is a far cry from 30 years ago, when the cover was closer to 40 per cent.

Opening speeches were followed by a wonderful musical set by singer/songwriter Ron Sexsmith, who has been acclaimed by a galaxy of artists, ranging from Bob Dylan to Elton John, for his insight into the human heart and melodic purity. Ron not only entertained the crowd with his music, but also shared some stories of his days tree planting in Northern Ontario, which not only was an inspiration for some of his songs, but perhaps a reason why he generously donated his time for the evening.

The Toronto Parks and Tree Foundation is a not-for-profit, charitable organization with the purpose of protecting, preserving and enhancing Toronto’s parks, public green space and urban forest. The Foundation works with individuals, corporate donors and the community to accomplish its goals. Similar to many other partners that Landscape Ontario supports, the Foundation looks for solutions that contribute to the three key elements of sustainability: environment, economy and community.

The mandate of the foundation to preserve and enhance parks, natural areas and trees aligns with the work of many of our members. We are all poised to be a significant contributor to offset the effects of climate change and air/water pollution. Quality parks and healthy urban forests, exert a calming influence on urban life, add value to our neighbourhoods and help to support safe communities and healthy lifestyles.

I think partnerships with like-minded groups and businesses are essential to the growth of our association and particularly fitting in 2011,  as we embark on a campaign to celebrate National Tree Planting Day (Sept. 21st), inspired by a wonderful initiative from our executive director Tony DiGiovanni.
Denis Flanagan may be contacted at dflanagan@landscapeontario.com.