Getting to know our trees

Red Oak tree labelWhen the new trees were first planted along Roncesvalles Avenue in 2012 — before the tree guards or bike rings were installed – they were being used as bike posts. Many of the young trees were getting scarred. So we took steps to prevent cyclists from locking their bikes to them.

In addition to the bright green tags that we taped onto the attached bikes, we took to labelling each tree with their common name, Latin name and Polish name, thanks to our resident tree expert Bill Montague. Presenting their identity helped raise their presence from that of a post to a living and vulnerable entity.

We received so much positive feedback on the rudimentary labels we first used that Bill, who is now our RoncyWorks Tree Team lead, set his sights on creating more permanent ones. After many trials, Bill resourcefully arrived at an elegant solution that is simple to install.

You’ll now see black metal labels attached to the tree guards of each tree.  Well, almost every tree.

Unfortunately, we lost several over the winter and all that’s left of them is their severed trunks waiting forlornly in the tree guards for their replacements.

Don’t flick it!

Black ashcan installed on lamp standard with that says "Don't flick it! Stick your butt in here."

New ashcan on Roncesvalles Avenue is part of a pilot study for cigarette litter prevention.

Have you noticed the addition of some black cylinders to a few of the tree guards along Roncy? Perhaps you figured out what they were before additional clues were added.

These ashcans are part of our exploration of more permanent solutions to butt litter after rolling out our hand-made butt tins two years ago. They are also part of a pilot study in Toronto to quantify the difference they make in reducing cigarette butt litter.

RoncyWorks and the Roncesvalles Village BIA is involved in running a cigarette litter scan on a three-block area of Roncesvalles Avenue to test the effectiveness of the ashcans in combination with a public awareness campaign.

The cigarette litter problem is not just one that upsets our gardeners who see the plant beds they’re working on treated as ash trays. It’s a global litter problem that cities are grappling with. The butts are not biodegradable as many people think. They can take years to break down. They end up clogging our filtration systems and waterways. They leach toxins into our water and soil. And, they get eaten by wild and domestic animals, to their detriment, to say the least.

So, we wanted to make sure the new ash cans would be spotted by local and passing smokers, so we added stickers to these long, black, cylindrical ashcans. There’s a second set being installed that have a silver top rather than being all black, which should make them more visible, especially in the evenings. If the ash cans don’t get sufficient use, we’re rolling out some signs, posters and point of purchase items in an effort to get smokers to stop flicking their butts.

They may be small, but they sure add up fast. During our spring cleanup at the end of April, our Scan team counted over 1,000 butts in one plant bed alone that was in front of Dizzy Gastro Sports Pub. Yet Dizzy has been great these past few years at putting out pails to get their smoking customers to butt out responsibly. Now Dizzy has one of the new ashcans conveniently located out front. We’re hoping the other cafes, restaurants and bars on Roncy, as well as the convenience stores, will want want one near them too. But most of all, we’re hoping the new ashcans will get well used.

Roncy Earth Hour Candlelight Walk 2014

Roncesvalles Village celebrates its 5th Annual Earth Hour Candlelight Walk

People from the Roncesvalles Village dressed in winter coats share the light of their candles at the end of their Earth Hour walk down Roncesvalles Avenue.

Earth Hour Candlelight Walk participants are part of a world-wide effort to raise awareness of our energy intensive lifestyle’s impact on the planet’s ecosystem.

Acknowledging the 7th Annual Global Earth Hour, residents of Roncesvalles Village and surrounding area will walk together as a symbolic gesture in support of the need for environmental stewardship. At 8:30 p.m. on Saturday March 29th 2014, a candlelight walk is scheduled to start along Roncesvalles Avenue. The walk will end at Grafton Park near Queens Street West around 9 p.m.  Continue reading