Coinciding with nationally recognized Earth Day, on April 22, 2017, several members of RoncyWorks arrived to clean planter beds, sweep up litter and remove aging signage along the length of Roncesvalles Avenue. This effort was part of the annual RoncyWorks spring cleanup and the City’s Clean Toronto Together campaign.
How can we help combat climate change by planning now in January?
Although planting trees won’t stop Climate Change, trees will help to counteract carbon emissions through carbon absorption. Trees serve as the lungs of the planet and of our cities. The City of Toronto aims to increase its tree canopy because it recognizes the significant environmental and community benefits of urban forests. The plan is to plant about 10 million trees by 2050. That’s a lot of trees.
The City will be looking at converting surplus City lands into green spaces and replenishing or modifying streetscapes and city parks. But the majority of the tree planting will come from private land owners and a push is on to to get residents on board. The whole of Roncesvalles Village has seen an increase in the planting of City trees along our streets and it is hoped that land owners will continue planting trees on their properties.
If you have an unobscured space that’s 3 metres by 3 metres, you can plant a tree. Non-profit organizations like LEAF can offer care giving tips and subsidize costs. By re-imagining yard spaces as mini forests with trees and native shrubs, we can increase the value of our homes, outdoor pleasures and help contribute to the health of our community.
Now’s the time to plan your spring plantings.
The City would be a better place with lush plantings, but plan with knowledge and consideration.
Some kind of an Ethics Policy ought to be established to promote respectful planting. Just as we see people who claim “Natural Garden Exemptions” — in lieu of properly caring for their property — there are those who plant with disregard; such as planting masses of trees along or too closely to property lines without regard to — or even to spite — their neighbours or who plant invasive species like Japanese Knotweed, which is detrimental. Toronto courts have been known to award ownership rights to both parties who share a tree canopy, and programs are being developed to educate people about the problems with non-native plant species, including tips on how to avoid root damage to house foundations.
It takes a decade to grow a tree into maturity and we simply can’t go back in time. To leave a legacy to the future residents of our community, we must pay it forward now.
Enjoy dreaming and planning your tree-scape during these winter months.
Want to get involved?Community Meeting: Making Toronto a Climate Change Leader
Join Ward 13 Councillor Sarah Doucette and Ward 14 Councillor Gord Perks to share your ideas to help Toronto reduce its greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to one of the biggest ecological crises of our time, climate change.This event is part of the Talk Transformation! conversations happening throughout the city.
Wednesday, January 27th
7:00 PM – 9:00 PM
Bishop Marrocco/Thomas Merton School
1515 Bloor St West at Dundas, 3rd floor Staff Room
LINK~ RSVP to attend
Although the boulder-in-river-stone design element featured in several Roncesvalles Avenue street gardens may look like Xeriscape or Zen design, they are actually strategic coping solutions for dog urine. Roncy has Pee Rocks.
As dogs walk (hopefully on leash) with their owners, they constantly source out other dogs’ territorial markings and plan on masking those scents with their own. It’s what they do.
With an accumulation of doggy leaks, clever RoncyWorks volunteered gardeners, came up with an attractive solution that would help safeguard the shrubs and perennials. Now dogs gravitate to the Pee Rocks.
I like it so much, I’m going to apply the design on flanking sides of my own front walkway.
Now, if only we could stop dogs and people from trampling the plants, that would be awesome. The most harm happens when dogs are tethered to the trees in some of the gardens. A stop to that could save a lot plants, volunteer effort and money spent replacing plants.
Roncy Walks for Earth Hour
Every Earth Hour, the kilometre and half of Roncesvalles Avenue is travelled upon, by environment conscious supporters. This year the symbolic gesture campaigning crowd, gathered at the (future site of) the Dundas Roncesvalles Peace Garden where Earth Hour 2015 Walk Marshals; Andrea DOnofrio and Sarah Malleau had arranged for acoustic performer, Markur to entertain attendees.
Keith Denning from the RVBIA handed out mason jar lanterns, for those who didn’t arrive with any. I stayed busy working with media and welcoming friends.
If I were to continue on accolades, the whole of RoncyWorks and all that it does, wouldn’t exist without key facilitator Veronica Feihl, who thoughtfully organized the first cleanup of the plant beds and tree beds, the morning of the annual Earth Hour Walk.
Coinciding with a live TV hit, the revellers with lit candles and lanterns, began the Walk along Roncesvalles’s commercial side, pausing briefly to salute patrons in the many dimly lit cafes, bistros and bars. Many businesses participate in the power-down hour.
The more people that attend the Roncesvalles Annual Earth Hour candlelight walk, the more evident it is to educators, commercial planners and governing parties that our neighbourhood cares and wants strategies that will safeguard the world from issues like climate change.
I’ve been Roncy’s Earth Hour Co-ordinator since 2010, so how pleased was I to chat with NDP MP Peggy Nash as we strolled the length of the celebratory walk. Locally running Liberal Candidate Arif Virani also attended, but I didn’t get a chance to say hello.
As soon as we arrived at Grafton Park, we posed for our annual group picture as the Walk Marshals queried the crowd on Earth Hour Trivia. Correct answers were rewarded with amazing giveaways that the RoncyWorks Earth Hour Marshals had canvassed for.
Wonderful packages were supplied by these local businesses:
- SOHO Art & Custom Framing
- The Herbal Clinic & Dispensary
- Revue Cinema
- Michael Johnston Music Studio
- The Cookery
- Fresh Collective
Thanks to all the media outlets that covered the event.
For Koski, having people show up this Saturday, March 28 is a testament to successful non-violent community communication.
“There is no fist pumping or screaming demands to recognize and do something about climate change,” she said.
There are just a whole bunch of people, that get together every year to walk down a kilometre and half of Toronto real estate, holding lit candles symbolically representing that we aren’t using conventional man-made power for just one little hour. And we’re doing so because maybe one day, there just won’t be any.”
It took a village to raise that baby!
With a team of many BIA members, TTC delegates, advocating residents, and City of Toronto officials, the long, arduous task of co – creating the Roncesvalles streetscape was a group effort. The process was based on consultation, collaboration and transparency.
Several members of RoncyWorks were involved in the process and are pleased to report that Roncy’s development history is intact, safe and on the cutting edge of experimental projects. For example the Greening of Roncy by local volunteers and the success of the Cigarette Litter Prevention Campaign is inspiring other neighbourhoods.
Creating an accessible street that people would enjoy for generations was the group mandate. And, if the TTC has to make some adjustments to get that perfect, well that’s OK with me.
The group had to scale their vision to budget and other limitations, while pursuing the common interests of all businesses, residents, motorists, cyclists, transit users and pedestrians of all ages — some with strollers, walkers or wheelchairs.
Roncy Works… because we all work together.