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.

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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.

WWF Canada to host Toronto Earth Hour Event on Roncy

Roncesvalles Village has held annual Earth Hour celebrations since 2010. We’ve showcased local acoustic performers, choirs, flash mobs, lantern making workshops and candlelight walks. We have joined millions world wide, globally recognizing the largest planet-focused movement in the world!

Our City Councillor Gord Perks is a recognized environmentalist, our MPP Cheri DiNovo and MP Peggy Nash are driving forces behind “Clean Train Coalition.”  RoncyWorks models success in street planning and preserving.  And, no fewer than four school/residential associations in the community have Green Teams. We are champions of eco awareness.

Our community cheerleading caught the eye of WWF Canada, whose 2013 Earth Hour Campaign brings attention to the Cheerleader, both through a series of cheerleading videos and  the appointment of regional Captains, of which I, your author, am one!

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Roncesvalles Renewed

RoncyWorks was rooted from Roncesvalles Renewed, a community group initiated by the Roncesvalles Village BIA in 2005, four years before construction began on our main street.

People sitting around a table at a meeting for Roncesvalles Renewed

Members of Roncesvalles Renewed at one of the many meetings held at the home of John Senders and Ann Crichton-Harris on Indian Road.

Roncesvalles Renewed included reps from the BIA and three local Residents Associations, other local residents with particular interests or expertise in urban planning and renewal, business owners, local institutions and political representatives. We saw this reconstruction as an opportunity to try a new model for how communities collaborate with the City on major infrastructure projects of this kind.

Beginning in June 2009, Roncesvalles Avenue underwent a major reconstruction. The sewers were rebuilt, followed by the water mains, streetcar tracks and sidewalks. It meant digging, dust and detours for about two years. It also presented a number of opportunities, not least of which was to create a thriving canopy of trees along Roncesvalles.

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