Earth Day: trees & clean ups

To recognize Earth Day, communities and individuals typically plant trees and organize cleanups. We are delighted to have the corporate office for Earth Day Canada located right here in Roncesvalles Village.


Plant a tree for Earth Day

Earth Day Canada is committed to planting 25,000 legacy trees for Earth Day’s 25th Anniversary and they are doing so by a funded, crowd-planting campaign called #Rooting4Trees. Sponsorship is available in monetary increments from $10 – $10,000. Contribute or support them, if you can.

The City of Toronto promotes its annual 20 Minute Make Over  for businesses, schools and individuals who may wish to participate, by doing clean up efforts along streetscapes and parklands. The efforts will keep our City clean and green. Participate if you can, sometime over the weekend of April 22 – April 24th.


City of Toronto clean ups & Tree Planting

However, if you have the space and would like to contribute to the future of our community, consider planting a tree in your own yard. Let’s plant Trees now, because it takes at least a decade for them to reach maturity. Trees are excellent carbon gas absorbers, passive solar heating regulators and have been proven to make people feel happier, just by living near them.

Trees produce an oil called phytoncide, which is an antimicrobial compound known to ward off infections like antibiotics do. The chemical, transferred by scent is inhaled into our bodies. The physical act of hiking in a forest, exercises your body, which in turn, encourages your brain to release endorphins. Endorphins trigger a positive feeling that is similar to morphine.

Hundreds of senior scientists and clinicians from universities, hospitals and research institutes across Ontario Canada, collaborated in the development of a study that would query people about their lifestyles. It was hoped that data could be collected that would reveal risk factors of chronic disease. The group specifically wanted to investigate issues surrounding ailments like cancer, diabetes, heart disease, asthma and Alzheimers. Almost unexpectedly, responses showed that people who lived in or near areas of mature tree forests, tended to have quicker rates of post illness recovery and less evidence of the more severe, chronic illnesses.

People who live along tree lined streets, live happier and healthier lives and the planting of them, is a spectacular way to celebrate Earth Day!

Consider planting a tree for Earth Day; its our environment… let’s live in it wisely.

WWF’s 10 Year Earth Hour Milestone on Roncy

Earth Hour flyer shows time and location of start and finish on Roncesvalles.

Save the Date

Ten years ago, WWF initiated Earth Hour. It’s a symbolic time held worldwide to  encourage the global community to share the opportunities and challenges of creating a sustainable world. For one hour on one evening  in the month of March, we are all to turn off our lights and reduce our power draw, opting for candlelight instead.

In December of 2015, Paris hosted the United Nations Climate Change Conference or COP 21 in which, 196 representing countries or territorial parties agreed on a global commitment to reducing the effects of climate change. This agreement is intended to become law.

This past January, City Councillors Gord Perks & Sarah Doucette (representing Parkdale – High Park) held a “think tank” to get residents to weigh in on how they thought, we could work towards combating climate change. It was a packed house. I was there.

Supporting Earth Hour is one of my passions. In 2013 WWF Canada identified me as an Earth Hour Team Captain and I’ve been running with that moniker ever since. My name is Karyn Klaire Koski and my family has lived in Roncesvalles Village for 22 years.

Since 2010, I with other RoncyWorks members – and with the support of the BIA, have encouraged groups of Earth Hour Supporters to walk along Roncesvalles Avenue, in solidarity to represent our community’s voice. There are no protests. It’s just an ever increasing number of friends, families and neighbours, who walk together from the top to the bottom of “Roncy” holding lanterns or candles in jars, in the spirit of the occasion. Along the kilometre and a half stretch we pass candlelit restaurants, bistros and bars who signal their participation by turning off or dimming their lights.

Every year we try to do something a little different in the way of acoustic music, singing, art installations or give aways; and we invite the group to simply enjoy the experience. Many folks continue the celebration afterwards in one of the many participating “powered-down” businesses.


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As more and more people recognize ways to combat climate change, the easier it will be to educate, guide and combine our efforts effectively, when Nationwide guidelines will be put in place. Please join us.


Saturday March 19th (8:15 pm – 9:30 pm)
* Gather at 8:15 pm at the Dundas Roncesvalles Peace Garden
(near Starbucks at 2201 Dundas West at Roncesvalles), where hot beverages will be offered.

* Walk starts promptly at 8:30 p.m.

* Participants walk along the commercial side of Roncesvalles, 1.8 km.

* Walk concludes at the Roncesvalles Footbridge, near Beaty Boulevard Parkette
(King/Queen/Queensway intersection)

* All disperse by the end of the Globally recognized Hour. Walk takes about 30 min.

Cancelled in the event of heavy rain
Roncy Earth Hour Walk website

Facebook Event

Let’s Plant Trees


Trees add value to your property and heal the environment

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.


Reimagine your yard as a native treed forest

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

Shine Your Light


Kwanza |  Winter Solstice  | Christmas |  Hanukkah  | Yuletide

Calling All Groups!

Let’s fill the branches of the tree that is beside Roncesvalles United Church!  A community program to unite residents, show community spirit and celebrate all “light bearing” practices without ~ the excessive use of electrical power.


Let’s fill this tree with our Light!

Sponsor pre-crafted jars or make your own!  

Get it On site or Pre-order

For a suggested minimum donation of $15, you can purchase a light and then write your own message to place inside.  Whether you bring your own or get one on site, you can watch it be installed in the tree on December 5th, our crew will be there between 1 to 4.  

If you can’t be there during installation, you can pre-order your “Light” using the contact form at bottom of this page or from the Office of the Roncesvalles United Church  (formerly Emmanuel Howard Park United Church) just make your payment at the church before the deadline.

A RoncyWorks member will make certain a “Light” is hung for you. Net monies collected will go towards the Roncesvalles United Church’s free Holiday Meal Program, which is open to all.

December 5th, 2015 at 1 p.m.
Roncesvalles United Church Office at 214 Wright Avenue
Office hours: All day Sunday. Monday to Friday 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m..
Saturday at the Thrift Shop in the church basement from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

How To Do It Yourself:

  1. get an inexpensive solar light & mason jar (remove lid)
  2. acquire a bit of durable string or wire to hang your light with
  3. write a holiday message or blessing on a paper or coloured tissue and put inside
  4. assemble and hot glue solar disc onto mason jar
  5. drop it off at Roncesvalles United Church at 214 Wright Avenue (north side entrance) by December 5th, 1:00 p.m.


Throughout humanity, mankind has used the lighting of lights as a symbolic gesture of celebration, symbolism and reverence.  Whatever your belief system, how beautiful would it be to join together and share our own individual lights to celebrate the season, the community, our associations, our families – both here and gone.

“This little light of mine…. I’m going to let it shine”

Out of the darkness, light shall come ~ so share it with a neighbour.


Leave your Leaves


Clear only traffic areas of leaf debris

Clear your gutters, street drains and traffic areas of leaf debris but consider leaving your Autumn leaves in landscaped beds and mulched leaves on lawns.

Scientists world wide are urging home owners to adopt a more eco approach to how we can help create sustainable habitats for wee creatures like butterflies and beneficial insects and also, manufacturer our own healthy soil amendments.   Left alone in garden areas, leaves decompose with the assistance of little creatures and fungi – eventually the process turns the leafy accumulation into humous rich, earthy leaf mould & compost.  Besides, the insulating qualities of any blanketed organic matter, are known to protect and save delicate shrubs and perennials. Toronto winters get cold.

Depleting the earth of its own potential goodness is like removing important bacterial flora from our own bodies.  It just has to be replaced synthetically – use the real thing!

Throughout America, the National Wildlife Federation is campaigning the merits against over meticulous environmental care. We as RoncyWorks members and Roncesvalles area neighbours, ought to recognize such leaf saving benefits by supporting leaf – non collection strategies ourselves because such action plans are pro supportive towards Environmental Protection.


View large expanses of leaves – differently

Save your Back, save a Buck! 

It goes without saying; less raking reduces the risk of muscular injury.  But saving a buck?  Imagine never having to purchase fertilizer, bags of garden loam or mulch again.  By contributing to your own manufacturing of leaf mould, you will always have an economical abundance of nature’s bounty. That saves you money.   Many savvy gardeners are utilizing the benefits of autumn leaves.  Some use their lawnmowers or weed wackers to mulch leaves down so that they decompose faster. Left finely chopped on lawns, they deteriorate quickly and tend not to blow around.   Some collect surplus leaves in an uncovered bin and wait for the process of time to do its work. Its really quite easy. I personally have raked my leaves onto my landscaped flower beds for years, every spring I note how much better the earth has become. 


Make your own Leaf Mould & Yard Compost

If binned home leaf composting  isn’t your thing, rely on The City of Toronto’s leaf collecting system but do it in the Spring after you, your garden and the insects have  benefitted.

Think of life in forests.  No one rakes the accumulation of leaves, yet every spring decomposition has occurred because of the presence of beneficial fungi, insect life and the blanketing of snow.  As new growth pushes through the leafy floor,  the remainder of fallen leaves provide a rich mulch, that eventually breaks down and that process,  is a never ending natural cycle. – now take the forest example and apply it to your own garden. It’s simple, easy and free.