TORONTO, Feb. 17, 2015 /CNW/ - Toronto Councillor Michelle Berardinetti (Ward 35 Scarborough Southwest), Chair of the Parks and Environment Committee; Councillor Glenn De Baeremaeker (Ward 38 Scarborough Centre), Toronto's Tree Advocate; Councillor Mary-Margaret McMahon (Ward 32 Beaches-East York), Councillor Paula Fletcher (Ward 30 Toronto-Danforth) and City staff recognized the sponsors of Trees Across Toronto at a ceremony held at Toronto City Hall this evening.
"A livable Toronto starts with doing the right thing and restoring our beloved urban landscape," said Mayor John Tory. "As Mayor, I am committed to increasing the tree canopy cover and I applaud the work of Trees Across Toronto, an excellent example of the private and public sector working together to create a more beautiful and healthy Toronto."
Trees Across Toronto brings together government, residents and the private sector to grow our urban forest by planting trees in parks. The program was established in 1999 by then Deputy Mayor Joe Pantalone, who was the City's first Tree Advocate.
This year's sponsors include Toronto Parking Authority, Toronto Hydro, Enbridge Gas Distribution, HSBC Bank Canada, Lomco Landscape Contractors and Toronto Parks and Trees Foundation.
"The City of Toronto's Parks and Environment Committee's primary focus is to monitor and make recommendations on the sustainable use of Toronto's natural environment," said Councillor Berardinetti. "We need to continue to take action to protect, maintain and grow our urban forests."
"Toronto's urban forest is the vital green infrastructure that creates healthy neighbourhoods, supports habitats and biodiversity, promotes clean air and water, offers opportunities for recreation and education, fosters economic prosperity, and enhances quality of life for everyone in the city," said Councillor De Baeremaeker. "We thank our sponsors of Trees Across Toronto for their generous contribution to replenishing Toronto's trees."
"The sponsors of the Trees Across Toronto program, whom we honour tonight, fulfil our aim to maximize tree species diversity, as this provides increased resiliency when certain species are threatened," said Councillor McMahon. I am honoured to present gavels to City of Toronto Speaker Councillor Frances Nunziata and the Community Council Chairs, as well as a shovel to the Tree Advocate, all made from the iconic Maple Leaf Forever Tree."
Two of the Community Council Chairs were at today's event and received their gavels: Councillor Mike Layton (Ward 19 Trinity-Spadina), Chair of Toronto and East York Community Council, and Councillor Maria Augimeri (Ward 9 York Centre), Chair of North York Community Council.
The devastation of trees caused by the ice storm of 2013, Emerald Ash Borer infestation and other causes of ongoing tree mortality make it important to plant more trees. Toronto has approximately 860,000 ash trees and it is expected that the Emerald Ash Borer will kill most of them by 2017. The sponsors and volunteers who worked on Trees Across Toronto in 2014 contributed to counteracting the effects of the Emerald Ash Borer by adding to and reducing the likelihood that Toronto will be invaded by other forest pests.
From February 15 to 18, a selection from the 410 items produced from the Maple Leaf Forever Tree is on display in the City Hall rotunda. The display includes pieces commissioned by the Royal Ontario Museum, Ontario Heritage Trust and the Toronto Public Library.
The tree is believed to have been the inspiration for Alexander Muir's song, The Maple Leaf Forever. Since the tree fell in a summer storm in 2013, the City has engaged in activities with local designers and wood crafts people to preserve the tree's legacy. Many of the items produced will be on display in museums and historical societies across Canada.
Toronto's urban forest contributes significantly to Toronto's livability. When a tree is planted, it contributes to making Toronto a green and healthy city. Approximately 10.2 million trees have been planted through the volunteer planting effort since 1999.
More information about tree planting and Trees Across Toronto is available at http://www.toronto.ca/parks/engagement/tat.
Toronto is Canada's largest city, the fourth largest in North America, and home to a diverse population of about 2.8 million people. It is a global centre for business, finance, arts and culture and is consistently ranked one of the world's most livable cities. Toronto is proud to be the Host City for the 2015 Pan American and Parapan American Games. For information on non-emergency City services and programs, Toronto residents, businesses and visitors can visit http://www.toronto.ca, call 311, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, or follow us @TorontoComms.
SOURCE City of Toronto
For further information: Media contact: Rob Richardson, Parks, Forestry and Recreation, 416-527-2997, firstname.lastname@example.org