With concerns arising over downtown’s dwindling tree canopy, the Cabbagetown Residents Association (CRA) is encouraging residents to get a free tree through a City of Toronto program.
The CRA, formerly known as the Don Vale Cabbagetown Residents Association, has started a tree canopy committee and has canvassed the neighbourhood in hopes of getting people to allow a new tree to be planted on their properties.
A campaign began in earnest in the spring and now the committee is reaching out once again to let residents know about it.
“We’re seeing a lot of older trees that are falling down or have to be cut down,” said Jim Rowat of the Cabbagetown Canopy Committee. “We’re just looking to enhance the tree canopy in Cabbagetown.”
The program was inspired by a similar initiative in Leslieville and will allow residents to have their choice of more than 30 different types of trees. The committee is recommending 11 different types they said will contribute more to the area’s tree canopy.
“There’s a range, from smaller, more compact trees to large, deciduous trees such as oak trees,” Rowat said. “Some species are more suitable to different sites than others, but there’s a good choice.”
The CRA also aims to help improve the streetscape along Parliament Street and is looking to partner with the Cabbagetown BIA to make that happen.
The residents association is now taking a more active role than ever before in helping to improve the Cabbagetown community. While it has always been a positive force in the community, it now has committees looking at the tree canopy, safety and security in the area, schools and more.
The canopy committee has reached out to residents on an individual level as well as at local festivals, and has also hosted guided tree tours with help from not-for-profit urban forestry advocacy group Local Enhancement and Appreciation of Forests (LEAF.)
“We’ve had information sessions and training sessions with the city forester to identify the opportunities and limitations of planting here or there,” Rowat said.
While the city’s tree planting program is free to all, many are unaware it exists. The CRA is looking to get the word out and make it easier for Cabbagetown residents to fill out the proper forms, which can be accessed at http://cabbagetowner.com/focus/canopy/freetree
The free trees are planted on the city’s street allowance, which usually stretches a few feet into the front yards of homes. Backyard trees are also available through LEAF at www.yourleaf.org
The CRA also offers advice to residents who are interested in the program and is always seeking new volunteers. Anyone interested is asked to send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org