Protecting Our Local Tree Canopy

Trees are the lungs of our City – studies show a direct correlation between the well-being of our city and the strength of our urban forest. Toronto’s trees store 1.1 million metric tonnes of carbon, which is equivalent to the yearly carbon emissions from over 700,000 automobiles.

During a hot Toronto summer, our tree canopy provides a much-needed cooling effect by offering shade and transpiring water. Trees have proven to be an efficient and cost-effective method of alleviating the urban heat island effect – which occurs when the densely packed buildings and paved surfaces that make up our downtown core trap heat and cause the city to warm.

As a City Councillor, I've spearheaded multiple initiatives to protect and enhance Toronto's urban tree canopy. Last week at City Council, I successfully moved two motions to help ensure proper planning measures are in place to preserve trees on active construction sites. While not all trees on building sites can be preserved, those in good health with strong structural integrity should always be protected.
Despite my ongoing efforts to strengthen our tree protection bylaws, your feedback has indicated that many developers continue to disregard mandatory Tree Protection Zones during the construction process. Once root damage has been sustained, it is extremely difficult to bring a tree back to good health, making it imperative that reported bylaw contraventions are inspected in a timely manner. I've directed Urban Forestry staff to develop strategies to improve the City's standard response time to reports of urgent tree-related violations.
With this in mind, I'm excited to announce that, this fall, Urban Forestry is planting 364 native trees across ten parks in Ward 15. The parks receiving this treatment are:

  • Cotswold Park

  • Evergreen Gardens Park

  • Lord Seaton Park

  • Mallory Green Park

  • Owen Park

  • Sunnybrook Park

  • Tournament Park

  • Wanless Park

  • Windfields Park

  • Yorkminster Park

In addition to beautifying our neighbourhoods, a stronger Ward 15 tree canopy will improve biodiversity, restore the native plant community, and prevent soil erosion.

Ward 15 is fortunate to have one of the densest tree canopies in all of Toronto. As your City Councillor, I will continue to support policies that protect our urban forest and green spaces for generations to come.

Update on Toronto's Gypsy Moth Program

Last month, the City of Toronto began its Aerial Spray program.

The program will be conducted until June 15 to manage the high levels of gypsy moth caterpillars in certain Toronto neighbourhoods. Caterpillars feed on the leaves of oak and other tree species, which can severely weaken or kill trees.

The first round of treatment was applied from May 26-27 and a second round will be applied from June 6-7 in some areas of Ward 15. Residents are encouraged to check for updates on the City's website here, or call 311 for additional information. A map of the designated spray areas, which identifies each location's specific spray date, is also available here.

During the aerial spray, two helicopters will fly about 15 to 30 metres above the tree canopy to apply a biological insecticide. The product must be applied directly to tree foliage, as gypsy moth caterpillars must feed on the treated leaves for the insecticide to be effective. No special precautions are required for residents in the spray zone.

In addition to ground-based control methods, the Aerial Spray program is an important initiative to protect the City's tree canopy.