It all began in 1991, over 30 years ago, when our founder Geoff Cape and a few friends sat around a kitchen table and asked themselves, “What if we brought nature back into the heart of our cities?” With that question, The Evergreen Foundation was established. This small, passionate group of people got together and started planting trees. The aim back then was simple: to make Toronto a greener city.
But an amazing thing happened when those trees took root: people came to see them and take joy in their presence. Over time, patterns began to form, strengthening the communities that came to enjoy the places where we worked. We learned pretty quickly that the work we were doing to transform places was great for people and nature alike.
Three decades on and we’ve grown from a few volunteers to a nationwide non-profit organization, Evergreen, and our impact has grown with it. We’ve evolved from wanting to make just one city a little greener to working with communities across the country to make public places better and ensure that every city — from coast to coast to coast — is bursting with life. Join us!
A kitchen table conversation leads to the birth of Evergreen and its first event, 80 children planting seedlings in Toronto.
Launch of the first greening schools grounds project (a program that still runs today), and communities begin to take note of our work.
We partner with Project Regeneration to plant 3000 trees across Ontario in the wake of the worst winter storm in a century.
We launch the Millennium Project, helping to transform thousands of degraded urban spaces across Canada into great places for communities and nature.
We begin the work to redevelop Evergreen Brick Works from a historic, industrial site into the vibrant, nature-filled place it is today.
We launch the first Farmer’s Market at Evergreen Brick Works, despite a widespread belief that “no one will come” — we now host 500,000 visitors every year…
Evergreen Brick Works opens as a fully developed 365 day a year place for people to gather, appreciate nature, and enjoy a refuge in the heart of Toronto.
Our volunteer numbers reach 10,000 a year across Canada for the first time.
We launch Project Green Bloc in British Columbia, an initiative that plays a major role in helping the City of Vancouver meet its Greenest City Action Plan 2020 sustainability goals.
We bring together 350 of the brightest minds in city planning to strategize about the infrastructure challenges facing our cities through our new CityWorks Leaders Council.
Future Cities Canada launches at an inaugural summit with over 2,000 city builders from the public and private space joining together to reimagine the future.
We created the Community Solutions Network, as part of the Government of Canada’s Smart Cities Challenge, to connect communities across the country and build a national centre of excellence.
Canada’s first Climate Ready School , Irma Coulson Public School, opens in partnership with the Halton District School Board.
As we look to the future, we see that our work has never been more urgent. Across Canada, the number of people living in cities continues to rise, and that requires us to use our public spaces to inspire a healthier future for all of us.
What we started over 30 years ago was an organization that has evolved into a powerful instigator and proponent of change. We’re fortunate to work at the centre of a national network of community members, placemakers, and investors who are dedicated to transforming public spaces for the health of people and our planet.
Through the knowledge, expertise, and partnerships that we’ve built since that kitchen table conversation all those years ago, we’ve learned firsthand that transforming public spaces transforms communities, that nature is central to our wellbeing, and that inclusive, green public places reconnect us to what matters most. And that’s why we do what we do. After all these years, we’re more passionate than ever about creating places where the needs of people and nature are balanced, places that show that human activity doesn’t have to mean environmental destruction, and ultimately, connecting people with their community and the world around them.