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Evergreen and Toronto Port Authority commit to bringing nature into the downtown core

November 6, 2014, Toronto, ON: Evergreen is proud to announce that the Toronto Port Authority has committed to support Evergreen’s Children’s programming with a $150,000 investment over a three-year period, as part of the Toyota Evergreen Learning Grounds Program.  

The investment will help turn six school grounds in Toronto’s downtown into thriving outdoor nature rich spaces for play and learning. Many of these schools are located in high-traffic neighbourhoods in the downtown core where there is a limited ability to connect with nature on a daily basis.

The schools that will directly benefit from the Toronto Port Authority’s support will be announced in January 2015, following a comprehensive review process by the Evergreen program selection committee.  

“There are a lot of advantages to living in the city, especially a city like Toronto,” said Deborah Wilson, Vice President of Communications and Public Affairs, Toronto Port Authority. “But there is sometimes a trade-off with an urban environment in that it lacks the green space that enables kids to connect with nature and get some dirt under their fingernails. The Toronto Port Authority is proud to support Evergreen’s Children’s Program which endeavours to bring nature to school grounds and create natural hubs where positive social interactions between students, teachers and the community as a whole develop.”

“Our children need to grow up connected to nature, especially in the city,” says Cam Collyer, Children’s Program Director at Evergreen. “Daily interactions with nature serve the development of the whole child – their bodies and minds as well as their social and emotional development.”

With support from the Toronto Port Authority, Evergreen will deliver a comprehensive and engaging program for schools in the downtown core that will include:

  • Workshops on topics to help build environmental knowledge with local communities
  • Site consultation and design proposals, providing recommendations for project plans incorporating best practices and addressing unique site design challenges
  • Funding to assist with the purchase of native plants, mulch, tree protection, natural seating components, watershed education features, environmental arts components, and other project materials
  • Tools for engaging students in urban watershed education

Based on consultation with schools to identify their needs and priorities, school projects will focus on helping green school grounds with native plants; create outdoor learning spaces; introduce arts and cultural elements with environmental themes; and, increase watershed awareness.

Applications for consideration in this program must be submitted by schools within the Toronto District School Board and the Toronto District Catholic School Board by Evergreen by November 14, 2014. Schools will be announced in January 2015 with project work beginning in spring 2015.


About Evergreen ( Founded in 1991, Evergreen is national charity whose mission is to inspire and enable action to green cities. Through our flagship initiatives, we have helped restore and conserve nature in over 2,000 parks and public spaces, and have impacted the daily learning experience of over 1 million young people across the country. Today, we are expanding on those successes to improve the health of our growing urban population, promote sustainable lifestyle choices, and to re-imagine the way in which our cities are built and operated. Since its inception, our award-winning Children’s programming has helped transform over 3,000 school grounds, providing a comprehensive toolkit of training, resources, and funding to green school grounds across the country.

About Toronto Port Authority ( For more than 100 years the Toronto Port Authority has worked with its partners at the federal, provincial and municipal levels to enhance the economic growth of the City of Toronto and the Greater Toronto Area. The Toronto Port Authority owns and operates Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport, which welcomes more than two million passengers each year; the Outer Harbour Marina, one of Canada's largest freshwater marinas; and, Terminals 51 and 52, which provide transportation, distribution, storage and container services to businesses at the Port of Toronto. The Toronto Port Authority is committed to fostering strong, healthy and sustainable communities and has invested more than $5.6 million since 2009 in charitable initiatives and environmental programs that benefit communities along Toronto's waterfront and beyond. TPA operates in accordance with the Canada Marine Act and is guided by a nine-member board with representation from all three levels of government.

For more information, please contact:

Anthony Westenberg

416-596-1495 x 332

Erin Mikaluk
Toronto Port Authority

Kids helping build their new playground Kids posing in the playground

Kids enjoying their new school grounds. (photo: Evergreen)

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