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Solutions We Championed in 2020

Before we turn the page on 2020, let’s take a closer look at some of the ideas that came to life this year.

Published on December 15, 2020

At Evergreen, we believe in building cities better. We’re constantly looking for scalable solutions to create more innovative, sustainable and connected communities. 

But like the rest of the world, we had to rethink many of those solutions this year. As the pandemic shutdown public spaces across the country this spring, we had to discover new ways to gather and innovate. 

And that’s just what we did. We reimagined our annual cities summit into Future Cities Canada: #UnexpectedSolutions, a six-week virtual gathering of the leading voices in city-building. We found new ways to connect with our community and expand our commitment to ravine stewardship and outdoor learning. 

Many of the solutions we championed this year will adapt and grow in the coming weeks and months. Before we turn the page on 2020, let’s take a closer look at some of the ideas that came to life this year. 

Heading into the Ravines 

Public space is essential to healthy, inclusive cities. This year has only emphasized what we already knew: Residents need access to green space to explore and connect with nature. 

For decades, Evergreen has been deeply connected to urban ravines, with some of its earliest work including tree planting within the Don Valley. 

We’ve continued this work in the midst of the pandemic, encouraging residents to safely enjoy the ravine system in a time when distanced outdoor activity is so critical to our health.  

At the start of 2020, we embarked on a partnership with the City of Toronto and the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority, to create the Loop Trail, a continuous, 81-kilometre off-road, multi-use ring trail, knitting together five Ravine Priority Investment Areas, 22 Neighbourhood Improvement Areas, the Humber River and Don River ravine systems, the waterfront and neighbourhoods along the Finch hydro corridor. 

It’s just one example of our commitment to creating greener, more livable cities. Learn more about one of the largest ravine systems in the world with “A Watershed Moment, Toronto Ravines – Past , Present Future,” a session from #UnexpectedSolutions, available to watch free, on-demand, wherever you are.  

Climate-Ready Schools 

This year also brought the next chapter of Evergreen’s work with outdoor learning. 

We launched our Climate-Ready Schools program, which will transform school grounds across Canada into spaces for outdoor learning and play, designed to mitigate the impacts of climate change. 

The program’s first pilot began with the Halton District School Board this fall. The grounds of an existing school in the region will be redesigned to facilitate outdoor learning, while managing storm water and providing shade to help with temperature control.  

The project uses Evergreen’s unique child-friendly participatory design process to create a space that nurtures child development while increasing climate resilience.  

It’s only the beginning of a program that will take Evergreen’s unique perspective on school ground design into the next decade. Learn more about bringing design, inclusion and investment in green school grounds with the “Learning Outside at Schools: Future, Fad, or Fantasy?” session.  

#UnexpectedSolutions 

As a founding partner of Future Cities Canada, the national cross-sector initiative designed to accelerate innovation to transform cities, we hosted #UnexpectedSolutions, a six-week program that brought together leaders and innovators from across sectors to connect and discuss big, bold ideas through virtual programming.  

In over 60+ sessions, panelists discussed the most pressing issues our communities face — housing affordability, climate change, mental wellness, income inequality, and access to nature. 

From live demonstrations to interactive seminars and fireside chats, we facilitated a one-of-a-kind conversation that reached every corner of our country. More than 3,000 city builders engaged in critical discussions about cities, demonstrating the reach and impact of virtual gatherings. 

These conversations have been captured, and can be watched free, on-demand on the Community Solutions Portal. Explore the sessions today, to hear unique perspectives on how to build better, more livable cities.  

Support Our Impact

Many of the solutions we championed this year are just beginning. The need for innovative ways to gather, and the facilitation of important conversations about sustainability, public space and connection, will only grow stronger.  

We hope you will join us in seeking out new solutions. Donate today to help us do this important work.