Evergreen's 2013 Annual Report

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Action, Engagement, Empowerment, Change

Evergreen’s 2013 Annual Report

Welcome to the 2013 Evergreen Annual Report—our inaugural digital edition showcasing the incredible impact we created, together, across the country.

Together we greened more communities and schools than ever, expanded our urban ecology and education activities to embrace watershed ecosystems, connected more people to healthy food systems and launched CityWorks to push the envelope on how we design and plan our cities.

Thank you for your support in creating greener, healthier cities for all Canadians.

Thank You from Geoff

Our Impact

Evergreen’s approach to greening cities is straightforward—we connect people, inspire them with possibilities and support them to take action. But the true power and potential for greener cities lies in the desire for change and in the strength that diverse networks bring to identify and design solutions, and turn ideas into action.

Connecting and Convening

Evergreen creates a collaborative environment for change by bringing diverse stakeholders together to build strong networks. We are committed to providing programs that are accessible and inclusive:

Design and Demonstrate

Through transforming barren and underutilized school grounds and parks into dynamic public spaces, and showcasing best practices in green design at Evergreen Brick Works, Evergreen offers unique ‘living laboratories’ for the green city.

Hands-on Action

Rolling up our sleeves to plant trees, create native plant and food-growing gardens, learning how to fix a bike—these are some of the ways Evergreen engages and empowers Canadians every day.

Education and Support

Evergreen builds knowledge to take action by providing high quality educational resources, design support and seed funding.

Scaling for Systems Impact

Building at the grassroots, Evergreen engages leaders and policymakers who can advance sustainable policies and programs at the institutional level. This, in combination with hosting the large-scale demonstration venue of Evergreen Brick Works, allows Evergreen to scale our mission for long-term systems impact.

Program Highlights

Evergreen’s programs saw modest growth over 2013 while we focused on deepening our impact and reaching new audiences in our four key areas. Below are some of the highlights and successes from 2013 in Greenspace, Children, Food and CityWorks.


Photo: Mike Derblich

In 1991, Evergreen hosted its first community tree-planting day in Toronto’s Riverdale East Park. Over 1,000 volunteers came out on a rain-soaked day to help kick-start the revitalization of Toronto’s Lower Don Valley watershed and bring nature back to their city.

More than 20 years later, Evergreen’s Greenspace program is going strong across Canada, and the trees and shrubs that were planted in 1991 are a maturing forest today, connecting greenways to the broader Don River watershed.

From day one, people have connected to their local landscapes through our Greenspace program, while we’ve sought creative ways to collaborate and get people involved.

"I’ve always left the Evergreen events with easy-to-implement tips to improve my gardening and waste management skills. I am much more aware of how I can contribute to preserve and enhance our local environment." 
	- Marly Hurtado, Richmond Hill Community Member

Increasingly, this work is taking a broader ecological perspective to restoring degraded and fragmented ecosystems, beyond individual parks or municipalities.

In York Region, our Greenspace team is contributing to the health of the York Region Forest, improving the forest canopy as it connects multiple municipalities.

In Vancouver and Toronto, HSBC Canada is making possible the Uncover Your Creeks initiative, a watershed-wide stewardship program with a focus on engaging youth to improve water quality through planting and monitoring activities and infield studies.

Our dedicated volunteers get dirty rain or shine!

Photo: Henry Vanderspek

I'll never forget the tree-planting event on October 26 at Sussex Park. It was really inspiring to see more than 20 people of all ages planting trees in the rain at 4 F and wind gusts of +40 km/h. That was commitment!”—Evergreen Volunteer

Featured Stories:

Canon and Evergreen help thirty community groups across Canada plant native trees with $150,000

Evergreen is pleased to announce the 2013 recipients of Canon’s Take Root…

Greenspace Sep 23, 2013
Reflecting in the Renfrew Ravine

Guided by the vision of Artistic Director Carmen Rosen, and the passion and commitment…

Greenspace Jun 13, 2013
The children’s garden brings natural therapy to the Hincks-Dellcrest Centre

Carol Knibbe, an art therapist at The Hincks-Dellcrest Centre, noticed traditional therapy…

Greenspace Sep 23, 2013


The trend towards Canadian childhood moving indoors and becoming sedentary is alarming. Obesity rates are on the rise and a growing number of children do not achieve the minimum physical activity requirements. Our Children’s program seeks to reverse these trends by supporting active, outdoor learning and play in nature.

Providing children with dynamic natural school grounds does more than connect children with nature—it supports creativity and imagination and offers the spark for life long appreciation of the environment.

From coast-to-coast, schools have received help from Evergreen and incorporated trees, shrubs, wildflowers, vegetable gardens, vines, sculptures, murals, shaded areas and seating into school grounds. The learning opportunities for children have literally come alive.

"We’ve seen a big change. Naturally kids are more engaged outside. It’s more hands on. You see their natural sense of wonder come out.” - Teacher, Ecole Burton Ettinger School, Halifax, Nova Scotia

In 2013, our Children’s program provided design, educational and financial support to over 1,100 schools. 2013 also marked several key watershed moments:

  • Evergreen strengthened the international network of activists and educators, designers and policymakers working to increase children’s exposure to nature by hosting the Nature School Conference—the biggest gathering of national international leading professionals on this topic in Canada.
  • The Children’s Program launched our newest publication, ‘Landscape and Child Development’, to meet the growing demand for outdoor playspaces as Full Day Kindergarten expands and demand from early years learning centres grows.
  • Our Children’s Program at Evergreen Brick Works continued to evolve and expand with a strong focus on reaching out to our site neighbours, many of whom are newcomers to Canada.

Photo: KJ Bush

[The Green City Adventure Camp] hits at the core of what every child needs: an opportunity to explore, get dirty, build confidence and connect to their environment in an intimate way. The values at the camp are often lost in our urban world, and they are so important to healthy growth, healthy individuals, healthy communities and a healthy planet.”—Green City Adventure Camp Parent

Featured Stories:

Benefits outweigh the risks in outdoor education at the 2013 Nature School Conference

In late September, Evergreen and the International School Grounds Alliance…

Children Nov 19, 2013
Science and nature meet at Langevin School’s outdoor classroom

Langevin School in Calgary is well-known for its inquiry-based Science Alternative Program…

Children Feb 28, 2013
New resource for designing kindergarten play spaces

Green play spaces can make a huge difference for our younger students—especially at a time…

Children Mar 11, 2013


Sustainable cities are those with strong connections to where their food comes from and that advocate for healthy, nutritious and affordable food grown close to home. Evergreen’s Food programs help people create and steward food gardens, educate for healthy eating and support farmers and producers who are good stewards of the land.

[Our farm’s] weekly sales at the farmer’s market have been consistently strong over the years…We believe that the Evergreen Farmer’s Market is quite simply the best farmer’s market in the city. And that’s saying a lot because there are some fantastic markets out there. What sets EFM apart is their staff’s ambitious and creative planning, their organizational skills, the unique facilities, and the eclectic mix of high quality vendors.”—EBW Farm Vendor

In 2013, our community garden activities expanded across Canada, with orchards that engage youth, a community garden at Vancouver’s City Hall, several community partner sites and a stronger suite of design services.

We deepened our educational programming at Evergreen Brick Works with cooking workshops and community kitchen sessions for audiences from children to seniors, connecting field with table. Evergreen hosted 71 food classes for children, weaving culture and storytelling to build knowledge about healthy food systems.

Highlights also include hosting Aboriginal children from Native Children and Family Services in our first ever Locavore Camp, offering food growing, cooking, foraging and a visit to a local farm. Children also had the chance to visit the Farmers’ Market, talk to the farmers and sample different foods, many of which they had not had before.

The Evergreen Brick Works Farmers’ Market continued to thrive, building a community of people looking to make better food choices about food and contributing $3.9 M to the local economy. Over 70 vendors take part in our market, representing 35 family farms.

Unique partnerships, such as with Second Harvest, also helped make high quality local food accessible. We are grateful to the generosity of our Farmers’ Market vendors for making this possible.

"During our Fall 2013 Recovery Program, we received 80 lbs of bread, 20 lbs of prepared food, and 1,000 lbs of produce for a total of 1,100 pounds of food from you.” - Second Harvest, Donor Relations Coordinator

Featured Stories:

Bridging generations through shared learning at Le Chou community garden

With the official start of summer only a week behind us, food growing in Vancouver…

Food Jun 26, 2013
Kids will eat anything (if they help to make it)!

I started facilitating the Growing Taste Buds cooking class last winter, and as a holistic nutritionist…

Food Feb 20, 2013
Farmers’ markets: harvesting good health

It’s that wonderful time of year again when snowflakes float through the air, holiday lights twinkle…

Food Dec 2, 2013


In 2013, Evergreen CityWorks took a big step forward with new leadership and a new strategic direction for engaging Canadians in building better cities. Evergreen CityWorks seeks alternative solutions to current challenges posed by costly and environmentally unsustainable urban infrastructure. We bring new people and voices into the conversation, finding innovative ideas, testing them and giving them the support they need to thrive.

…the conference deals with the problems—and fresh solutions—of cities: creaky infrastructure (and government structures and processes that are obsolete, too), sustainability, technology, and providing ever more services to urban dwellers with shrinking natural resources and shrinking city budgets.”—Huffington Post

In 2013, CityWorks worked across sectors and scales—from the neighbourhood up to the city, from the regional to the international level. In Vancouver, the Project Green Bloc initiative helped residential neighbourhoods work together to identify ways of reducing their impact on the environment.

We launched the CityWorks Leaders Council to help strategize on infrastructure challenges facing our cities nation-wide and we hosted an international conference, Meeting of the Minds, with over 350 thought leaders.

We also advanced key priority projects focusing on two of the most significant urban infrastructure challenges: transportation and housing.

Environmentalism is not a specialty or discipline but a way of seeing our place in the biosphere. I can't think of a better way to appreciate that perspective than the kind of local initiative represented by Project Green Bloc.—David Suzuki

Profile: Move the GTHA

The Greater Toronto Hamilton Area has among the worst congestion and the longest commute time in North America. The average commuter spends 82 minutes a day in traffic and this is predicted to increase to 109 minutes in next 25 years. We need better transit to improve liveability.

Move the GTHA is a collaborative of over 36 groups representing health, labour, business, environment, education, citizen advocacy and active transportation pushing for public investment in our regional transportation system. Evergreen CityWorks is helping to facilitate this collaboration and raise public awareness.

Through our innovative outreach initiatives including the Air Miles for Social Change Campaign, we reached over one million people and convened over 30 public speaking events/information sessions involving 150 representatives from area municipalities. We prepared open letters to elected officials, position papers, press releases, video and an active social media campaign to drive awareness and support for transportation and transit expansion.

The movethegtha.com website had over 40,000 visits in its first six months and over 25,000 surveys on transportation were completed within two days. The desire for an alternative regional transportation system is growing—one that helps people move more efficiently, is better for our economy and significantly reduces greenhouse gas emissions and impact on air quality from car travel.

Featured Stories:

Meeting of the Minds: harnessing data and technology to build better cities

In the midst of a September heat advisory, Meeting of the Minds convened at…

CityWorks Sep 18, 2013
Project Green Bloc: working to reduce our impact on our planet, one neighbourhood at a time

As the world rapidly becomes more urbanized, cities are finding new ways to reduce…

CityWorks May 30, 2013
It’s time to MOVE on gridlock in the GTHA

There’s no getting around it. The Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA) is choking on traffic…

CityWorks Jun 10, 2013

Financial Statements

Sources of donations and other revenues

How we applied our funds

Our Supporters

We are grateful to the support of our sponsors, donors and partners for their contributions to creating and delivering Evergreen’s inclusive, accessible programs in 2013.