More than 85 percent of Canadians currently live in cities. Canada’s transformation from a largely rural, agricultural population last century into today’s dynamic and cosmopolitan society has been accompanied by great changes in the ways we live our lives. Many of these changes have been overwhelmingly positive, but our development into an ever more urban country has also meant that our disconnect from nature has never been greater—causing problems for the health of the environment, our communities and our economy.
Evergreen is a national not-for-profit that has been working since 1991 to restore the connection between Canada’s cities and the natural environment. Evergreen builds partnerships with diverse groups and engages key influencers and the public to inspire local action and create sustainable urban development. Our work is driven by a belief in the power of people to enact positive change to restore the natural health of their communities.
Evergreen Brick Works is a unique development in the heart of Toronto’s Don Valley that serves as the site of Evergreen’s national headquarters. As a community environmental centre, it offers visitors the chance to draw upon Evergreen’s years of experience building green communities across Canada, and to participate in a range of programs intended to empower members of the public to get involved in cultivating new ideas.
The Evergreen Way: Working together
Over the years, Evergreen has been greatly enriched by our ability to collaborate effectively with so many passionate organizations across the country. Working in partnership with governments, agencies, other non-government organizations, community groups, and corporations, we strive to make our communities more vibrant, sustainable and inclusive:
- Working with Sketch, a Toronto working arts group for street-involved and homeless youth, collaborating on social enterprise opportunities
- Building outdoor classrooms with YMCA daycare services
- Building green roofs for cats at Humane Societies across Canada
- Supporting Homegrown National Parks with the David Suzuki Foundation
- Creating bicycle hubs to develop skills building, bike safety and peer-to-peer learning at Wellesley, Jamestown, Thorncliffe, Rivertown community centres in Toronto
- Growing community gardens and hosting cooking workshops with Boys and Girls Clubs
- Farmers' Market vendors sharing their bounty with Second Harvest
These examples just scratch the surface of Evergreen’s range of partnerships. We’ve shared our knowledge and experiences with a wide variety of social actors, and in so doing have woven the environment into discussions on city building, the economy and society while demonstrating that inspiring action to green cities is a rewarding and worthwhile effort.
A community is best measured not just by economic indicators, but by how much positive creativity and collaboration can happen between people who share a commitment to caring deeply about others and where they live. At Evergreen we celebrate and seek out connections, forming a web that helps keep our communities stitched together. We're honoured to be part of this web and to get so much out of these relationships.