Project breathes new life into apartment lawns

Monday, October 19, 2015

The W. Garfield Weston Foundation announced it will commit $5 million over three years toward the Weston Family Parks Challenge, an initiative launched in 2014 to help ensure the long-term sustainability of Toronto’s parks.

One of the projects under the Challenge gaining attention is the San Romanoway Revival Project. The goal of the project is to transform the lawns surrounding three apartment towers in the Jane and Finch neighbourhood into vibrant community green space. The San Romanoway site is a 3.2 hectare area housing over 4,300 people.

Proposed improvements to the site include an orchard, vegetable gardens, and native plants and trees to increase biodiversity and connect the community to nature. In addition, a landscape skills training program and a small market are being planned to help create income opportunities for residents.

Proposed new San Romanoway site features:

  • Toronto’s largest urban orchard
  • Native trees, shrubs & pollinator gardens
  • A 63-plot allotment garden
  • Rainwater harvesting facilities to support the gardens
  • Composting facilities
  • Job training programs and income opportunities within the site
  • Shaded seating areas
  • Walking trails
  • Nature-focussed and urban agriculture programming
  • Educational signage

Facts about the San Romanoway Revival project:

  • 400 residents provided input into the site plan
  • Over 80 per cent of residents expressed a desire to grow their own fruits & vegetables
  • Project will be used as a demonstration project for the Toronto and Region Conservation’s Sustainable Neighbourhood Retrofit Action Plan (SNAP), funded in part by the Living City Foundation
  • Project is in cooperation and aligns with the City of Toronto’s Tower Renewal program
  • A unique partnership between the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA), private property owners, City of Toronto Tower Renewal, San Romanoway Revitalization Association, Black Creek Community Farm, FoodShare, Orchard People

This program is funded through the Weston Family Parks Challenge, a collaboration of The W. Garfield Weston Foundation and Ontario Trillium Foundation and administered by Park People.



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