Scope of Operations & Activities
Metropolitan Area
Non-Profit or Non Governmental
General Issues
Planning & Development
Specific Topics
Sustainable Development
Food & Nutrition
Evergreen Website


Evergreen Foundation TEST

October 14, 2021 Pan Khantidhara, Participedia Team
October 13, 2021 Pan Khantidhara, Participedia Team
July 12, 2021 Jaskiran Gakhal, Participedia Team
March 30, 2019 Scott Fletcher Bowlsby
September 30, 2018 Scott Fletcher Bowlsby
September 28, 2018 Scott Fletcher Bowlsby
August 2, 2016 Thamypog
Scope of Operations & Activities
Metropolitan Area
Non-Profit or Non Governmental
General Issues
Planning & Development
Specific Topics
Sustainable Development
Food & Nutrition
Evergreen Website

The Evergreen Foundation is Canadian non-profit dedicated to ecological research, design and collaborative initiatives. By improving interdependencies between people, the natural environment, and the man-made world, Evergreen promotes sustainability in cities. Test

Mission and Purpose

The Evergreen Foundation is dedicated to “inspiring action to green cities” through research, design and collaborative initiatives. By improving the interconnections and interdependencies between people, nature, and the built world, Evergreen aims to help cities thrive in a sustainable manner. According to the group’s vision, “involving people directly in the process of restoring the health of local ecologies and their communities positively affects the attitudes and behaviours that lie at the core of the sustainable city” (About Evergreen).

Origins and Development

The Evergreen Foundation is a Canadian charity and international thought leader established in 1991. For over 25 years, Evergreen has been working in collaboration with diverse communities using a systems approach which recognizes people, places and environmental issues as “part of interdependent, complex social and economic systems” (About Evergreen). In total, over 200,000 volunteers have devoted more than 600,000 hours to Evergreen’s programs, greening public spaces and leading various projects in their communities. Their goal to turn innovative ideas into actionable projects is sought through a mix of engagement strategies, which aim to be playful and optimistic yet empowering and designed to initiate change. Throughout their history, Evergreen has and continues to be dedicated to the principle of accountability, ensuring that the delivery of programs is up to the standard of the communities and that those who put in time and effort are rewarded in kind.

By the numbers:

  • 600,000 hours put in by over 200,000 volunteers
  • Over 1 million children in 25% of Canadian schools reached through the Toyota Evergreen Learning Grounds and 70,000 kids enrolled in Evergreen Brick Works outdoor learning
  • Over 500 community recipients of Evergreen grants and partnerships
  • 1,511,692 trees, shrubs, and other greenery planted, and close to 4 million square metres naturalized across Canada
  • Almost $5 million invested in the local food economy and 686,542 pounds of food harvested from community gardens (Our Impact)

Organizational Structure, Membership, and Funding

Funding for Evergreen

Evergreen has numerous public and private sponsors and supporters, a full list of which is available here.

National Partner: Toyota Canada Inc. and its Dealerships have worked with the foundation for over 12 years, distributed more than $2.8 million in grants to over 2,350 schools and day cares with an estimated impact on over 1 million students and close to 100,000 school faculty members. 

Lead Partner: the Government of Ontario with its various ministries has partnered with Evergreen since the foundation’s inception. Together, this collaborative effort has made possible the realization of Evergreen’s goals: to “bring greenspace to cities across the province; find and share solutions to urban infrastructure and transportation challenges; and provide children, seniors, and families education about sustainable local food systems” (Sponsors and Supporters).

Other major contributors: Walmart Canada (Evergreen’s “Green Grants”), HSBC Bank Canada (Evergreen’s Greenspace program), and the J.W. McConnell Family Foundation (Evergreen’s Canadian Civic Commons Strategy – in progress).

Funding Provided by Evergreen

From 2000-2015, Evergreen and Walmart offered the “Green Grants” which supported over 600 school greening projects. The “Toyota Evergreen Learning Grounds” program gives resources to “help schools create outdoor classrooms to provide students with a healthy place to play, learn and develop a genuine respect for nature” (Grants). Since the grant was first offered in 2000, over 3000 schools across Canada have received funds to help engage their students in outdoors activities, build respect for nature, and learn about their surroundings while having fun.

The RBC–Evergreen Watershed Champions Award has been given annually since 2014 and “recognizes classes that demonstrate learning about their local watershed and who take action to care for it” (RBC). Participants in the contest gain recognition for their work in sustainable management and development as well as community engagement activities that help to spread awareness about the necessity for ongoing watershed protection.

Specializations, Methods and Tools

Evergreen has four areas of focus: Greenspace, Children, Food, and CityWorks.

1. Greenspace

Greenspace is Evergreen’s chiefly environmental program helping to connect the people with the ecosystems they live in. The program encompasses four areas: community greening, partner projects with municipalities and communities, restoring urban watersheds, and enhancing Toronto’s Lower Don Valley (see “Major Projects” section).

i. Community Greening

Community greening events take place all over the Greater Toronto Area, Metro Vancouver, and Vancouver Island, providing individuals, families, and friends the opportunity to volunteer their time to increase the sustainability and restore the natural beauty of their neighbourhoods. Working in public parks and natural areas, community greening volunteers engage in various activities such as “planting trees, monitoring wildlife and removing invasive plant species.” The organization sees that its volunteers

  • “Meet like-minded people in [their] community
  • Make a positive impact on the environment
  • Learn about the benefits of planting native trees and shrubs
  • Learn how to identify invasive species and how to remove them
  • Plant trees for future generations to enjoy
  • Have fun!” (Community Greening).

Currently, there are multiple greening projects in the works.

ii. Municipal and Community Partnerships

Greenspace’s work wouldn’t be possible without the strong ties Evergreen has developed with local municipalities, communities and community organizations, and other land managers. Through these partnerships, Greenspace has been given access to unique natural spaces and support in raising awareness and getting more individuals involved in the reinvigoration of their environments. Through these support networks, Evergreen’s initiatives are producing long-term, sustainable impacts.

iii. Restoring Urban Watersheds

Watersheds are defined as “area[s] of land where all of the water that is under it or on the surface of it goes to the same place” (Restoring Urban Watersheds). Urban watersheds in the Metro Vancouver Area and the Greater Toronto Area face degradation from civil infrastructure projects such as roads and buildings. As well, stormwater — the runoff from urban areas — flows downstream into these bodies of water, carrying with it various toxins and contaminants. Part of Evergreen’s Greenspace endeavour focuses on the restoration of these watersheds as well as increasing urban biodiversity and measuring the impact of urban development on urban streams.

To accomplish these goals, Evergreen and its community and municipal partners “remove invasive plants, reintroduce native plants, monitor water quality and learn about the importance of our local streams” (Ibid.). For example, the organization’s work on biodiversity is helped by the Invasive Species Council of Metro Vancouver and Ontario’s Invasive Species Awareness Program which, in use with Evergreen’s Native Plant Database, can help community members identify and remove or replace invasive and damaging plant species. As well, Evergreen’s “Uncover Your Creeks” program on the coast of BC has sixteen different monitoring sites which are used by volunteers and community members to track the quality of water. The data from this project helps Evergreen understand the impacts of urban development on these streams, to develop interventions and, ultimately, to mitigate the harmful aspects of this process (See “Major Projects” section of this article for further information). 

Finally, the urban watersheds program is focused on climate change mitigation and adaptation, defined as “actions taken to respond to the impacts of climate change by taking advantage of opportunities or reducing the associated risks” (Restoring Urban Watersheds). The Metro Vancouver Area and the Greater Toronto Area are both expected to feel the effects of climate change in terms of increasingly severe and frequent rainfall — both of which “can mean damage to infrastructure and public property, and health impacts due to wastewater contamination in water bodies” (Ibid.). Since there are a variety of ways communities and individuals can get involved in climate change adaptation, Evergreen, with support from the Intact Foundation, “is connecting residents with opportunities for climate adaption in their watersheds through the Community Climate Adaptation Initiative” more information about which can be found by click here. As well, on a municipal level, Evergreen recently supported the Vancouver Parks Board’s Master Plan for the restoration of Still Creek (see “Major Projects and Events” section of this article for a more in-depth account).

2. Children

As the world moves more online, children are spending more time indoors, less time exercising, and developing a sense of community with their peers. Evergreen is determined to change this worrying trend by offering young Canadians a variety of ways to engage with the natural world, “to learn and to engage their senses, to explore and to discover their surroundings, and to challenge their minds and bodies” (Children). Four areas make up this ambitious initiative: the greening of school grounds, programs for learning and playing outdoors, leadership opportunities, and year-round day camps. 

i. Greening School Grounds

Evergreen’s work on school grounds involves balancing the natural with the built world, creating an environment that meets the functional needs of the classroom while offering kids “different looks, sensory experiences and play opportunities in every season” (Greening School Grounds). Evergreen brings the influence of naturally occurring features into the planning and design process which creates diverse landscapes for children to explore and discover.

Evergreen takes a one-on-one approach to their school greening initiatives, working closely with each school board to draw up the optimal design for their location, resource allotment, goals and needs. Currently, the organization works with 13 school boards and districts as well as the Nova Scotia Department of Education and Early Development but encourages any interested citizen or school to become involved through the national network of Evergreen planning experts who provide assistance with:

  • “Approvals processes – creating clear lines of communication and accountability within the school board
  • Guidance through a participatory design process – resulting in coordination between the school board, school administrators, facilities staff, external suppliers, parents and the broader community
  • Planning support for project installations – preventing costly mistakes in school-ground modifications and creating high-quality, safe and lasting project designs
  • Design guidelines – providing clarity for all project stakeholders and creating significant efficiencies
  • Education and training – supporting schools in the use of and care for their new spaces, and providing the motivation for engaging students in both.” (School Board Collaborations & Services)

In addition to offering expert collaboration, Evergreen offers a number of grant opportunities to schools (see “Organizational Structure, Membership, and Funding").

ii. Outdoor Learning and Playing

Learning through hands-on experience is vital to childhood education and, thankfully, the natural world provides plenty of opportunity to do so. Evergreen is dedicated to ensuring kids have the ability to explore and discover their environment by offering school and home-based activity ideas to educators, parents and guardians through workshops, school programming, and publications.

The Watershed Champions program is an example of the kinds of outdoor learning initiatives Evergreen encourages schools to offer their students. Schools compete for the “RBC–Evergreen Watershed Champions Award” by learning about, caring for, and spreading awareness around their local watersheds. More information on the award is found in the “Organizational Structure, Membership, and Funding” section.

Another example of Evergreen’s work in this area is the “All Hands in the Dirt Forum”: an annual meeting of education, administration and design experts to discuss best practices and new innovations in the area of outdoor learning. Past forums have included workshops, activities, and small-group discussions on topics such as:

  • “Addressing questions of risky play in the outdoors
  • Increasing and improving learning opportunities in children’s outdoor spaces
  • Unpacking policies and practices for children’s outdoor spaces
  • Designing for child development and increased physical activity
  • Evaluation and assessment for teaching outdoors” (All Hands in the Dirt Forum).

iii. Youth Leadership

The Evergreen Foundation believes that “a key component is having the opportunity to develop skills and gain experience in nature while becoming the stewards of the environment we’ll need for tomorrow” (Youth Leadership). Together with community organizations, Evergreen offers a number of youth leadership programs which emphasize hands-on learning and teamwork. The Community Bicycle Hub Project is a great example of the social-enterprising abilities youth can gain through these activities. After learning to fix donated bikes, participants return to their communities and pass on their acquired skills. Similarly, youth involved in the Healthy Choices program work together to “make healthy food choices for themselves, their communities and the planet” (Ibid.). Community and teamwork are also key aspects of the Aboriginal Visiting High Schools project, a collaborative effort between Evergreen and schools groups to facilitate the transfer of traditional knowledge between elders, members of the Aboriginal community, and youth.

Alongside these programs is the yearly HSBC-Evergreen Youth Action Series, a week-long series of events “exploring ecology, green living, stewardship and green infrastructure all while offering youth the opportunity to network with others who are stewards of the environment” (HSBC–Evergreen Youth Action Series). In 2016, the event was to be held in five different cities in Canada: Calgary, Edmonton, Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver.

Finally, Evergreen holds leadership training programs for its summer camps (discussed below). Leaders-in Training and Assistant Counsellors are each offered two week training programs that serve as valuable volunteer hours for school.

iv. Day Camps

Evergreen is proud to offer different day camp experiences at their Brick Works facility in Toronto: Nature Nut Kids' Club, Sprouts Parent and Tot Play, PA Day Camps, Homeschool Program, March Break Day Camp, Green City Adventure Camp, and Winter Camps. Each day camp is focused on giving children the ability to experience and explore the natural, ‘greener’ side of Toronto through outdoor play. Designed to educate the next generation of inspired environmental stewards, each program is planned according to the following principles:

  • “Place Based – building a foundation of knowledge through a focus on local nature, culture and community.
  • Ecological – providing children direct contact with nature.
  • Hands-on – creating a setting for compelling learning through multi-sensory, direct experiences.
  • Active and mobile – moving the body to engage the mind.
  • Arts-infused – breathing life into learning through creativity, compelling narratives and arts activities.
  • Integrated – weaving together knowledge and skill through ecological themes and engaging experiences.” (Evergreen Brick Works Day Camps).

More information on the each of the different day camps can be found here.

3. Food

Evergreen’s approach to food is simple: good food = happy people and healthy cities. By supporting local farms, encouraging the growth of food in cities, and working to improve the eating and living habits of everyday citizens, Evergreen aims to make a change in the way we sustain ourselves.

i. Supporting Local Farms

Globalization has caused a fundamental disconnect between consumers and the producers of their food. Evergreen believes that re-establishing this connection is key to creating a sustainable food system, “preserv[ing] the health of our cities, the integrity of our environment and the strength of our communities” (Supporting Local Farms). To initiate this, Evergreen has committed itself to the following guiding principles:

  • “Accessibility: A farmers' market and food programs that are accessible to diverse audiences.
  • Collaborative Infrastructure: Build relationships with other like-minded organizations and community groups, as well as the community at large.
  • Innovation: Foster and celebrate innovation at our farmers' market and in the design and delivery of our food programs.
  • Education: Create an experiential, hands-on approach to the delivery of our food programs.
  • Replicability: Establish models that can be replicated locally and nationally.” (Ibid.)

In order to accomplish these goals, Evergreen encourages its partners, volunteers, community members, and interested citizens to:

  • Shop at the Farmer’s Market located in Evergreen’s own Brick Works facility in Toronto
  • Engage in Evergreen’s Community Supported Agriculture program (more information here)
  • Visit the Farmer’s Markets Canada website to find local producers outside the Toronto area

ii. Growing Food in the City

Creating a sustainable food network starts at the community level, whether it is sourcing food directly from local producers or growing one's own. The Evergreen foundation offers two programs designed to make the food growing process easy even for the apartment-bound city dweller.

For those living in Toronto, the Urban Agriculture program at the Evergreen Brick Works showcases new innovations in do-it-yourself food production. The easily replicable food gardens offer everything from organic vegetables to edible flowers while the greenhouse “features raised-bed food gardening, various organic agricultural techniques and window farms to showcase a “full circle” approach to seasonal food-growing in urban areas” (Growing Food). Similarly, grow tubes demonstrate how nutritious food can be grown in cold climates using very little light. Evergreen’s dedicated compost-experts volunteer their time as ‘worm wranglers’, imparting the wisdom of “at-home composting, the benefits of waste management and the importance of healthy soil to all visitors at Evergreen Brick Works” (Ibid.). Finally, both the Seniors Garden and the Cooking Classrooms offer visitors the opportunity to engage hands-on in the food growing (and eating!) process.

iii. Healthy Eating and Active Living

Cities and communities are only as healthy as their citizens so Evergreen has made it its mission to encourage individuals across the country to develop healthy eating and active lifestyles. Workshops and educational events make it easy for anyone— big eaters or small—to learn how to create hassle-free, healthy meals using local ingredients. Seniors Community Kitchen at the Brick Works brings seniors and youth together with Evergreen staff to “share skills and knowledge, socialize and prepare seasonal, nutritious meals together” (Healthy Eating & Active Living). As well, Evergreen experts work with Community Kitchens in the Greater Toronto Area to discuss everything from fundraising strategies and buying on a budget to food justice and increasing the kitchen’s food gardening capabilities. Check the calendar for events happening across the country here.

The Healthy Choices initiative is Evergreen’s way of engaging directly with communities “to share meals, celebrate food and build life-long skills, and invite a wide range of groups to connect with our passionate and expert staff” (Healthy Eating & Active Living). As well, the Healthy Choices initiative also offers youth-specific programs (see “Children” section of this article). 

4. City Works

City design and civil infrastructure planning have profound effects on the way inhabitants live and interact as well as the natural environment they displace or overlap. Evergreen’s City Works initiative engages the public, innovators, designers and decision makers to reduce the large-scale environmental impact of our cities – from city-building to housing to transportation, Evergreen “believe[s] that transformative change can happen when Canadians are engaged with new ideas, in ways that are relevant to them” (City Works).

i. City Building

Sustainable development is complicated by accelerated urbanization and aging infrastructure. Evergreen’s City Building initiative brings leading research and design to its collaborative work with city planners and communities to help develop a clear vision for the future. It is Evergreen’s hope that this vision combined with local, national, and global action will mitigate the risks our human and environmental health face by building cities with smaller carbon footprints and more sustainable infrastructure.

Evergreen’s City Building department has just finished two projects—100in1day Canada and Project Green Bloc in Vancouver—and is involved in two other ongoing initiatives: the Hamilton City Building Action Campaign and “We Are Cities”. Information on all these projects is available in the “Major Projects and Events” section.

ii. Housing

Global rises in urbanization demand a rethinking of housing infrastructure. By 2036, the population of the Greater Toronto Area is expected to increase by more than 9 million and it is therefore imperative that an integrated approach to housing is generated, “one that is more sustainable, affordable and equitable” (Housing). Evergreen believes that through the building of “collaborative capacity and co-created solutions”, a green future for Toronto’s housing systems may be developed.

By testing these ideas on a local scale, Evergreen hopes to deploy proven sustainable housing strategies across Canada where appropriate. The GTA Housing Action Lab is the real-life testing ground for these new innovations. The Toronto area is facing many of the same urban housing problems faced by other cities across the nation and, indeed, across the globe. Specifically, some of these challenges include lack of affordability especially for lower income households; environmental degradation from automotive travel; lack of social housing and affordable repair options; and a growing disparity between “development patterns and regional growth and transportation planning. The GTA Housing Action Lab aims to collaboratively develop:

  • “Programs and policies that support the affordability of housing to ensure residents of all incomes have the best chance to live in a suitable home and have a choice in their housing
  • A more sustainable housing system in the region by increasing public support for intensification, awareness of the benefits of complete communities, and policies that support creative infill in our urban centres and a connected region
  • A policy and regulatory framework that encourages diversity in form and tenure, intensification and affordability, and creates incentives aligned with the needs of the residents of the region while creating an economically viable housing sector” (GTA Housing Action Lab)

Another project Evergreen’s City Works is involved in is “Tower Renewal”, more information about which can be found in the “Major Projects and Events” section.

iii. Transportation

Transporting people and goods across the country accounts for 27% of Canada’s emissions. The ability to move sustainably is under pressure from increasingly dense, sprawling urban populations. Evergreen’s work on transportation recognizes the need for creativity and vision to come up with new forms of travel and, therefore, its projects such as “Move the GTHA” and the “TrafficJam Hackathon” focus on engaging Canadians in discussion and debate on this important topic. More information on these projects is available in the following section, “Major Projects and Events”. 

Major Projects and Events

Uncover Your Creeks

One of the Evergreen Foundation’s major projects is the “Uncover Your Creeks” initiative which helps monitor urban streams in Metro Vancouver and the Greater Toronto Area. Recently, the Evergreen Foundation was involved in the restoration Master Plan of Vancouver’s Still Creek. Evergreen took a leading role, engaging with local governments and members of the public and undertaking rehabilitation activities such as riparian planting (Tyler Carlson). As well, the ongoing data collection and monitoring of the stream was made possible through a partnership with the Community-University Research Alliance (CURA) H2O project. CURA H20 works with various government and community partners in Canada and abroad to “build capacity within stewardship organizations through a variety of resources and training, and to address the lack of consistency by standardizing data collection at the community level via the Wet-Pro training program” (About CURA H20). In this case, CURA H2O and Evergreen are helping the community monitor the health of its stream and take measures when needed without the need for government intervention. A full case study of the Still Creek project is available here.

Lower Don Project

The Don River Valley is located in the heart of Toronto’s East York district and is currently home to 250k residents with an expected increase of 80k in the coming years. The Lower Don Greenway is accessible through 5km of trails yet few residents are aware of the diverse natural ecosystem located right in their backyard. Public green spaces “create livable communities and promote personal, social, cultural and environmental health” and it is therefore Evergreen’s mission to revitalize the Lower Don trail. Working in collaboration with partners such as the City of Toronto and the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority, Evergreen has planned a variety of improvements to “allow residents and visitors to better enjoy and appreciate the wonders of this remarkable ravine corridor” (Lower Don Project):

  • New gateways and access points
  • Pedestrian and cycling trail enhancements
  • Restored green spaces
  • New public art and educational programs

For more information on the project, please see “External Links”.

100in1day Canada

100in1day is a global movement started in 2012 by a group of design students in Colombia. What began as an albeit ambitious plan to launch 100 urban interventions in one day produced a world-wide phenomenon. The original event in May of 2012 returned an unanticipated 250 interventions and since then 100in1day has been held in 31 cities around the world. Evergreen is proud to have led 100in1day Canada which occurred on June 4, 2016 in six cities: Toronto, Vancouver, Edmonton, Hamilton, Montreal, and Halifax, and initiated 580 citizen-developed building ideas. More information on each of the projects can be found in the "External Links". 

Project Green Bloc in Vancouver

Project Green Bloc was started as a three-year project with the ambitious aim to “fill the gap between individual level and city-level change and forge a strong bloc of neighbours, willing to take action individually and collectively to mitigate climate change and unsustainable levels of consumption out of a random group of residents who just happened to live on the same city block” (Project Green Bloc). To accomplish this, Evergreen worked with the residents of Vancouver’s Riley Park neighbourhood to lessen the community’s ecological footprint by 25% through local action and behavioural change. Four main components made up the project:

  1. Research to measure household and neighbourhood ecological footprints
  2. Carefully structured community consultation and dialogue
  3. Cooperative local greening and sustainability initiatives
  4. Activities to build community cohesion and social inclusion

By the end of the three years, the neighbourhood had collectively reduced their ecological footprint by 12% but legacy projects such street greening and traffic calming ensure a long-term dedication to their sustainable living goals.

The Hamilton City Building Action Campaign

Hamilton is experiencing a period of urban revitalization and cultural renaissance and, in order to both accelerate and sustain this, Evergreen CityWorks is collaborating with their partners, Planning Alliance, the Hamilton Communication Foundation, and the City of Hamilton to initiate the multi-year Hamilton City Building Action Campaign. The campaign consists of five elements focused on “work[ing] with the community in shaping the city’s future, connect[ing] plans and policies while also catalyzing on-the-ground results” (Hamilton City Building Action Campaign).

1. Outreach, Engagement, and Collaboration – bringing a diverse selection of residents and stakeholders into the discussion

2. Priority Scanning and Mapping the City – meetings with various players in the community revealed an overwhelming consensus that focus should be placed on “tangible actions and specific urban interventions” (Hamilton City Building Action Campaign).

3. West Harbour Engagement Strategy – discussing the future of the West Harbour neighbourhood with its residents, local community groups and organizations, stakeholders, and Lura Consulting. These discussions will in turn be used to inform future communication strategies between city officials and community residents.

4. Next Generation City Builders – Imagine My Sustainable Hamilton (IMSH) – a four-day program intended to bring ecological awareness and sustainable city-building to seventh grade classrooms in over 15 schools. As well, students are constructing 3D models of their visions for their future neighbourhoods with the help of the art collective No. 9 in collaboration with the Hamilton Wentworth District School Board (HWDSB) and local architects and artists.

5. Community Capacity Building and Action

  • 100in1Day Hamilton (see previous section of this article)
  • Training and Capacity Building Workshops
  • Community Driven Catalyst Projects
  • 294 James Street North A Collaboration Station and Community Hub for Engagement

“We Are Cities”

We Are Cities is an ongoing initiative launched in February 2015 to address the need for liveable cities across Canada. The project is crowdsourcing ideas from Canadians for an action plan as well as helping to support current initiatives. To date, “there have been over 50 roundtables in 25 cities across 10 provinces, over 175 ideas have been submitted online” and the foundation has created the new “We Are Cities: Community Innovation Grant” to help progress local projects (We Are Cities).

Tower Renewal

The Tower Renewal project began in 2007 in response to the deterioration of Ontario’s Greater Golden Horseshoe concrete apartment blocks. Situated in marginalized neighbourhoods with few amenities and limited access to transport, the 2,000 aging, energy inefficient towers represent 20% of Toronto’s housing stock and are home to nearly 1 million people. Recognizing the need for intervention, Graeme Stewart and Michael McClelland of ERA Architects initiated the renewal project which, thanks to the Centre for Urban Growth and Renewal and the City of Toronto, encompasses three processes:

  1. “An energy retrofit of existing buildings
  2. Improved livability for renters and their surrounding communities through increased social and economic opportunities within tower neighbourhoods
  3. Better use of the green space around these towers through mixed-use infill development and improved transit connections to and from these neighbourhoods” (Tower Renewal).

Through these efforts, it is hoped that the towers are transformed from “isolated and often socially marginalized dormitories into dynamic, integrated and low-carbon hubs across the city” (Tower Renewal).

Move the GTHA

Back in 2011, a number of community organizations were brought together by Evergreen CityWorks and the Toronto Atmospheric fund to discuss the possibility of forming a collaboration. By working together, it was hoped that these organizations would be able to raise public awareness and increase support for transit infrastructure. Subsequently, “Move the GTHA” was born in September 2012 and now has 12 core members and 16 supporting organizations. Together and with the input of everyday transport users and area residents, the collective hopes to achieve “long-term dedicated funding for an efficient, accessible, affordable and fully integrated regional transportation system, with accountable and effective regional governance mechanisms for that transportation system” (About Move the GTHA).

TrafficJam Hackathon

As part of Toronto’s TrafficJam Expo in October, Evergreen CityWorks and the City of Toronto called on 150 “engaged citizens, digital creatives and data detectives” to team up “local traffic analysts, government officials and data collectors to brainstorm new ideas, analyze data and build tools that will kickstart the development of real solutions” (TrafficJam Hackathon). Prizes were to be handed out to the most promising submissions by Mayor John Tory on October 4.

Analysis and Lessons Learned

Want to contribute an analysis of this organization? Help us complete this section!


Evergreen currently publishes the quarterly “Intersections” magazine on urban innovation and city building.

As well, Evergreen has released two research and policy papers:

See Also 

From Stream Management to Watershed Governance: The Collaborative Restoration of Vancouver’s Still Creek

Ecosystem-based Management


100in1day Canada. 100in1day Canada,

"About CURA H2O." Community Based Environmental Monitoring Network,

"About Evergreen." Evergreen,

"About Move the GTHA." Move the GTHA, Evergreen,

"All Hands in the Dirt Forum." Evergreen, [BROKEN LINK]

Update: similar information can be found at

Carlson, Tyler. "From Stream Management to Watershed Governance: The Collaborative Restoration of Vancouver’s Still Creek." Participedia,

"Children." Evergreen, [BROKEN LINK]

Update: similar information can be found at

"CityWorks." Evergreen, [BROKEN LINK]

"Community Greening." Evergreen, [BROKEN LINK]

"Evergreen Brick Works Day Camps." Evergreen,

"Greening School Grounds." Evergreen, [BROKEN LINK]

Update: similar information can be found at

"GTA Housing Action Lab." Evergreen,

"Hamilton City Building Action Campaign." Evergreen, [DEAD LINK]

"Healthy Eating & Active Living." Evergreen, [BROKEN LINK]

Update: similar information can be found at;

"Housing." Evergreen, [BROKEN LINK]

"HSBC–Evergreen Youth Action Series." Evergreen,

"Lower Don Project." Evergreen, [BROKEN LINK]

Update: information can be found at

"Our Impact." Evergreen, [BROKEN LINK]

Update: similar information can be found at

"Project Green Bloc." Evergreen,

"Restoring Urban Watersheds." Evergreen, [BROKEN LINK]

"School Board Collaborations & Services." Evergreen, [BROKEN LINK]

"Sponsors & Supporters." Evergreen, [BROKEN LINK]

"Supporting Local Farms." Evergreen, [BROKEN LINK]

"Tower Renewal." Evergreen,

"TrafficJam Hackathon." Evergreen,

"Uncover Your Creeks." Evergreen,

"We Are Cities." Evergreen,

"Youth Leadership." Evergreen, [BROKEN LINK]

External Links

Evergreen Foundation Website: News Releases, Blog, and Calendar of Events