Thursday, April 15, 2021

Keep a Gardening Journal!

By: Candice Keast

If you're new to gardening, you'll quickly realize that a lot of it is trial and error. Thankfully, you can learn from your mistakes by keeping a written record of everything that goes on in your garden. After all, becoming a better gardener just means you're learning from your previous mistakes.

Why keep a gardening journal?

Keep a gardening journal to:

  • give yourself historical information of your garden from previous years 
  • keep track of your plans, lists, and key dates for easy reference 
  • help you remember what works and doesn't work
  • improve your gardening skills over time

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Get Growing this spring: a guide to indoor seeding

By: Candice Keast

As spring approaches, gardeners are often faced with one big question: do we start our garden in May with seedlings purchased at our local garden centre OR do we get ahead of the game and grow from seed? Of course, you can do a combination of the two - choose whatever is right for you!

Seedlings growing in an egg carton.

I'm on the indoor seeding train because it allows me to put on my gardening hat earlier in the year. I start indoor seeding in March and early April, then when the weather warms up, outdoor seed in late April and May. Growing from seed is inexpensive and fun but can be challenging. Are you up for a challenge?

After the jump, learn about:

Monday, September 28, 2020

Our Neighbourhood Climate Action Champions program has officially launched!

Neighbourhood Climate Action Champions will inspire, motivate, and encourage other residents to undertake community-focused climate actions to help achieve TransformTO net zero greenhouse gas emissions target by 2050 or sooner. Check out the program description, eligibility, and key dates over on

In this Q&A with our Volunteer Coordinator, Ryan Cheung, we dive deeper into the details of this exciting new program.

How many spots are open in the program?

10 to 20 candidates will be selected to be champions this round. 

Is it possible to be a champion in a neighbourhood outside of my own?

Yes, it is possible to champion in a neighbourhood that is different from your own if you have existing connections or have worked closely with that neighbourhood before. It is important that our champions know their neighbourhoods well and are connected to what's going on in the neighbourhoods already.  

Is it possible to team up with another person and be team champions for the same neighbourhood?

Yes. As we review the applications that come in, there may be opportunities for champions to team up for the same neighbourhood.

How will the community projects be funded?

Each champion will receive an honorarium of $500. It is up to each individual champion to decide how they want to use this funding. For example, they may use part of the honorarium towards compensation for their own time and contribute another part to their neighbourhood project. City staff can also provide support with looking into additional funding options for the projects.

How many projects are champions expected to implement per year?

Each champion is expected to implement at least one project in their neighbourhood. The project can be big or small and should cater to the needs and priorities of the neighbourhood. Every little bit helps and will be successful in its own way!

With the COVID-19 pandemic still happening, will there be any in-person events allowed?

At this time, we recommend that our champions follow provincial COVID-19 safety guidelines and opt to host virtual meetings. 

Is this a year-round program?

The program will be running all year long. We anticipate another round of recruitments in 2021.

Will the Neighbourhood Climate Action Champions program run again every year from now?

Yes, we are hoping that the Neighbourhood Climate Action Champions program will be a long-standing program in Toronto.

I live in the downtown core in a high-rise building. Can I apply to the program? 

Absolutely! We think there is a lot of value in engaging with residents who live in multi-residential buildings on climate action and there are a lot of opportunities to take action together.

If I live outside of Toronto, can I still participate in the Neighbourhood Climate Action Champions program?

Unfortunately, this program is only open to Toronto residents. 


If you have an important question regarding the Neighbourhood Climate Action Champions program, post your question in the comments section below or send an email to We would love to hear from you!

Thursday, January 9, 2020

Let's be #LessSalty this winter

by: Cameron Wilson

Throughout the winter months our sidewalks tend to accumulate a white blanket, but not like the ones you used to know. These days we get more salt than snow, and it's become a significant problem. Road salt is toxic to wildlife, damaging to shoes, clothing, and infrastructure, and harmful to our pets' paws. When the snow and ice goes away, the salt does not; it seeps into garden beds, lawns, and our creeks and rivers. In fact, even in the summer after it rains, accumulated salt can wash out of soil into creeks and rivers and cause problems in the ecosystem.

While some salt is necessary to keep our roads and sidewalks safe for use, we all need to do our part to reduce the impact this salt has on our environment. The City of Toronto's Salt Management Plan provides guidance to staff on the correct amount to apply to our roads, but sidewalks, parking lots, and driveways are the responsibility of residents, property- and business- owners to maintain.

Here are some simple steps that you can take to ensure that your property is safe, while reducing the amount of salt you use:

  • Don’t salt where you don’t walk: clear a path, not the whole property.
  • Shovel first. Road salt is meant to break the bond sticking snow or ice to the ground. If you put it on top of a pile of snow it can't do its job. 
  • Apply salt, only if needed, to areas where the snow or ice is stuck to the ground.
  • Use the correct amount. Think about road salt the same way you would about medicine. If you had a headache and were going to take aspirin, you would read the bottle to see how much to take. Do the same with road salt. Follow the directions on the package.
  • Check the temperature. Salt loses effectiveness at -10C and is useless below -20C. If it's too cold, apply sand for traction instead.

If you employ a contractor to make your property safe for winter, please consider hiring a contractor that has taken Smart About Salt training.

For more info on road salt and the environment, visit out our website.

Did you know:
  • Blue Crabs (a saltwater species) were found thriving in Mimico Creek in 2017 - their ability to survive in what should be a freshwater environment is because of road salt run-off.
  • Nearly all de-icing products are a form of salt. Products that claim to be more effective than others are likely using a salt with higher amounts of the active ingredient (chloride ions). Less salt isn't  less harmful if it's depositing more chloride ions in our waterways so always follow the instructions carefully.
  • Due to salt water run-off, some Toronto-area creeks and rivers have shown salt levels comparable to the ocean.


Concerned about over-application of salt at your home or work place? Direct your property manager to the Smart About Salt website.

Thursday, December 5, 2019

The Definitive Guide to Greening Your Holidays

By: Tyler Linwood

It's December and the holidays are officially upon us! The season means gift giving, parties, holiday decor, and lots and lots of food and drink – all of which takes its toll on the environment. But there are plenty of you can reduce green your holidays. Here are just a few ideas.

Small Steps

Don't put a bow on it – Try green gift wrapping alternatives or explore other ways to have a low-waste holiday season. Reusable items such as bags, jars, scarves, and even tea towels all make for decorative gift containers and wrappings that can either become part of the gift itself, or can be reused year after year.

Give green – There are plenty of eco-friendly options when it comes to deciding on what to get for your friends and loved ones this holiday season. It's always best to shop locally and support environmentally conscious businesses where possible and, thanks to the free Live Green Perks app, you can get exclusive deals and discounts for doing just that! If you're looking to get away from the culture of consumerism, but still want to get something special for your friends and family this year, experiences and excursions that you can share together make great gifts as well. Be sure to check out some of our favourite experience gifts that are part of the Perks program, including passes to the Ontario Science Centre, ROM, Segway Tours and more.

More great, green ideas after the jump...