Announcing the Fall 2015 recipients of the Weston Family Parks Challenge | View this email in your browser

The Weston Family Parks Challenge has fuelled a parks renaissance in Toronto by supporting projects that enhance the natural elements in parks, engage a broad range of partners and the local community, offer new solutions to manage and maintain parks, and have the potential to be replicated in other jurisdictions. With a commitment of $5 million over three years, The W. Garfield Weston Foundation launched the Weston Family Parks Challenge in 2013 to ensure the long-term sustainability of Toronto’s parks. Building on the success of the first year, the Ontario Trillium Foundation joined in 2014 with an additional commitment of $1.125 million towards the initiative. Park People brings expertise and is administering the program.

The three-year challenge has transformed the way parks are understood, funded and operated in Toronto. The Weston Family Parks Challenge has ended and applications are no longer being accepted.  Here are the recipients from the final round:


Learn about more projects from the Weston Family Parks Challenge >


Aptus Treatment Centre

Aptus Teaching Landscape

A nature-focused educational environment and activity hub for both students with complex disabilities and the greater community, the Aptus Teaching Landscape in North York is an enhanced learning green space that will include a fruit orchard, edible garden and mini-arboretum. Through the Weston Family Parks Challenge, education and stewardship opportunities will engage students and local residents in environmental programs as well as complement the City's recreational improvements to an adjacent park. 

                                                                                         Photo credit: Gregor Beck

Bird Studies Canada 

Gardens for Nature Project: Restoring Urban Bird and Wildlife Habitat

Located in the Humber Arboretum, the Gardens for Nature Project: Restoring Urban Bird and Wildlife Habitat will demonstrate how residents and community groups can successfully plan, create, and maintain gardens that support thriving populations of birds, butterflies and other wildlife species. This project illustrates that urban habitat creation efforts at any scale can provide meaningful benefits to birds, biodiversity and the environment. Gardens for Nature will engage diverse communities and train volunteer habitat stewards with the support of the Weston Family Parks Challenge.


City of Toronto with Earth Rangers

Franklin the Turtle's Habitat Restoration and Bring Back the Wild Program

This innovative partnership between the City of Toronto and Earth Rangers will create a thriving wetland ecosystem focused on turtle habitat restoration at the pond in Franklin’s Garden on Centre Island. As a new Toronto hub for the Earth Rangers’ programs, Franklin's Garden will also host environmental education for school groups, recreational visitors and local residents. The long-term sustainability of the project will be ensured through its strong partnerships and community engagement.


A Tale of Two Parks

This project will engage residents in nature-focused activities and improvements in Broadacres Park, located in Etobicoke's West Mall neighbourhood. Inspired in part by an innovative partnership with the City of Toronto's Community Policing Program, local youth and families are at the centre of a process to develop community cohesion through green space revitalization and environmental projects. With support from The Weston Family Parks ChallengeA Tale of Two Parks will lay the groundwork for a comprehensive plan for a nearby Toronto Community Housing green space called West Mall Park.

Tallgrass Ontario

Downsview Park Tallgrass Project

An estimated 3% of Ontario’s Tallgrass habitat is all that remains of this vanishing ecosystem. To help address this challenge, the Weston Family Park Challenge is supporting Tallgrass Ontario’s five-acre prairie at Downsview Park. This project will educate local school children and a city-wide audience about the importance of biodiversity and habitat preservation. Strong partnerships will support the planting of native species, community engagement and the long-term maintenance of the site.

Learn more about this and other Weston Family Parks Challenge funded projects >

The Weston Family Parks Challenge is an initiative of The W. Garfield Weston Foundation.

Projects are being realized in collaboration with the Ontario Trillium Foundation.


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Toronto Park People is a Registered Canadian Charity: 84844-9437-RR0001

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