toronto gardeners

Toronto gardeners furious after neighbourhood BIA changes approach to local gardens

One of the most forward-thinking gardening initiatives, led by a team of volunteers who maintain 21 gardens along Roncesvalles Ave in Toronto, has now come to an end.

Yesterday, the group of volunteers who manage the gardens quit en masse to protest Roncesvalles Village BIA's choice to hire the landscaping company Urban Garden for a complete redesign project. 

In an open letter from the long-time gardeners, they urged the BIA to rethink their plan to remove all of the existing garden plants.

"We believe our years of volunteer street gardening, which won awards, contributed to Roncesvalles' unique identity as a community," the gardeners said.

The new commercial street re-branding plan will dig up native plant species from the pollinator-friendly, volunteer-managed street gardens and replace them for a more uniform look.

RoncyWorks Green Team had submitted suggestions for native and pollinator plants and a list of possible eco-friendly consultants that would fulfil the BIA's vision for the redesign of the garden beds.

The gardeners stated in their open letter that these suggestions were largely ignored or rejected by the BIA.

There has been a public outcry in suppport of the volunteer gardeners on the Friends of Roncesvalle Avenue Facebook Group over the past 24 hrs.

"It's a cold slap in the face to them and a heartbreaking loss of vibrancy to our community," community member Rysia Andrade said.

The gardening group was grateful for the community's support and the many years they were able to bring some beauty and interest to the street.

Lead photo by

long-time volunteer gardener Ann Crichton-Harris

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