July 15, 2014
Landscape Ontario, represented by Public Relations Director Denis Flanagan CLD, was among a number of organizations and businesses at a roundtable in Toronto to discuss the condition of the city’s tree canopy.

Deputy Mayor Norm Kelly held the meeting on the issue, saying the tree canopy is down to about 25 per cent coverage. Other groups taking part were Forests Ontario, Trees for Life, Scouts Canada, the Toronto District School Board, University of Toronto and others.

Following the December 2013 ice storm, attention has been focused on Toronto’s urban forest. Kelly says, “On a go-forward basis, we must make sure that we put in place a process that will increase Toronto’s tree canopy coverage to 40 per cent.”

In June, Toronto Dominion Bank published a report that estimated Toronto’s tree canopy is worth about $7 billion to the local economy. The TD Bank report stated, “Urban forests do more than beautify the scenery,” the bank’s chief economist Craig Alexander said. “They represent an important investment in environmental condition, human health and the overall quality of life.”

Kelly said that right now the city will need to repair 25 per cent of the tree canopy damaged by the ice storm and hit by the emerald ash borer. City staff is to report back to council with input from the participants on how to rebuild the canopy.

There are at least 116 different tree species in Toronto. The city and its partners planted almost 800,000 trees between 2004 and 2012.