July 29, 2020
Green Cities Foundation provides hope in Hamilton this fall
The Green Cities Foundation is a community connecting plants and people for a greener healthier urban climate.

As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, urban dwellers have been required to shelter in place and maintain social distance. As the restrictions on movement and gatherings are eased, citizens are moving outdoors and there is a growing realization that urban areas need more green, open spaces for people to congregate safely and enjoy the outdoors.

The Foundation is thrilled to announce St. Matthew's House has been chosen as the first #GreenMyCity project in Hamilton, Ont., as well as three parks in the surrounding neighbourhood.

St. Matthew’s House is a non-profit charitable organization founded in 1967 by the local Anglican churches in inner city Hamilton with a focus on caring for vulnerable populations in the surrounding neighbourhoods. This project aligns with the Green Cities Foundation’s vision to help communities across Canada to improve green spaces in urban locations.

Working together with our major sponsor RBC Insurance, as well as the Barton Village BIA, Beautiful Alleys, The City of Hamilton, The Golden Horseshoe Chapter of Landscape Ontario and the Canadian Nursery Landscape Association membership, the #GreenMyCity2020 project will create a natural landscape that will improve community health and well-being in the Barton Village Community.

Through this collective work, we are hoping to undertake a transformative project in this neighbourhood that will have a green legacy forever.

This project will:
  • Green a part of the city that has more asphalt per capita than anywhere else.
  • Bring together community partners from a diverse array of groups such as parents and children, seniors and youth, neighbours and faith groups, experts and learners to have a positive impact on the environment and create a space to live, grow and play.
  • Remediate a brownfield that has sat idle for more than 50 years.
  • Give 80 kids aged 0-4 a green playground in a deeply urbanized environment where access to green-space is limited.
  • Create spaces for growing food for vulnerable people.
  • Bring a closer community presence to a street that is facing gentrification and urban renewal challenges.

The natural playground design includes log structures, chalkboards, clusters of stumps, a xylophone and rolling hills. The new facilities will provide exciting places for children to discover nature, make art and music, climb and jump. The parking lot renovation will add space for community gatherings including bistro table seating areas, game tables and greenery. The restoration will encompass the Business Out of the Box project (BoB), a Women’s Entrepreneur Collective (WEC), an entrepreneur initiative to develop a small retail business through a collaborative model. The Native and hardy plant species will help create a buffer zone between the natural space and Hamilton’s busy Barton East corner: a healthy, sustainable green space in a dense urban environment that will reduce heat buildup, control air pollution, prevent soil erosion, and contribute to energy saving.

Together we can #GreenMyCity one green space at a time!

The rehabilitation project will start in the Fall of 2020. Volunteers will work together with residents of Hamilton to organize community garden clean ups, tree plantings, and turf maintenance in the surrounding Woodland, Birge and Birch park areas during our St. Matthew’s House build, carrying over into Spring 2021.

Alan White, Vice Chair of the Green Cities Foundation, has been instrumental in leading this project alongside Paul Brydges and Peter Guinane. “We hope that by building projects like this across Canada, we will help educate the public and our politicians on the value of green spaces and the impacts to the community that they can provide – helping to mitigate climate change by cooling our cities, improving the mental health of the residents, filtering water and improving stormwater management, and providing cleaner air to breathe.”

Please contact Rebecca Doutre at gcfdirector@gcfoundation.ca for more information or to get involved with this project, or visit gcfoundation.ca.