Applications will be accepted from September 27 to November 1, 2021. Gardens will be planted in 2022.
Program overview

Are you interested in gardening and protecting pollinators? Would you like to:

  • Create a new pollinator garden or rain garden?
  • Expand or enhance an existing garden with native pollinator-friendly plants?
  • Convert a lawn area or hard surface to a pollinator garden?

If you answered yes to any of the above, please apply to PollinateTO for funding to support your idea! Up to $5,000 per project is available.

PollinateTO supports projects that:

  • directly result in the creation of pollinator habitat in Toronto
  • are visible to the community
  • include an educational component to inform others about pollinator stewardship
  • involve the community in some way

PollinateTO provides funding for pollinator gardens located in all Toronto neighbourhoods. Priority will be given to projects located in Toronto’s Neighbourhood Improvement Areas (NIAs).

Watch the videos below for inspiration!

Watch how Green Thumbs Growing Kids created pollinator gardens at schools in Toronto!

We’ve got templates!

Please use these templates to help you organize your project and submit with your online application:

Upload the documents via the online application form or send by email to pollinateTO@toronto.ca – Please include your Group Name & Project Name in the subject line.

Take a peak at the application questions

To preview all the questions before you begin your application, download the PollinateTO Application Questions Summary. You can use this document to help prepare, organize, and draft your responses. Before you apply, please review the information on this site.

New! Pre-approved City Parks

Are you interested in creating a pollinator garden in a City Park? If so, your garden must be located in a pre-approved City park. Projects and/or garden locations proposed in City parks not on the list will not be considered.

See the PollinateTO Pre-approved City Parks in a List or a Map.

Get to know Goldenrod

Goldenrod is one of our required PollinateTO plants (the other is milkweed). Learn why we want goldenrod in every PollinateTO garden with the Get to know Goldenrod brochure – includes photos of the goldenrod species to help you choose a species that’s right for your garden. And no, goldenrod doesn’t cause allergies (that’s ragweed).

PollinateTO advances the principles and priorities of the City’s Pollinator Protection Strategy.

Why are pollinators important?

Toronto is home to a wide range of pollinators, including 364 species of bees and 112 species of butterflies. These insects provide important ecosystem services such as pollination, are an important source of food for birds, and contribute to the biodiversity in our city. Pollination is what allows plants to produce seeds, fruits, and new plants. This is essential for food production and creating o­ur natural landscapes.

Why should we be concerned about pollinators?

Pollinators are under increasing stress due to habitat loss, invasive species, diseases, pesticides and climate change. Studies have shown that some species are in drastic decline, including the endangered Monarch butterfly and several species of bumblebees including the Rusty-patched bumblebee.

How can we help Toronto’s pollinators?

The easiest and most effective way to help native pollinators is to plant native plants. By planting native plants, you will be providing much-needed habitat that native pollinators need to survive. Native plants provide pollen and nectar for food, as well as places to nest and overwinter. Pollinator habitat can be created almost anywhere – in parks, yards, apartment buildings, schools, faith centres, community gardens and more.

What is pollinator habitat?

Pollinator habitat includes the following:

  • food sources – such as pollen and nectar from native plants
  • nesting and overwintering sites – such as bare soil, hollow stems, and leaves
  • larval host plants – such as milkweed for Monarchs

Ideal pollinator habitat features native plants that are locally-grown and pesticide-free.

What are native plants?

Plants that existed in our ecoregion prior to European colonization are considered native. Toronto is located where the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Forest Region and the Carolinian Zone meet. Native pollinators have coevolved with native plants for over 100 million years and depend on each other for survival.

Please submit an online application that describes your project proposal.

Application deadline is November 1, 2021.

Preview questions and draft your responses

To preview all the questions before you begin your application, download the PollinateTO Application Questions Summary. You can use this document to help prepare, organize, and draft your responses. Before you apply, please review the information on this site.

Ready to apply?

Submit your application using the online PollinateTO Application Form.

PollinateTO is open to all resident-led groups and non-profit groups. Groups must have at least three residents of Toronto (from separate households) as part of the group.

Eligible applicants

  • resident, tenant and neighbourhood groups
  • community groups and organizations
  • school groups, student clubs and parent councils
  • indigenous groups
  • faith groups
  • business improvement areas (BIAs)
  • registered charitable organizations and not-for-profit organizations
  • not-for-profit organizations with offices outside of Toronto are eligible to apply if the proposed garden is located within a Neighbourhood Improvement Area (NIA)

Ineligible applicants

  • individuals (must be part of a group with at least three members living in separate households)
  • for-profit businesses
  • building and property managers
  • grant making organizations
  • organizations allied with political parties

COVID-19 guidance for group gardening

Toronto Public Health has created guidelines for gardening during COVID-19. It recommended that anyone participating in group gardening activities adhere to these guidelines.

PollinateTO supports projects that create pollinator habitat in all Toronto neighbourhoods. Priority will be given to gardens located in Toronto’s Neighbourhood Improvement Areas (NIAs).

Eligible projects

Examples of eligible projects include:

  • shared community gardens
  • school ground teaching gardens
  • Indigenous education gardens
  • rain gardens
  • multiple front-yard gardens on the same street that together create a “pollinator pathway”

Ineligible projects

Examples of projects the City will NOT fund include:

  • projects that are already fully complete
  • temporary projects not intended to last beyond one growing season
  • projects that are not visible to the public, such as private backyard gardens
  • beekeeping activities, education or promotion
  • gardens used for the sole purpose of urban agriculture
  • balcony gardens and container gardens
  • rooftop gardens (funding is available for green roofs via the Eco-Roof Incentive Program)

Garden locations

PollinateTO funds gardens on private land and public space. Your project proposal can include multiple garden locations at one or more sites (i.e. different addresses). Your proposal can also have one or more garden locations a single site/address (i.e. separate garden beds on different parts of the site/property).

When selecting your garden location(s), please consider the following requirements and approval process for each type of location.

Private property:

  1. Must have written permission from the property owner(s) for each of the proposed gardens in your project – use our Property Owner Permission Letter template.
  2. Must be visible to the public (for example, front yard gardens = yes, backyard gardens = no).
    1. For front gardens on residential streets, you must have three or more front yard gardens on the same street to create a “pollinator pathway”.
    2. Examples of private property include residential, commercial, post-secondary institutions, faith and spiritual centres, non-profit organizations, etc.

School grounds:

  1. Form a group that has teacher, administration, and student representation.
    1. Ensure that your project has a teaching and learning component (connects to the curriculum).
    2. Have approval from the Principal. Please confirm their support by using the Property Owner Permission Letter template.
  2. Use the PollinateTO application form to express your interest in creating a PollinateTO project at a specific school.
    1. You do not need to provide details about your garden plans at the application stage, as specific garden location, size and type will be determined in consultation with School Board, upon conditional approval.
  3. Must have a maintenance plan in place. Please use our Garden Maintenance Plan template.
    1. Ensure there is succession plan – if some key members leave your group, others can fill in.
  4. Approval process:
    1. PollinateTO staff will work with School Board staff to review your application and determine if the school you have proposed is suitable for a PollinateTO project.
    2. If your proposal is conditionally approved, your group will work directly with School Board staff to determine garden location, size and type.
    3. A site visit may be conducted as part of the approval process.

City park:

  1. Must be located in a pre-approved City park – See the Pre-approved City Parks List (pdf) or view the Pre-Approved City Parks map. Projects and/or garden locations proposed in City parks not on this list will not be considered.
    1. You do not need to submit a property owner permission letter, since these sites have been pre-approved.
    2. Use the PollinateTO application form to express your interest in creating a PollinateTO project in a specific pre-approved City park.
    3. Please do not directly contact the Park Supervisor at the application stage. If conditionally approved, your group will be connected with the appropriate Parks staff.
    4. Pollinator plantings requested by existing approved community gardens, may not extend or increase the space allocated to the community garden. Plantings must be made within the existing footprint of the garden.
    5. Requests for pollinator plantings in allotments may be made by the permit holder only and must meet requirements of their permit, conditions of use and the allotment garden policy.
  2. Must have a maintenance plan in place. Please use our Garden Maintenance Plan template.
    1. Ensure there is succession plan – if some key members leave group, others can fill in.
    2. Groups must have a plan for storage of equipment and tools.  Tools and materials may not be stored on-site.
  3. Approval process:
    1. Only project proposals located in a PollinateTO Pre-approved City Park (pdf) will be considered.
    2. If your proposal is conditionally approved, your group will work directly with the Parks staff to determine garden location, size and type.
    3. Locations may include existing beds due to space and usage constraints.
    4. The Park Supervisor will identify the support they can provide (such as yard waste removal frequency, water and watering tools).
    5. A site visit may be conducted as part of the approval process.

City boulevard:

  1. Confirm adjacent property owners are on board. Please include their support in your application – use our Property Owner Permission Letter template.
    1. Traffic island locations and sloped (more than 2 degrees) locations are not suitable for a PollinateTO project.
    2. Plant height restrictions – to preserve sight lines for safety between pedestrians, cyclists and vehicles, all proposed boulevard planting must have a mature potential growing height lower than 85cm measured from the road elevation. Therefore with a typical 15cm street curb height, the maximum potential growth height of plants in the boulevard would be 70cm.
    3. Plant species selection – select species tolerant of salt-spray.
    4. Please be aware that planting could be removed at any time in the future by the City or third party (e.g. utility company) without further compensation or replacements.
  2. Must have a maintenance plan in place. Please use our Garden Maintenance Plan template.
    1. Ensure there is succession plan – if some key members leave group, others can fill in.
  3. Approval process:
    1. City staff will review your application and determine if the boulevard location you have proposed is suitable for a PollinateTO garden.
    2. Please try to provide as much detail as possible regarding your proposed location(s), including a map of the area with your proposed planting sites clearly identified.
    3. A site visit may be conducted as part of the approval process.

Call before you dig

For approved PollinateTO gardens – you must “call before you dig”. This process will identify any underground infrastructure in the area you want to build your garden. Ontario One Call provides a locate request process that is free, reliable, timely and easy to use. You can make the request online.

PollinateTO garden requirements:

  • must contain a minimum of twelve perennial plants (can be a combination of flowers, trees and shrubs)
  • at least 75 per cent of plants must be native perennial species
  • at least one type of native goldenrod species must be used
  • at least two different types of larval host plants must be used, one of which must be milkweed
  • plants must provide continuous bloom:
    • at least 2 species that bloom in the spring
    • at least 2 species that bloom in the summer
    • at least 2 species that bloom in the fall
  • no invasive plant species may be used – see the list of prohibited plants in Toronto
  • must select plants based on site conditions (e.g. full sun/partial sun/shade, wet/dry, etc)
  • must have ongoing maintenance (watering, weeding, plant replacement, etc)

You can use the Proposed Plant List template to help you organize your plant choices.

See our list of native flowers, trees and shrubs in the section below.

Required plants:

Gardens must include at least one species of goldenrod and at least one species of milkweed.

Goldenrod (Solidago

A hardy native plant with many different species adapted to a wide range of growing conditions, there’s a goldenrod that’s right for every garden. To set the record straight: goldenrod does not cause hay fever. Ragweed, in bloom at the same time, is the hay fever culprit. Goldenrod is insect-pollinated. It has heavy, sticky pollen that doesn’t fly on the wind, so adding goldenrod to your garden will not cause discomfort to hay fever sufferers.

More facts about goldenrod:

  • There are more than 25 species of goldenrod native to Ontario.
  • Goldenrod supports more than 100 species of moths and butterflies in their larval stage.
  • More than 35 species of bees are specialist feeders on goldenrod pollen.
  • Goldenrod blooms in late summer into the fall, and its nectar is an important late-season food source for pollinators.

Here are a few goldenrod species to consider for your garden that are easy to grow, drought tolerant and easy to find:

Sun: Part-Sun: Shade:
Grass-leaved goldenrod (Euthamia graminifolia): Grey-stemmed

(Solidago nemoralis)

Zig-zag goldenrod

(Solidago flexicaulis)

Early goldenrod (Solidago juncea)
Stiff goldenrod (Solidago rigida) Silverrod

(Solidago bicolor)

Blue-stemmed goldenrod

(Solidago caesia)

Sun & Wet: Ohio goldenrod (Solidago ohioensis)

Get to know Goldenrod brochure – includes photos of the goldenrod species mentioned here.

 

Milkweed (Asclepias)

Milkweed is the larval host plant for the endangered Monarch butterfly. Monarchs will only lay their eggs on milkweed leaves, which is the sole food source for caterpillars. Without milkweed, there would be no Monarchs.

More facts about milkweek:

  • There are 14 species of milkweed in Canada.
  • There was a time in Ontario that milkweed was on the noxious weed list, which meant it could not be planted.
  • In 2014, milkweed was removed from Ontario’s noxious weed list and since then many gardeners have embraced milkweed in their garden.

Here are a few suggestions for milkweed species to consider for your garden and one non-native milkweed species to avoid.

Plant in dry areas: Plant in wet areas: Do not plant:
Butterfly milkweed (Asclepias tuberosa) Swamp milkweed

(Asclepias incarnate)

Tropical milkweed

(Asclepias curassavica)

This is not native to Canada,

but is often sold in garden centres.

Common milkweed (Asclepias syriaca)
Purple milkweed (Asclepias purpurascens)
Whorled milkweed (Asclepias verticillata)

Learn more and see photos of these milkweed species.

Funding can only be used for the direct delivery of the proposed project.

Download this information here –PollinateTO Eligible Expenses.

What the City will fund

Examples of fundable budget line items:

  • Plant material – seeds, seedlings
  • Soil, compost, peat, mulch, sand, etc
  • Tools – shovels, rakes, forks, cultivators, hoes, spades, pruners, hand tools, etc
  • Garden gloves, knee pads and kneelers
  • Irrigation supplies – hose, nozzles, wands, rain barrels, watering cans
  • Wheelbarrows and garden carts
  • Garden border materials and supplies – wood, logs, stones, pavers, rocks, etc
  • Porous pathway materials – stepping stones, gravel, wood chips
  • Seed starting materials – trays, pots, soil, markers (greenhouses are not eligible)
  • Plant supports – stakes, rings, poles, ties, string, twine
  • Sheet mulching materials – cardboard, newspapers, leaves, compost/soil
  • Rain garden materials and construction supplies (sand, compost, mulch, riverstone, pea gravel, limestone, pvc piping) – if constructing a rain garden
  • Raised beds – materials and supplies
  • Plant identification markers and tags
  • Signage – design, printing, installation
  • Outdoor storage – weather resistant bins, small shed, lock
  • Yard waste bags
  • Equipment rentals (no gas powered equipment)
  • Permit fees, space rental, liability insurance for your event/activity
  • Delivery fees for plant material and supplies (max $100 per delivery)
  • Volunteer recognition, volunteer food expenses
  • Food and refreshments (no bottled water) for participants during planting activity (max $200 per event)
  • Training and workshop expenses
  • Honorarium for speakers/facilitators (max $500 per person, per event)
  • Honorarium for group members (up to $500 per group)
  • Communications and promotion (e.g. flyers, posters, design, printing)
  • Interpretation and translation fees
  • Art supplies
  • Solitary bee nest building supplies (bee condos, bee hotels, etc)
  • Books – reference, gardening, flora and fauna identification guides
  • Public transportation costs for project participants
  • Labour costs to prepare the area and plant the garden, if required (up to 10% of the grant amount)
  • Removing asphalt, concrete or other hard surfaces, if required (up to 10% of the grant amount)
  • Consultant fees such as a landscape designer, rain garden expert, etc (up to 10% of the grant amount)
  • Staffing costs for organizing project (up to 10% of the grant amount)
  • Trustee administration fees (up to 10% of the grant amount)
  • Other expenses on a case-by-case basis (please check with City staff prior to purchasing)

What the City will not fund

Examples of budget line items that are not fundable:

  • Costs associated with the regular operation of your organization, current programs and services such as office rental, utilities, computer equipment, phones, fax, internet, accounting services, insurance, etc.
  • Mass market advertising campaigns
  • Award ceremonies, banquets, receptions,  annual general meetings, sport tournaments
  • Religious activities/services, political activities, fundraising events, donations to charitable causes, lobbying or advocacy on behalf of for-profit entities
  • Alcohol
  • Bottled water
  • Gas and gas powered tools and equipment
  • Land acquisition, lease or rental
  • Purchase or rental of media equipment (computers, laptops, or software)
  • Purchase or rental of vehicles, personal vehicle expenses and parking
  • Postage and shipping costs
  • Disbursement of funds to provide additional grants to other parties
  • Conference registration and travel fees
  • TTC monthly passes
  • Reserve funds, debt repayment, deficit funding, capital costs (i.e. building repairs, renovations, water service, etc)
  • Fencing, gates, wire mesh
  • Armour stone
  • Garden furniture – plastic patio sets, umbrellas
  • Greenhouses
  • Barbeques, cooking equipment
  • Chemical fertilizers
  • Vermiculture supplies (worm composters)
  • Mushroom logs
  • Container gardening planters and supplies, including canoes
  • Beekeeping supplies, hives, honey bees
  • Water fountain or water connection service
  • Pesticides
  • Activities that extend beyond Toronto’s borders
  • Costs to maintain activities beyond the funding term, ongoing garden maintenance

Key dates

Applications open September 27, 2021
Application deadline November 1, 2021
Application review November 2021
Applicants notified January 2022
Gardens planted Spring/Summer/Fall 2022
Completion and evaluation by end of 2022

Please note: Timelines are subject to change

Key steps

Step 1: Form your group & partner with others

Create your own group or join one that is already established in your community. Partner with others who can support your idea.

To be eligible, groups must include at least three Toronto residents residing in separate households.

Decide on a name for your Group. Select a Group Lead to be the main contact.

Step 2: Pick your garden location & get approval

Make a list of potential garden locations in your neighbourhood. Choose garden sites that are visible to the public, have access to water and are easy for your group to get to (walking distance is ideal). Your project may include multiple locations. Priority will be given to projects located in Toronto’s Neighbourhood Improvement Areas (NIAs).

Use the Permission Letter template (Word doc) for these locations:

  • Private property – Approval from the property owner is required.
  • School grounds – You must obtain support from the principal.
  • City boulevard – Obtain the support of the adjacent property owner.

For City park locations – please select from the PollinateTO Pre-approved City Parks List (pdf). These sites have been pre-approved so you do not need to submit a property owner permission letter.

Step 3: Create a project plan & estimated budget

Decide on a name for your Project (this is different from your Group name).

Create a community engagement and education plan – think about the best ways to involve the community in your project.

Put together an estimated budget of $1,000 to $5,000. See the Eligible Project Costs section for guidance. Please use the Budget template (Excel doc) provided.

Step 4: Complete the online application & submit supporting documents

You must apply using the online application form before the deadline.

The following documents are required to evaluate your proposal:

  1. Property owner permission. Not required for projects in pre-approved City parks. For private property, school ground projects, and City boulevards – please use the Property Owner Permission Letter template (Word doc).
  2. Photograph or Google Maps image of the proposed project site(s). Again, this is not required for projects in pre-approved City parks. For all other locations, please clearly label the area(s) you want to plant in.
  3. Proposed Plant list – showing proposed species and number of plants. Use the Proposed Plant List template (Word doc).
  4. Garden Maintenance plan – a description of how the garden(s) will be cared for and who is responsible for the long term success of the project. Use the Garden Maintenance Plan template (Word doc).
  5. Proposed Budget – an estimated list of the costs to deliver your project. Use the Proposed Budget template (Excel doc).

Step 5: Application review & project approval

The PollinateTO Team will review your application to ensure eligibility requirements are met. Applications must be complete and received by the deadline to be eligible.

A Review Committee will evaluate all eligible proposals.

Successful applicants will receive a conditional approval letter via email and details about next steps.

Step 6: Online orientation session

Successful applicants will attend an online information session to learn more about the next steps.

Step 7: Funding agreement drafted & signed

In order to release the grant funding award, your organization or Trustee must enter into a funding agreement with the City of Toronto. The funding agreement outlines roles, payments, reporting requirements and other conditions of the grant.

A funding agreement will be drafted and sent to your organization or Trustee to be signed. Upon returning the signed agreement, the City signature will be added and the first installment of your funding award (approximately 90 percent) will be processed.

Step 8: Start your project

Most (approximately 90 per cent) of the funding will be provided in advance to get you started. The remainder of the funding (up to approximately 10 per cent for which documentation is provided) will be provided upon proof of completion.

Your group has until December 2022 to complete your project.

Step 9: Complete your project

Please notify the PollinateTO Program Manager when your project is complete. A site visit may be requested.

Your group will be responsible for submitting the following:

  • Impact report: Tell us about your project! Please include photos of your completed project, testimonials or other items to show the impact of your project and evidence of completion. A template will be provided.
  • Expense summary: Your organization or trustee will report the actual costs of your project with supporting receipts and invoices.
  • Video: Please create a short video (one to two minutes) of your completed project and tell us what you accomplished. We’ll post your video online to share your story and inspire others.
  • Site Visit: Please schedule a site visit with the PollinateTO Program Manager

Note: You do not need to identify a trustee at the application stage.

Successful grant recipients that do not have official not-for-profit status must work with a trustee organization to receive funding.

What is a trustee organization?

A trustee is an incorporated not-for-profit organization with audited financial statements and the financial systems in place to administer your group’s grant funds.

A trustee will distribute the funding according to the approved project budget. Trustees can also provide additional support to funded groups, such as project management, training and mentorship.

Who can be a trustee organization?

Trustee organizations must meet all of the following eligibility criteria and be approved by City staff to act as your trustee:

  • Be an incorporated not-for-profit organization with recent audited financial statements;
  • Demonstrate effective management and administrative capacity;
  • Be based in the city of Toronto (this means the organization’s head office must be located in Toronto and a majority of their programs and services take place in Toronto);
  • Be accountable to the community it serves through an elected Board of Directors or executive and must represent the community it serves;
  • 50% or more of Board members reside in the City of Toronto, or 50% or more of the organization budget is allocated to Toronto;
  • Have existed for at least one year;
  • Be in good standing with the City of Toronto (be up to date on all requirements for any City funds the organization may have received in the past);
  • Collaborate with other service providers and community groups;
  • Demonstrate a clear separation between religious and community service functions (if religious activities are provided by the organization);
  • Comply with the City of Toronto Anti-racism, Access and Equity Policy;
  • Have a service mandate related to the funded project;
  • Agree to take responsibility for the management of financial and project activities proposed by the applicant organization; and
  • Report on the use of grant funds to the City and maintain documentation for audit purposes.

What are the roles and expectations of the trustee?

The trustee organization:

  • Holds financial authority and a position of trust and responsibility for the project grant funds;
  • The trustee provides support and guidance to the grant recipient’s project leadership throughout the project;
  • Maintains proper fiscal oversight including using their existing financial systems and policies when dispersing the grant funds to your group (i.e. petty cash disbursements, honoraria, invoice payment, expense reimbursements etc.);
  • Has overall legal responsibility for the grant funds;
  • Provides assurance that all funding received will be spent only for the purposes outlined in the trustee agreement according to the approved project budget;
  • Acts as the project’s financial and administrative manager for the duration of your project;
  • Ensures compliance with accountability and legislative requirements; and
  • Signs the funding agreement issued by the City with the grant recipient group. The funding agreement outlines the terms and conditions of the grant funding.

The trustee organization should not:

  • Determine or heavily influence the creation of the project;
  • Take on the role of a group member or project manager

A Review Committee will review applications and recommend funding using the following process:

  1. Applications will be reviewed by City staff to ensure that your group and project are eligible.
  2. Complete applications that meet the eligibility requirements will be evaluated by a Review Committee comprised of representatives of various City of Toronto divisions. In the case of proposals on school grounds, City staff will engage School Board as part of the review process. The review is a detailed evaluation of the proposals, including identification of irregularities and/or missing information as well as the feasibility of the proposed project. Priority will be given to projects located Toronto’s 31 Neighbourhood Improvement Areas.
  3. The Review Committee will make funding recommendations to the Director, Environment and Energy Division based on their assessment of the following elements of each application:
    1. organizational history and track record
    2. proposal’s ability to meet the goals and objectives of the program
    3. organizational readiness to undertake the proposed work
    4. likelihood of generating measurable results and likelihood of success;
    5. long-term sustainability of the project
    6. use of strategies and tools to engage and educate the community, including new audiences who have not been targeted by previous initiatives.

Here are some native flowering plants organized by season to help you provide a continuous source of food for pollinators. We’ve also indicated growing conditions in sun or shade and whether it’s a larval host plant.

Spring:

Common Name (Scientific Name) Likes sunny spots Likes sunny or shady spots Likes shady spots Larval host plant
False Solomon’s seal (Maianthemum racemosum) yes yes
Golden Alexanders (Zizia aurea) yes yes yes
Hairy beardtongue (Penstemon hirsutus) yes yes
Wild geranium (Geranium maculatum) yes yes

Summer:

Common Name (Scientific Name) Likes sunny spots Likes sunny or shady spots Likes shady spots Larval host plant
Anise hyssop (Agastache foeniculum) yes yes
Bee balm (Monarda didyma) yes yes
Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta) yes
Blue vervain (Verbena hastata) yes
Boneset (Eupatorium perfoliatum) yes
Butterfly milkweed (Asclepias tuberosa) yes yes
Canada anemone (Anemone canadensis) yes
Cardinal flower (Lobelia cardinalis) yes yes
Culver’s root (Veronicastrum virginicum) yes
Cup plant (Silphium perfoliatum) yes
Dense blazing star (Liatris spicata) yes
Evening primrose (Oenothera biennis) yes
Fireweed (Chamerion angustifolium) yes
Great blue lobelia (Lobelia siphilitica) yes yes
Heath Aster (Symphyotrichum ericoides) yes
Ironweed (Vernonia fasciculata) yes yes
Joe-pye weed (Eutrochium maculatum) yes
Lance-leaved coreopsis (C. lanceolata) yes
Nodding onion (Allium cernuum) yes yes
Pale purple coneflower (Echinacea pallida) yes
Pearly everlasting (A. margaritacea) yes yes
Showy tick trefoil (D. canadense) yes yes
Swamp milkweed (A. incarnata) yes yes
Turtlehead (Chelone glabra) yes yes
Twinflower (Linnaea borealis) yes
Virginia mountain mint (P. virginianum) yes
Wild bergamot (Monarda fistulosa) yes
Wild lupine (Lupinus perennis) yes

Fall:

Common Name (Scientific Name) Likes sunny spots Likes sunny or shady spots Likes shady spots Larval host plant
New England aster (Symphyotrichum novae-angliae) yes
Stiff goldenrod (Solidago rigida) yes
Woodland sunflower (Helianthus divaricatus) yes yes yes

 

Trees and Shrubs

Native trees and shrubs offer benefits to pollinators too. Here are a few to consider based on size and moist soil conditions (see rain garden species).

Large species:

Small to medium species:

Rain garden species:

 

More native species profiles:

Download this information here – PollinateTO_Best Practices for Creating Pollinator Habitat

Your group should consider the following best practices when designing pollinator habitat.

Please note: These are best practices only – not mandatory project requirements.

Best practices for creating pollinator habitat

Use this checklist to help you create or enhance pollinator-friendly habitat in your community.

1. Provide food sources

Plant native: Choose native plants, trees and shrubs rich in pollen and nectar. Locally grown and pesticide free are best.

  • At least 75% of plants are native species
  • At least one species of goldenrod must be used
  • If using non-native plants, invasive species are to be avoided

Plant host plants: Butterflies lay their eggs on specific plants. Monarch butterflies, for example, will only lay their eggs on milkweed, the sole food source for their larva.

  • Incorporate at least 2 different types of larval host plants
  • At least one species of native milkweed is to be included

Provide continuous bloom: Pollinators need a continuous source of food from spring to fall. Select a variety of plants with a range of bloom times.

  • At least 2 different plants that bloom in spring
  • At least 2 different plants that bloom in summer
  • At least 2 different plants that bloom in fall

Mass plantings: Planting multiples of the same plant together in large groupings makes it easier for pollinators to find and collect pollen and nectar.

  • Plants are planted in groups of 3 or more (at least 3 plants per species)

Plant single bloom varieties: The petals of double or triple bloom varieties can block access to pollen and nectar.

  • Single bloom varieties only

Avoid nativars (native cultivars): These are named varieties and not the true native species. Studies have shown that many nativars are less beneficial (e.g. contain less pollen) than the true native species.

  • Try to avoid using nativars and stick to the true native species (if possible)

2. Provide nesting sites

Bare ground: Many native bees build nests in soil, so leave some bare patches and limit your use of mulch.

  • Limited use of mulch – if you must use mulch only use at base of plant with areas of open bare soil provided
  • When using mulch opt for hay or straw mulch, which is a better alternative to wood chips.

Choose plants with hollow or pithy stems: Some cavity nesting bees use hollow or pithy stems to lay their eggs.

Hollow-stemmed plants:

  • Cup Plant
  • Sunflowers
  • Goldenrod
  • Echinacea
  • Spotted Joe Pye Weed
  • Swamp Milkweed
  • Wild Bergamot

Pithy-stemmed plants:

  • Elderberry
  • Raspberry
  • Rose
  • Sumac

3. Provide water

Offer a drink: Pollinators need water. Add rocks for perch points to a birdbath or shallow dish of water to help bees and butterflies quench their thirst.

  • Water source provided or nearby (does not have to be directly in the garden)

4. Provide sun

Create sunny spots: Butterflies like to bask in the sun.

  • Place flat rocks in sunny, sheltered spots

5. Provide a chemical free zone

Avoid pesticides: Don’t spray pesticides or insecticides, especially neonicotinoids. Ontario has a Pesticide Ban that prohibits the cosmetic use of pesticides.

  • Pesticides will not be used on site at any time

6. Be mindful about maintenance

Leave dead stems: Bundles of sticks and stems that are put out for yard waste collection too early in spring will often contain overwintering bees.

  • Bottom 8 inches of dead stems are left in place
  • Cut stems are bundled and left in garden.
  • Wait until the temperature is consistently above 10 degree Celsius (April or May) before you remove dead stems.

Dead wood: Large branches and decaying logs can be kept in a sunny spot to provide additional shelter, resting sites for birds and nesting locations for bees and other wildlife.

  • Dead branches or logs are incorporated in garden

Leaves: Leave the leaves where they fall or rake them into your garden to provide overwintering habitat for butterflies. Leaves can be removed in late spring, after overwintering adult butterflies are gone, or left in the garden to decompose.

  • Leaves are raked into garden in the fall

Avoid tilling: Keep large patches of land unmown and untilled to provide secure and undisturbed nesting sites for ground-nesting bees.

  • Ground is not tilled

Prevent the spread of invasive plants: Monitor your garden for invasive plants and remove them when detected. For example, the invasive dog-strangling vine has a negative impact on Monarchs – female butterflies mistakenly lay their eggs on it since it’s in the milkweed family, instead of native milkweeds, causing their larvae to starve.

  • Invasive species are removed or reported when detected (Call the Province of Ontario at 1-800-563-7711).

Plant material is replaced: Monitor garden regularly for dead plants and replace accordingly in order to ensure healthy plant diversity.

  • Plant material that does not survive is replaced as required.

7. Spread the word

Tell your friends and neighbours: Help spread the word about what pollinators need by sharing your experience with others. Let them know how they can create or enhance pollinator habitat on their property.

  • Each project participant shares with one other person

Offer tours of your garden: Inspire others to create pollinator gardens by showcasing yours. Identify plants and offer tips for success.

  • Annual garden tour offered (upon request)

Install signage provided: Identify your garden as pollinator-friendly. Create your own sign or use the PollinateTO sign.

  • Signage installed

Download this information here – PollinateTO_Best Practices for Pollinator Education

Educational messaging should align with the guiding principles and priorities of the City’s Pollinator Protection Strategy. The following are best practices for designing a pollinator educational initiative funded by PollinateTO.

1. Incorporate the following key messages:

  • Toronto is home to a wide range of pollinators, including bees, wasps, flies, butterflies, moths, beetles, and birds.
  • Threats to Toronto’s pollinators include forage habitat loss, loss of larval host plants, nesting habitat loss, overwintering habitat loss, pesticides, introduced and invasive species (including honey bees), diseases/pests, and climate change.
  • Habitat loss is the greatest threat to pollinators. Habitat protection, creation and enhancement is key to supporting Toronto’s pollinators.

2. Raise awareness about the differences between native bees and non-native honey bees

  • Toronto’s diverse bee community consists of over 360 species of native bees and one species of managed bee, the European Honey Bee, which is not native to North America.
  • Native bees are primarily solitary, don’t make honey, live underground or cavities, come in a wide range of colours and sizes.
  • Honey bees are not native to North America, managed by beekeepers, and they can be re-established when beekeepers experience a loss.
  • Native bee species are more threatened than honey bees.
  • Mention that Toronto has an Official BeeAgapostemon virescens.

3. Discuss alternatives to beekeeping

  • Many well-meaning individuals may wish to pursue hobby beekeeping in the belief that this is how they can help pollinators. Adding more honey bee colonies to the city without the habitat to support them, adds to the problem.
  • Evidence suggests that native bees may be negatively impacted by urban beekeeping activities. Studies have shown that honey bees may act as an additional stressor on native bees, due to competition for food and the spread of diseases and pests. One honey bee colony can potentially out-compete thousands of native bees for food.
  • Establishing a pollinator garden, or adding pollinator-friendly plants to an existing garden is a much more significant way to help pollinators, including honey bees.

4. How can we help? Pollinators need:

  • Foraging resources – native flowering plants rich in pollen and nectar
  • Larval host plants – butterflies can only lay their eggs on specific plants (eg. monarch and milkweed)
  • Places to nest and overwinter – bare sandy soil, hollow stems, dead wood, leaf litter, etc
  • A chemical free environment – insecticides (especially neonicotinoids) are the most harmful. Toronto’s Pesticide Ban has been in place since 2003.

5. Acknowledge funding support from the City of Toronto

  • On your website, direct participants to www.livegreentoronto.ca for more resources.
  • On all project-related communications and marketing materials, including garden signage, posters, brochures, signage, your newsletter, presentations, videos, etc.
  • At project-related events

Community Engagement and Education Ideas

How will your project educate and engage the community? Some ideas you might consider:

  • offering demonstrations, workshops, or garden tours
  • installing informative signage, plant labels or interpretive art
  • inviting the community to participate in planting, maintenance, and celebratory activities
  • engaging users of the green space (youth, teachers, seniors, families and others) to participate in planning, implementing and/or maintaining your project
  • developing an online tool, webinar or instructional video
  • creating toolkits, how-to guides, lesson plans, and/or teaching activities
  • collecting seeds, sharing plants and/or helping others start their own garden
  • participating in citizen science projects and community research

Templates for application process

Please use these templates to organize your project and submit with your online application:

How to submit documents:

Upload the documents via the online application form or send by email to pollinateTO@toronto.ca – Please include your Group Name & Project Name in the subject line.

PollinateTO Pre-approved City Parks

See a List or a Map.

Resources

City of Toronto Biodiversity Series:

Pollinator Partnership Canada:

Toronto and Region Conservation (TRCA):

Pollination Guelph:

David Suzuki Foundation:

Canadian Wildlife Federation:

Carolinian Canada:

North American Native Plant Society:

Rain gardens:

Where to find native plants:

Videos

Topics What you’ll learn
Bees

with Scott MacIvor

View online

Bees of Toronto book

  • Meet some of Toronto’s wild bees – 360+ species in Toronto
  • Where they live and what they need
  • Ways to help them through individual and community action
Butterflies

with Jessica Linton

View online

Butterflies of Toronto book

  • The wild and wonderful world of butterflies
  • Biology of butterflies and moths, their life cycle strategies
  • Making your garden butterfly friendly
Trees for Bees

with Tara Mabon

April 28, 2021

View online

Trees, Shrubs & Vines of Toronto

  • Species profiles of native trees and shrubs
  • Choose the right species for your site
  • Tree planting basics
  • Tree planting video
Sourcing native plants

presented by Project Swallowtail

View online

  • Learn about the plants that will be for sale through Project Swallowtail as well as how to order them.
  • We will also discuss other sources of native plants, including specialized nurseries, plant trades and swaps, and how to recognize ‘true natives’ at the local garden centre.
Shrinking the Lawn: Eco-friendly alternatives to sod

with Lorraine Johnson

View online

Resources document

  • Explore the benefits of reducing lawn area
  • Suggestions for low-maintenance alternative groundcovers, native plants, shrubs and trees.
  • Practical techniques, such as sod removal and replacement

Forms – For groups that have been approved for a PollinateTO grant.

There are two acknowledgement forms that must be completed. These forms can sent via email to pollinateTO@toronto.ca.

City of Toronto Acknowledgement Forms for PollinateTO – this document contains the following mandatory forms:

  1. An Acknowledgement of Political Activity – this tells us that you will follow City policies for political activity. Please review the Guide to Political Activities for City-funded Community Groups before signing.
  2. Declaration of Compliance with Anti-Harassment/Discrimination Legislation & City Policy – this says you will follow City policies. All City funded groups must agree to the declaration before grant funds can be released.

These are the forms you will need when you spend money:

Round 1 – 2019/2020

Thirty-five applications were selected to receive funding from among 151 applications submitted. Approved projects include community faith gardens, Indigenous education gardens, residential rain gardens, schoolyard teaching gardens, and multiple front-yard gardens on residential streets (which serve as pollinator pathways).

In total, over 115 gardens and almost 9,000 square metres of pollinator habitat will be created through these projects.

Congratulations to the groups listed below!

Group: Appleton Ave. Community Organization Project: Appleton Ave. Pollinator Corridor
This project will create a pollinator corridor consisting of 15 pollinator patches along Appleton Ave. The project will result in a complex urban ecosystem and engage the community through planting days, speakers, children’s activities, and a community potluck.
Group: Argonaut Rowing Club Project: Argonaut Growing Club Pollinator Project
The Argonaut Rowing Club is proposing a pollinator garden near the Martin Goodman trail. The project will create plant identifiers and signage that is easily visible from the Martin Goodman trail. The project is supported by a dedicated gardener and team of volunteers.
Group: Bain Butterfly Way Project: The Bain Butterfly Way Project
The Bain Butterfly Way project will create five pollinator gardens at the Bain Cooperative. The goals are to map and create a pollinator pathway that would connect our native plant species throughout the Bain, while also building a sense of stewardship for the land and an appreciation for native plant species. The community engagement and education plans include a community planting day, guided plant tours, and a partnership with a local school to co-create a pollinator-themed art project.
Group: Bell Manor Pollinators Project: Bell Manor Park Community Pollinator Garden
This project will create a pollinator community garden in Bell Manor Park. The community garden, which is part of the Community Health Centre’s Food Access Program, addresses the lack of space for growing in lower-income neighbourhoods and provides an alternative food source and access to community activities and connections among many cultural diverse circles. A component of the project will be to have AlterEden deliver four workshops to educate the community about the needs of pollinators.
Group: Bernard Betel Centre Project: Bernard Betel Centre Community Pollinator Garden
This garden will be created on a non-profit community centre property that has been serving the community for 54 years. The Bernard Betel Centre currently holds 120 programs a week and the pollinator garden will be incorporated into their programming, allowing residents in the community to enjoy and learn more about pollinators.
Group: Carlton-Sherbourne Garden Group Project: Rooming House Beeuties
The Carlton-Sherbourne Group is partnering with Dixon Hall to create multiple pollinator gardens in the front yards of Toronto Community Housing properties in the Cabbagetown area. This project aims to increase the vibrancy and resilience of the community through this beautification process. The goal is to build upon and nurture the pollinator patches and expand the project to all 23 Toronto Community Housing properties in the area.
Group: Centre for Immigrant and Community Services (CICS) Project: The ENRICH Pollinator Garden
CICS is a multi-service registered charity and a leader in serving immigrants in Toronto and the GTA for 50 years, helping newcomers develop a sense of inclusion and belonging in their new communities. CICS would like to introduce a pollinator garden to enhance their educational programming and their work towards building community connectedness and leadership skills around urban gardening.
Group: Chester School Pollinator Garden Team Project: Chester School Pollinator Garden
This proposal from the Chester Eco Community will create a pollinator learning garden at Chester Elementary School, a Platinum EcoSchool. The school will create and maintain a year-round pollinator garden and promote the awareness and education of the role of pollinators and native species in our ecosystem, and provide enjoyment for students and the wider community.
Group: Church of the Resurrection Project: Resurrection Garden
The Church of the Resurrection will fill seven beds with native plants and shrubs to create habitat for bees, butterflies, and birds. The garden spaces will contain signage to educate the community about the need to support these creatures.
Group: CSPC – Transfiguration Project: Transfiguration Pollinator Garden
The parent council at Transfiguration of our Lord Catholic School will lead the creation of a pollinator teaching garden at the school. The goal is to provide pollinators with an additional resource in our neighbourhood by creating a pollinator garden and to educate the community.
Group: Danforth Gardens Neighbourhood Association Project: Danforth Gardens Neighbourhood Pollinator Corridor
This neighbourhood association is proposing a pollinator pathway that will create pollinator gardens at Danforth Gardens Public School, and transform several residential properties from lawns to pollinator habitat. The project will engage the community through garden tours and native plant sales to inspire others to transform their green spaces.
Group: David Hornell Junior School & Mimico Residents Association Project: David Hornell Pollinator Gardens
This proposal from David Hornell Elementary School and Mimico Residents Association will create three pollinator garden areas within David Hornell’s established eco school grounds. This initiative will help to revitalize David Hornell’s outdoor classroom and provide students with important eco-learning opportunities. This project will also provide significant benefit to the surrounding Mimico and neighbouring communities.
Group: Evergreen Project: Pollinator Revitalization Project
Evergreen Brick Works is located in the Don Valley ravine system and is a vital access point to nature for Torontonians. Evergreen works to promote and preserve native species and will transform the Tiffany Commons space into pollinator gardens. Evergreen welcomes nearly half a million visitors a year and with their contact through these gardens, visitors will be able to learn more about pollinator habitats.
Group: FJR Pollinator Group Project: FJR Pollinator Project
Father John Redmond (FJR) Secondary School will create a pollinator garden that will provide benefits to the school, the Ken Cox Community Centre and the greater Lakeshore community. It would include the collaborative efforts of the biology department, Eco-club, and the parent council to build and maintain the garden. Wider school community including the Summer School courses and Ken Cox Community programs will also share in the regular care of the garden during summer months. The vision is that the pollinator garden would serve to invite the enjoyment of the school community and beyond, and at the same time, provide a necessary habitat for pollinators.
Group: Garrison Creek Park Community Garden (GCPCG) Project: Garrison Creek Park Pollinator Gardens
This group plans to build a community pollinator garden in Garrison Creek Park. The garden will engage over 50 families in the area already involved in urban gardening, serving as an educational tool for the public with signage, plant labels and tours. This pollinator garden will complement the existing pollinator murals located in the area as well as the Green Line project connecting green spaces in the city.
Group: George Chuvalo Community Center Project: GCCC Gardens
The pollinator garden will be one of the first community projects for this new community centre. The goal is to establish sustainability as one of the community’s priorities through the collaborative experience of growing a pollinator garden. The key elements of the project will be a garden design inspired by the rainbow flag, and educational workshops on pollinators, seed saving and seed starting.
Group: Green Thumbs Growing Kids Project: Flower Power
Green Thumbs Growing Kids is a community group that have been growing plants with children, youth and families for 20 years. They are partnered with four schools in the Toronto District School Board to create and maintain pollinator gardens, used for experiential learning connected to curriculum objectives in the school year.

Watch how Green Thumbs Growing Kids Opens in new window created pollinator gardens at schools in Toronto!

Group: Greenland & Community Butterflyway Pollinator Garden Project: Pollinator Waystation
Greenland Public School is a platinum level Eco school with a long tradition of creating learning spaces, beautifying school grounds and educating children and the community of the importance of eco initiatives.  The pollinator garden will be used as a teaching tool, Monarch waystation and tour site for the larger community.
Group: Harbord Collegiate Institute & Palmerston Area Residents Association Project: Harbord Collegiate PARA Pollinator Garden
This proposal is a school-community collaboration between the Harbord Collegiate Eco team and the Palmerston Area Residents Association (PARA) Green Committee. The goal of this project is the creation of two permanent pollinator gardens within the south-facing front yard of Harbord Collegiate and along Harbord Street. As part of meeting this goal, the garden will educate and engage students, staff and community on the importance of pollinators, native plants, biodiversity and organic gardening.
Group: Hopewell Community Garden Project: Hopewell Pollinator Garden
This group plans to introduce a community pollinator garden to an underused area in Walter Saunders Memorial Park. The garden expands the capacity of Hopewell Community Garden, allowing for increased participation and alternative horticultural learning opportunities for participants. The goal is to become a local resource for the public, schools and community groups wanting to learn more about horticulture, pollinators and the importance they play in our urban ecosystem.
Group: Kapapamahchakwew Parent Council, (Wandering Spirit School Parent Council) Project: Gitigaan
Wandering Spirit School Parent Council is a group of dedicated volunteers and staff who have strong ties to the Indigenous community in Toronto. The project will create a garden that will provide opportunities for the school community to share cultural knowledge about pollinators and Indigenous plants with the surrounding community. The goal is to inspire others to plant native plants, create their own pollinator garden, and share information.
Group: King George Junior Public School Parent Council Project: King George Pollinator Garden
The King George Garden Committee is proposing a pollinator teaching garden at King George Junior Public School. The garden will space for students to engage in active learning about biodiversity, ecology, and stewardship. The garden will also be presented as a demonstration garden that encourages residents in the area to consider how their plant choices and gardening practices affect native pollinator species.
Group: Naadmaagit Ki (NKG) “Helpers of the Earth” Project: Aamoog, Memengwaag miinwaa Nenookaasiwag (Bees, Butterflies & Hummingbirds)
St. Anne’s Church invited NKG to care for the land adjacent to the church in 2013. With the help of committed volunteers, the space will be transformed into a shared community pollinator garden. NKG intends to offer culturally-rooted, indigenous educational opportunities for the community.
Group: Neighbours4Nectar Project: Neighbours4Nectar
Six households at the intersection of Westlake and Westbrook Avenues will form the Neighbours4Nectar project, planting demonstration pollinator gardens in front yards to create a pollinator pathway, and engaging local residents in learning why pollinator gardens are important and how to establish them successfully. Open planting days, garden tours and pollinator-themed kids’ activities will involve a wide range of neighbours in the project.
Group: Rain Gardens United (RGU) Project: Greenwood Pollinator Rain Gardens
The first phase of the Greenwood Pollinator Gardens includes three rain gardens on Alton Avenue and Sawden Avenue near Greenwood Park. The three rain gardens will capture and infiltrate at least 90% of annual rainfall from the roof downspouts. This will benefit the overall stormwater system in the neighbourhood, which is known to cause nuisance issues throughout Greenwood Park. As climate change increases the frequency and intensity of rainfall events, green infrastructure such as these rain gardens will help make the storm sewer system more resilient by retaining rainfall close to where raindrops hit the ground.
Group: Ravina Community Garden Project: Ravina Community Garden Pollinator Project
The Ravina Community Garden will transform an existing lawn bowling club space and create an experience for community members to directly engage with the plant and wildlife growing in the garden. The project proposes the creation of a stone wall for cavity nesting native pollinators. There will be educational opportunities for members of this intergenerational community garden to learn through hands-on experience of creating the garden.
Group: Regenesis Pollinate UTSC (University of Toronto Scarborough Campus)
The University of Toronto Scarborough Campus (UTSC) aims to create a pollinator-friendly campus. The project proposes the creation of four new pollinator gardens AND the enhancement of an existing butterfly garden. The project will use signage to raise awareness about native bees and outline the best practices to create a pollinator-friendly garden. Through the process of creating the gardens, students and staff will engage in awareness building activities (e.g. planting session, seed saving session, seed and plant sharing).
Group: Rouge Valley Foundation Project: Bombus Native Garden Project
The Rouge Valley Foundation will be planting native flower species specifically selected for the native Bumblebees that are in dramatic decline, specifically American Bumble Bee and the Yellow Banded Bumble Bee. There will be four unused areas of the existing native garden area that will be planted with species designed to flower throughout the spring, summer and fall season. Each area will also be paired with a series of bumble bee nesting boxes that will be installed within the garden plots and monitored throughout the year to determine presence, abundance and species usage.
Group: Scarborough Arts Project: Pollinator Art – Planting and Botanical Illustration Program
Scarborough Arts is a non-profit organization with over 40 years of service and is the only arts organization of its kind specifically serving residents from low-income, and newcomer populations in Scarborough. This project will engage participants (youth, adults) in arts and environmental education activities centred on pollinator-friendly plants, with the ultimate goal of planting a collaborative community pollinator garden at the Scarborough Arts’ home office.
Group: Scarborough Bluffs Community Association Project: Bluffs Pollinator Garden
The Scarborough Bluffs Community Association is proposing a community pollinator garden in Sandown Park. The goal is to encourage children to visit the park with their families and learn about pollinators. The final result can be used as an educational tool for future school projects on pollinators, native plants and environmental issues.
Group: St. Wilfrid Catholic School Project: ECO Rangers School Grounds Greening Project
The ECO Rangers at St. Wilfrid Catholic School have kept the students, staff and community involved in issues that are related to saving our Earth. Students and staff will work together to create a pollinator teaching garden. These gardens will enhance student learning by providing a natural, pleasing, relaxing setting and sparking discussions about the new additional plants and animals that they attract.
Group: Sunshine Centres for Seniors Project: Sunshine Pollinator Gardens: Seniors and Youth Bee-utify Our Community
Sunshine Centres for Seniors was first established in 1970 with its flagship program, Camp Sunshine on Ward’s Island. The organization now comprises eight centres offering innovative and empowering programs for seniors and youth throughout Toronto. This project will create three pollinator gardens at the Parsonage building on Ward’s Island, providing opportunities for all who visit to learn about the importance of pollinators. The community will also be significantly involved in planting and maintaining the gardens.
Group: The Toronto Heschel School Project: Project Nectar
Project Nectar will be an educational pollinator garden at the Toronto Heschel School. The goal is to give students, teachers, and community members an opportunity to learn about the important role that pollinators play in supporting local and global ecosystems as well as to contribute to Toronto’s ongoing effort to expand pollinator habitats. As a Jewish school, it is incumbent to care for the Earth as part of the concept of ‘Tikkun Olam’ or repairing the world.  Project Nectar will be open to all community members and we will actively engage our neighbours in its construction and care. Project Nectar will be a hands-on way for students to explore how they fit into the complex ecological processes of nature.
Group: Toronto Chinese Mennonite Church Project: Toronto Chinese Mennonite Church Community Garden
This project proposes the creation of a community pollinator garden at the Toronto Chinese Mennonite Church at Woodbine and Danforth. Many residents engage with the space including three congregations within the church (English, Mandarin, Cantonese), “Kei Lok Yuen” senior’s group, children’s Sunday school, and daycare. This pollinator garden will beautify the site, engage the various groups using the site, and raise community awareness about the needs of pollinators.
Group: Windermere United Church Project: Windermere United Church and Friends’ Pollinator Project
The project will create a pollinator garden at Windermere United Church. The project will engage children from the church school, community cooking class, the on-site daycare (Windermere Kids) and the Swansea School of Dance, as well as many other groups that use the church building during the week.

 

Round 2 – 2020/2021

Thirty-three applications were selected to receive funding to create pollinator gardens in their communities, including 12 located in Toronto’s Neighbourhood Improvement Areas.

In total, over 60 gardens and 5,000 square metres of pollinator habitat will be created through these projects.

Congratulations to the groups listed below!

Group: 757 Gardening Committee Project: Bee Kind Pollinator Rockery Garden
757 Victory Park Condo has a large empty rockery area that is located within the North West portion of our property. It is a perfect location for a large pollinator friendly garden and we are excited to get working on this garden. This area is clearly visible to our residents and our neighbours. We hope this project will bring together members of our community to help plant and help beautify the neighbourhood.
Group: 75th Old Mill Scouts Project: 75th Old Mill Toronto Pollinator Garden
The project will create a pollinator garden at St. Paul’s Church, home of the 75th Old Mill Scout Group. This space will provide education for the Beavers, Cubs and Scouts as well as to the church parish and local community. It is hoped that this garden will inspire others to plant native pollinator plants to create an ever expanding pollinator pathway within our city.
Group: Agincourt Community Services Association (ACSA) Project: Chester Le Pollinator Pad
The Chester Le Pollinator Pad will create a pollinator garden within the current Chester Le Olive Garden through the placement of a wide variety of native pollinator plants to create a sustainable pollinator habitat. Through this project community residents will receive workshops and demonstrations that feature the importance of pollinators, the connection to climate change and food production, and will learn about the tools needed to do more pollinator work within the community. This community-based project seeks to enhance the resiliency of the Chester Le Olive garden and the surrounding neighborhood’s ecosystems while supporting local food availability.
Group: CALC Secondary School Project: CALC Secondary Pollinator Garden
City Adult Learning Centre (CALC) is excited about our Pollinator Garden, which will actually cover several areas and thus be part of more than one outdoor teaching space. The centerpiece will be our food garden, which will be surrounded on three sides by a pollinator garden. The pollinators will benefit the food crops, be aesthetically pleasing, and promote learning about all aspects of botany and agriculture.
Group: Flemingdon Park Ministry Project: The Common Table Pollinator Garden and Labyrinth
The Common Table is a food security project of Flemingdon Park Ministry. We grow fresh, organic produce on our urban farm for the Flemingdon Park neighbourhood. Our Pollinator Garden and Labyrinth project will increase the biodiversity of our farm, supporting pollinators and wildlife. With signage, workshops, and a prayer labyrinth, this garden will also provide a space for education and reflection for the community.
Group: FoodShare Toronto Project: Flemo Farm Pollinator Corridor Project
Flemo Farm is a new community-developed and community-owned ½ acre urban farm located in Flemingdon Park. This project will create a pollinator area in the Farm perimeter and plant over 1,220 perennial native flowers to create and support the habitat for bees, butterflies, beetles and other pollinators in the park. The pollinator garden will sustain the growing production at Flemo Farm.
Group: Fr. Henry Carr (FHC) Environmental Club Project: BEE-U-TIFLY Done habitat project
The Father Henry Carr (FHC) BEE-U-TIFLY Done habitat project will be a collaborative effort supported by a diverse team of FHC students, parents, staff, and community members. Our project’s primary goal is to increase the ecological value of the school’s existing greenspace by planting several different native flowers, shrubs, and trees to create new habitat for native pollinator species. The garden will include informative signage, observation areas, and an eco-friendly pathway. This natural setting will also serve as an inclusive cross-curricular outdoor education resource, providing an opportunity to enjoy and learn about nature. This includes descriptions and visuals of environmentally significant plants which may be observed. We hope that our garden will demonstrate what local communities can do to promote the biodiversity and protection of pollinators in urban environments.
Group: Friends of Allan Gardens Project: The Pollinator Playground at Allan Gardens
The Friends of Allan Gardens is a volunteer-based organization that is working to imagine and lead the revitalization of Allan Gardens park and conservatory. The “Pollinator Playground” project will create a demonstration garden within the children’s playground at Allan Gardens. This new garden will connect with existing pollinator gardens in the park to create a pollinator pathway. The garden will help to green the playground, and get families up close and interested in native plants and pollinators. Through community planting days, children’s activities, volunteer-led garden tours and signage, this project has the potential to engage and educate hundreds of local families who visit on a regular basis.
Group: Friends of Guild Park / Guildwood Butterflyway Project Project: Guild Park Pollinator Garden
The Pollinator Garden at Guild Park will help support the Carolinian Forest ecosystem found at this 88-acre site atop the Scarborough Bluffs. Guild Park is part of a well-established migratory route for butterflies and birds. Local volunteers will convert an underused area into the park’s first native pollinator garden. The project includes an outdoor education resource where local residents and students from nearby schools can learn about pollinators, horticulture and our urban green space.
Group: Garden Club of Toronto Project: Metropolitan United Church Pollinator Garden
The Garden Club of Toronto has partnered with Metropolitan United Church (MUC) to create two native plant-only pollinator gardens that flank the main entrance. Our plans include a rich tapestry of 41 different varieties of native plants, shrubs, trees and a vine that will provide rich displays from March to October and food and shelter for a variety of wildlife throughout the year. To recognize MUC’s inclusive nature, one section has been designed as a “Pride” garden and will bloom with the rainbow colors of the Pride Flag during the month of June. We have used online remote events such as an online seed-starting workshop and blog as our first steps to engage members. To ensure the long-term success of this project, we will be training volunteers and preparing a manual on appropriate maintenance methods that minimize soil and plant disturbance.
Group: Harmony Community Food Centre Project: The Harmony Pollinator Garden
The Harmony Pollinator Garden will be an extension and expansion to South Riverdale Community Health Centre’s Harmony Community Food Centre and Senior’s Active Living Centre programs on site at 2 Gower St. The garden will create a pollinator corridor around our site and with neighbouring George Webster Elementary School garden. The primary goal of the project is to introduce new habitat and food source for pollinators with native perennial plants. The garden will create opportunities for community education and engagement around the importance of pollinator stewardship and how crucial they are to the health of our ecology and food systems. It will provide a beautiful space to connect and grow with our diverse community and participants.
Group: Indigenous Peoples Solidarity Group  Project: Right Relations Garden
Noojimo’iwewin Gitigaan—Healing Garden at St. Matthew’s United Church is a modest start for the National Healing Forests Initiative in the city of Toronto. In 2021, our crew is building a rain garden and pollinator pathway, labelling the 125+ plants we grow, and—with the guidance of Elder-in-Residence Peduhbun Migizi Kwe–offering opportunities to learn about Indigenous and settler peoples, and as human beings living within the natural world.
Group: JBV Gardening Committee Project: Pollinating South Parkdale: A Cooperative Community Garden
Located in the heart of South Parkdale, John Bruce Village Housing Cooperative is fortunate to have over 1800 square feet of garden space that is shared by 40 mixed income households. We will enhance this existing green space by creating a pollinator-friendly garden that is comprised primarily of native plants, and that captures rain water more efficiently. The project aims to foster a shared commitment to stewarding our natural spaces. We will do this through youth engagement during the development of the garden, and through awareness building and educational events for the wider community.
Group: John A Leslie Parent Council Project: JAL Bee-utiful Garden Expansion Project
This project at John A Leslie (JAL) Public School will expand the existing pollinator garden, as well as create new beds in the adjacent field. Increasing the number of native plants in our neighbourhood will allow us to participate in a greater community initiative, the Cliffcrest Butterfly Way, which is important, as our school grounds lie on an migratory pathway for many pollinators and birds. Our JAL Bee-U-tiful garden expansion project will also beautify school grounds, and provide stewardship teaching to students and the greater community on the importance of supporting native pollinators and increasing local biodiversity.
Group: Lambton Park Community School Project: Lambton Park Environmental Learning Garden
The Lambton Park Environmental Learning Garden will serve as a school teaching garden, a learning ground for environmental literacy and a pollinator habitat creation project using native North American plants that educates and engages the community.
Group: Malvern Family Resource Centre Project: Eco-Learning Pollinator Garden
Malvern Family Resource Centre is excited to create a natural pollinator garden so we can increase eco-learning opportunities in Malvern. Our design will include pollinator plants which will form a natural backdrop to enhance and beautify our garden. Signage, tours and eco-learning sessions will help community members understand the importance that pollinators have on our eco-systems, inspiring them to grow their own eco-gardens to make a difference in our environment.
Group: Monarch Park Pollinator Partners (MPPP) Project: Monarch Park Collegiate Institute Pollinator Gardens
This project involves the revitalization of a student-planted pollinator garden and the creation of a second garden on school property. Local residents and students will collaborate to maintain the gardens and educate the community about pollinators and pollinator habitat.
Group: OCAD University Project: Friendship Community Garden
OCAD University is proposing a pollinator garden at the site of Butterfield Park located at 100 McCaul Street. This garden will strive to increase habitat for pollinator species, support universal design and accessibility, and bridge staff/students/faculty in a living project that expands natural spaces for learning, well-being, and a sense of belonging. It’s an opportunity to increase awareness of the artist/designer role to protect ecological systems and integrate biodiversity into daily urban life and build connections between people and land.
Group: Scadding Court Community Centre & Friends of Alexandra Park Project: Alexandra Park Pollinator Power
Alexandra Park Pollinator Power is a partnership between community gardeners from the Alexandra Park Diversity Garden; urban agriculture program staff and volunteers from Scadding Court Community Centre; and volunteers with the Friends of Alexandra Park neighbourhood group. AP Pollinator Power will work collaboratively to develop a pollinator habitat and a site for community building, education and recreation. Community members will be involved in planting and maintaining the pollinator garden during the growing season and will participate in educational workshops to deepen their knowledge of pollinator insects, native plants and best practices for maintaining this type of garden.
Group: Shirley Street Junior Public School Gardeners Project: Shirley Street Pollinator Garden
Our garden transformation plans include adding an abundance of native plants and shrubs to our existing outdoor space to attract many different pollinators, providing learning opportunities and a place of serenity and joy for our students and the wider community.
Group: South Parkdale Native Plant Gardeners Project: South Parkdale Habitat Gardens Project
The South Parkdale Habitat Gardens Project is a native plant restoration initiative that will introduce native plant gardening to South Parkdale, an old Toronto neighbourhood, with a goal to create gardens that support pollinators, provide many ecological benefits, and be an example to the community on how native plant gardening can have a positive impact for wildlife and people. South Parkdale Native Plant Gardeners will establish and restore native plantings to public areas and encourage neighbourhood residents to plant natives in their gardens as well. We will engage & encourage individuals and the community as a whole to plant for pollinators – greening of the neighbourhood. South Parkdale currently lacks significant green space and gardens, including a lack of native perennials, trees and shrubs. Our goal is to eventually connect all of South Parkdale with a native plant gardening network, incorporating both public and private properties. This network will provide food, shelter, habitat and all the necessities of life to pollinators and wildlife, all beneficial to a healthy urban wildlife ecosystem.
Group: South Parkdale Pollinators Project: Springhurst and Close Pollinator Corridor
This will be a woodland garden in South Parkdale on a corner adjoining five houses that will also be adding pollinators to their front gardens. It’s a corner is used my many pedestrians, as well as being very close to two elementary schools, a rehabilitation centre, and a long-term care facility.
Group: St. Angela Catholic School Project: Environment Club Pollinator Garden
more details coming soon
Group: St. Basil-the-Great College Pollinators (SBC) Project: Pollinator Garden
The SBC Pollinators are grateful for the opportunity to use this grant to support our role as stewards of the Earth. Through this project, we aim to foster students’ development into responsible citizens and life-long learners who actively sustain the well-being of our environment. Our pollinator garden will be located at the front of our school and will be visible for all to enjoy.
Group: St. Cyril Parent Council Project: St. Cyril Pollinator Garden
We will be enhancing our outdoor yard by creating a home and a safe space for our butterflies, bees as well as any other type of insects. We look forward in teaching, not only our students but also our community, about the benefits of planting native species as well as educating everyone about how to care and maintain such a garden. Our project is exactly what our community needs as this will create new dialogue about the insects and what it takes to help protect them. Our team will be using native plants as well as perennials and creating a “drinking station” for our insects. We have a beautiful space where we will build 2 separate gardens in order to attract twice as many insects as we can. Let’s keep them “BEEsy”. Our goal is to have a safe space for them to feel comfortable to eat, drink and possibly nest.
Group: St. Louis Catholic School Project: St. Louis Pollinator Garden
St. Louis school plans to transform our existing community-facing green space into a pollinator garden with the help of our students, staff and community volunteers. In addition, we will plant larval host plants at the base of our trees in the main schoolyard, which will add more plants amidst the concrete, assist with water retention for our trees and create more habitat for our pollinator friends. This project will engage our students in hands-on learning about the role of pollinators and native species in their own backyard for many years to come.
Group: Sustainability at Centennial Project: Pollinators at Progress
Sustainability at Centennial College group will be creating a pollinator garden on the south half of Progress Campus, which boarders Morningside Park in Scarborough, Ontario. The garden will feature over 130 native species plants and shrubs, with plant identification signage. Our college community will be invited to engage in an on-site planting and virtual webinar focused on the importance of native species pollinator gardens, increasing our canopy cover and green spaces to mitigate the impacts of climate change in our urban communities.
Group: Taddlewood Heritage Association Project: Butterfly Entrance, Wychwood Barns Park
Taddlewood Heritage Association will create a pollinator garden where Slade Avenue meets the south entrance to Wychood Barns Park in the St Clair/Christie area. What is now bare ground will become the Butterfly Entrance to Wychwood Barns Park and when finished will be full of life and colour and visible along the full length of Slade Ave as well as from several vantage points inside the park.
Group: The Neighbourhood Organization (TNO) Project: TNO Pollinator Garden
A pollinator garden will be part of Leaside Park Community Garden and will not only create habitat for the pollinators to thrive but also create a beautiful, colourful space in the neighborhood that will help raise awareness, educate the community, especially the younger generation through workshops and training.
Group: Thorncliffe Park Women’s Committee Project: Thorncliffe Pollinator Garden
Thorncliffe Pollinator Garden is an intergenerational project that will enable and empower families of Thorncliffe Park neighbourhood to learn environmental sustainability, conservation and other earth-friendly practices. Our project will create the pollinators garden areas in our existing Thorncliffe Family Garden to promote education and awareness of the role of pollinators and native species to the families in a fun, free, creative and accessible way.
Group: Toronto Birth Centre (TBC) Project: T’Karanto Ondaadizi-Gamig Mushkiki Gitigaan – Toronto Birth Centre Medicine Garden
The TBC currently has a small garden which we have maintained with little funds but a lot of care. Currently the garden mainly grows calendula, strawberry and sage. We are committed to put on more educational events within our existing programing at the Garden. We want to invite Elders and Indigenous teachers to share plant knowledge and teachings with our larger community about growing, harvesting and storage of the medicines. Speakers will teach about Indigenous medicines and decolonization, food justice, planting and creating a welcoming habitat for pollinators such birds, bees, insects and butterflies to share the space and educate about their importance to the Regent Park community.
Group: Toronto Green Community Project: Eglinton Park Community Garden (EPCG)
Since 1997, Eglinton Park Community Garden has been a haven of edibles and native plants. In 2020, we began restoration following a two-year closure due to nearby construction. This project will allow us to engage volunteers who are excited to cultivate native plants, and a wild meadow of pollinator plants. Signage and plant ID tags will raise awareness of the role of pollinators and native species in our ecosystem. A message board will promote our activities and workshops to help further educate and build community. Through our collaboration with “Growing Our Roots” (a project funded by the Indigenous Arts & Culture Partnership) and EPCG’s Medicine Wheel Garden, we will highlight Indigenous ecological knowledge and create a welcoming space for Indigenous people to grow and harvest food and medicines.
Group: Woburn JR. Public School Project: Pollinator Learning Garden
Woburn Junior Public School is a TDSB certified EcoSchool, and will use the grant to create a Pollinator Learning Garden. The school will build a pollinator garden on school grounds and Woburn Junior families from the Tuxedo Court buildings will help maintain it through the summer months. School staff and Community Members will promote the awareness of the role of pollinators and native species in our ecosystem, and provide education and enjoyment for students at the school and the wider community.