PollinateTO provides funding for pollinator gardens located in Toronto. This year, priority will be given to projects located in Toronto’s 31 Neighbourhood Improvement Areas (NIAs). Gardens will be planted in 2021 and 2022.
Through its PollinateTO grants program, the City funds pollinator habitat creation projects that educate and engage the community.
Up to $5,000 per project is available.
Are you interested in gardening and protecting pollinators? Would you like to:
If you answered yes to any of the above, please apply to PollinateTO for funding to support your idea!
PollinateTO advances the principles and priorities of the City’s Pollinator Protection Strategy.
Watch how Green Thumbs Growing Kids created pollinator gardens at schools in Toronto!
In 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.
Approved projects include community faith gardens, Indigenous education gardens, residential rain gardens, schoolyard teaching gardens, boulevard gardens, and multiple front-yard gardens on residential streets (which serve as pollinator pathways). In total, more than 10,000 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.|
Please join us for the following information sessions in April 2021. All are welcome!
|Dates & Topics||What you’ll learn|
|Week 1: Native Plants
with Lorraine Johnson
April 7, 7 – 8 pm
|Week 2: Bees
with Scott MacIvor
April 14, 7 – 8 pm
|Week 3: Butterflies
with Jessica Linton
April 21, 7 – 8 pm
|Week 4: Trees for Bees
with Tara Mabon
April 28, 7 – 8 pm
|Week 5: Sourcing native plants
presented by Project Swallowtail
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.
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.
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.
Pollinator habitat includes the following:
Ideal pollinator habitat features native plants that are locally-grown and pesticide-free.
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.
Important! You must “call before you dig”. This process will identify an 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.
Toronto Public Health has created guidelines for gardening during COVID-19. While these public health guidelines are mandatory for users of community and allotment gardens, it is also recommended that anyone participating in group gardening activities adhere to these guidelines.
As such, we are urging all PollinateTO groups to follow the relevant measures in the Public Health guidelines. Please review the guidelines and make sure that all members of your group are aware of what is expected.
You can use the Plant List Chart template to help you organize your plant choices.
See our list of native wildflowers for Toronto gardens below.
Gardens must include at least one species of goldenrod and at least one species of milkweed.
Goldenrod blooms in the late summer and early fall. Their deep golden colour stands out in the fall when many summer blooms have faded out. You may have heard that goldenrod is responsible for allergies, but this is an old misconception. The plant responsible for allergies is ragweed, which flowers at the same time.
Recognized as a keystone species (which means other species in an ecosystem largely depend on it), goldenrod serves as both host and food source to a wide array of insects, moths and caterpillars. Monarch butterflies, bees, caterpillars and birds will benefit from all that goldenrod has to offer.
Here are a few goldenrod species to consider for your garden that are easy to grow, drought tolerant and easy to find:
|Stiff goldenrod (Solidago rigida)||Zig-zag goldenrod (Solidago flexicaulis)|
|Showy goldenrod (Solidago speciosa)|
|Grey-stemmed (Solidago nemoralis)||Blue-stemmed goldenrod (Solidago caesia)|
|Early goldenrod (Solidago juncea)|
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.
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.
There are 14 species of milkweed in Canada. 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
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)|
Choosing native wildflowers can make your garden beautiful, easy to maintain and help support local pollinators like bees and butterflies.
Here are some native 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.
|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|
|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|
|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|
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).
More native species profiles:
|Applications open||November 16, 2020|
|Application deadline||January 18, 2021|
|Application review||February 2021|
|Applicants notified||March 2021|
|Online orientation session||April 2021|
|Successful applicants receive partial funding (90%)||May 2021|
|Gardens planted||Spring/Summer/Fall 2021|
|Completion and evaluation||by end of 2022|
|Completed projects receive remaining funding (10%)||Within 60 days of proof of completion and final report received|
Please note: Timelines are subject to change
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.
Decide on a name for your Group. Select a Group Lead to be the main contact.
Make a list of potential garden locations in your neighbourhood. Choose garden sites that are open/visible to the public, have access to water and are easy for your group to get to (walking distance is ideal).
Engage with the property owner of the land – share your idea and seek their approval.
If your project location is a City park, please ensure you have the support of the Park Supervisor before applying. Call 311 to connect.
If your project involves a school, you must have support from the principal.
Use the Property Owner Permission template (Word doc) provided.
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. See the Community Engagement and Education Ideas section for ideas.
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.
You must partner with a sponsoring organization to act as a trustee. The trustee will administer your group’s grant funds. See the Selecting a Trustee section for more details.
You must apply using the online application form before the deadline. The Group Lead, Trustee or Partner Organization can complete the application form.
The following documents are required to evaluate your proposal:
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. Priority will be given to project located Toronto’s 31 Neighbourhood Improvement Areas (NIAs).
Successful applicants will receive an approval letter via email and details about next steps.
Successful applicants will attend an online information session to learn more about the next steps.
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.
Most (approximately 90 per cent) of the funding will be provided in advance to get you started. The remaining (approximately 10 per cent) will be provided upon proof of completion.
Your group has until December 2022 to complete your project.
As your project progresses, please notify the PollinateTO Program Manager about any events or milestones (such as groundbreaking, workshops, planting events, art installations, garden tours, etc.) so that we can help support and promote your project. We may also like to participate!
Grant recipients must acknowledge the financial assistance provided by the City of Toronto in program materials, communications and signage, including any promotional materials used in project activities.
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:
Applications were accepted from November 16, 2020 to January 18, 2021.
PollinateTO supports projects that create pollinator gardens in Toronto. Priority will be given to gardens located in Toronto’s Neighbourhood Improvement Areas (NIAs). Projects must also educate and engage the community.
PollinateTO is open to all resident-led groups and non-profit groups. All groups must have at least three residents of Toronto who make up the group.
Important Note: You must partner with a sponsoring organization to act as a trustee. There is more information below about selecting a trustee.
Examples of eligible projects include:
Examples of projects the City will NOT fund include:
If you are unsure if your idea is eligible, please contact the PollinateTO Program Manager at pollinateTO@toronto.ca
Funding can only be used for the direct delivery of the proposed project.
Download this information here –PollinateTO Community Grants Eligible Expenses.
Examples of fundable budget line items:
Examples of budget line items that are not fundable:
Groups that do not have official not-for-profit status must work with a trustee organization to receive funding.
The trustee organization should have knowledge about the issues your project addresses or experience in the community your group works with. It could be an organization that your group is currently working with or has worked with in the past.
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 and mentorship.
Trustee organizations must meet all of the following eligibility criteria and be approved by City staff to act as your trustee:
The trustee organization:
Trustee organizations may charge fees for their services. The fee arrangement should be included in the Trustee Agreement.
The PollinateTO program allocates funding for trustee fees of up to 10% of the grant. If you will be working with a trustee, please account for the trustee fee in your proposed budget.
A Trustee Agreement is a formal agreement between your group and your Trustee organization. City of Toronto staff must approve the Trustee Agreement before funds will be paid. Your group and the trustee organization will need to write your own agreement together.
A sample trustee agreement between Social Planning Toronto (trustee) and a grant recipient can be found at:
A Review Committee will review applications and recommend funding using the following process:
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. See the Project Requirements section for what elements are mandatory.
Use this checklist to help you create or enhance pollinator-friendly habitat in your community.
Plant native: Choose native plants, trees and shrubs rich in pollen and nectar. Locally grown and pesticide free are best.
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.
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.
Mass plantings: Planting multiples of the same plant together in large groupings makes it easier for pollinators to find and collect pollen and nectar.
Plant single bloom varieties: The petals of double or triple bloom varieties can block access to pollen and nectar.
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.
Bare ground: Many native bees build nests in soil, so leave some bare patches and limit your use of mulch.
Choose plants with hollow or pithy stems: Some cavity nesting bees use hollow or pithy stems to lay their eggs.
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.
Create sunny spots: Butterflies like to bask in the sun.
Avoid pesticides: Don’t spray pesticides or insecticides, especially neonicotinoids. Ontario has a Pesticide Ban that prohibits the cosmetic use of pesticides.
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.
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.
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.
Avoid tilling: Keep large patches of land unmown and untilled to provide secure and undisturbed nesting sites for ground-nesting bees.
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.
Plant material is replaced: Monitor garden regularly for dead plants and replace accordingly in order to ensure healthy plant diversity.
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.
Offer tours of your garden: Inspire others to create pollinator gardens by showcasing yours. Identify plants and offer tips for success.
Install signage provided: Identify your garden as pollinator-friendly. Create your own sign or use the PollinateTO sign.
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 the PollinateTO Program.
How will your project educate and engage the community? Some ideas you might consider:
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:
These are the forms you will need when you spend money:
City of Toronto Biodiversity Series:
Pollinator Partnership Canada:
Toronto and Region Conservation (TRCA):
David Suzuki Foundation:
Canadian Wildlife Federation:
North American Native Plant Society:
Where to find native plants:
In 2019, 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, more than 9,500 square metres of pollinator habitat will be created through the grants. The projects will also engage and educate the community through a variety of measures including signage, workshops, tours, videos, seed exchanges, community planting days, indigenous knowledge sharing, senior and youth programming, newcomer education, interpretive art and citizen science.
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 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.|