Scadding Court Community Centre installed 40 m2 of new pollinator garden spaces around the centre in Toronto, Ontario in early November 2023. Thirty volunteers took part in the planting, including youth, seniors, new Canadians, and individuals from equity-deserving groups. More than 350 plants were installed, including 255 wildflowers, 85 grasses and sedges, and 19 shrubs, representing 65 species. Some of the plant species included were spicebush, bearberry, culver’s root, low bush honeysuckle, dense blazing star, wild columbine, and pale purple coneflower 

The Project 

Scadding Court Community Centre (SCCC) engaged volunteers in a co-design process in July 2023 when planning the pollinator gardens. They hosted four planting sessions between August and November 2023, as one planted area was impacted by community use and the SCCC decided to replant in a different location. Also, Scadding Court Community Centre hosted a native plant seed saving workshop and a winter garden preparation workshop throughout fall 2023.  

At one of the planting events, one of the volunteers shared, “I learned some surprising ways plants are pollinated and how specific features of a plant make it more suitable for pollinators.” 

Lessons Learned 

The original planned site for the pollinator garden was in Alexandra Park, but there were changes within the park that prevented this site from moving forward, and the plants originally installed in this location did not survive. Therefore, Scadding Court Community Centre selected a new location for the garden and installed the plants on the grounds of the community centre. 

Additionally, sourcing native plants proved challenging, as the first nursery contacted was situated well outside of Toronto, which would have incurred expensive delivery costs. Instead, Scadding Court Community Centre located a nearby nursery with native plant stock, and the 20-minute drive to pick up the plants was much more feasible.  

Final Thoughts

“Volunteers were excited to have the opportunity to design pollinator gardens, select plants, facilitate planting sessions and support garden maintenance. The leadership experience they acquired through this process is invaluable to them and has inspired further involvement in pollinator habitat creation in the community. For this reason, we would be interested in working with Green Communities Canada again, leading similar projects that are co-designed and co-delivered with community volunteers.” – Katie McLeod, Manager of Adult Education and Urban Agriculture at Scadding Court Community Centre

As a result of this successful project, Scadding Court Community Centre has noticed an opportunity to increase their engagement with neighbourhood youth, and they are pursuing funding to implement youth-led activities focused on sustainability, ecology, and urban agriculture.  

This project was supported by Green Communities Canada’s Living Cities Canada Fund. 

To find plants that are adapted to grow in your region, or plant nurseries that sell native plants, visit the Network of Nature website.