News Release
October 1, 2020

Today, Mayor John Tory accepted the Champion of Trees Award on behalf of the City of Toronto. The award, presented by the Arbor Day Foundation, recognizes the City for exemplary leadership in developing and implementing new policies and practices for tree planting and care, natural area stewardship and arboriculture. The award was presented to City Council members during its meeting today.

The City of Toronto is being honoured with the Champion of Trees Award for its leadership and commitment to advancing urban forestry through various initiatives including:

  • planting more than one million trees across the city since 2005
  • investing $605.6 million in its urban forest from 2008-2018
  • planting approximately 120,000 trees and shrubs per year
  • engaging more than 23,000 volunteers in over 1,000 community planting and stewardship events since 2013
  • investing more than $3.62 million in private land tree planting and stewardship programs since 2016, resulting in approximately 25,000 additional trees being planted on private land, around 72,000 residents engaged, 36 projects funded and leveraging more than $6.5 million in matching funding from other sources
  • becoming one of the first Canadian cities to undertake an i-Tree Eco (formerly known as UFORE) study in 2008 which was used to develop a comprehensive Strategic Forest Management Plan and
  • increasing Toronto’s canopy cover from 26.6 to 28 per cent in 2008 to 28 to 31 per cent in 2018 based on the 2018 tree canopy study.

Past award recipients from the Arbor Day Foundation include Nobel Peace Prize winner Wangari Maathai, Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley and the United States Forest Service. More information can be found at

More information about the City’s urban forestry initiatives is available at


“A healthy tree canopy is a cornerstone of Toronto’s environmental sustainability. While climate change is a global phenomenon, we can do our part on a local level by prioritizing changes that will help address the impacts of climate change. I am glad to see that the City is being recognized for its hard work and efforts towards protecting our tree canopy and I’m pleased to accept the Champion of Trees Award on behalf of the City.”
– Mayor John Tory

Founded in 1972, the Arbor Day Foundation has grown to become the largest non-profit membership organization dedicated to planting trees, with more than one million members, supporters and valued partners. Since 1972, more than 350 million Arbor Day Foundation trees have been planted in neighborhoods, communities, cities and forests throughout the world. Our vision is to help others understand and use trees as a solution to many of the global issues we face today, including air quality, water quality, climate change, deforestation, poverty and hunger. As one of the world’s largest operating conservation foundations, the Arbor Day Foundation, through its members, partners and programs, educates and engages stakeholders and communities across the globe to involve themselves in its mission of planting, nurturing and celebrating trees. More information is available at

Toronto is home to more than 2.9 million people whose diversity and experiences make this great city Canada’s leading economic engine and one of the world’s most diverse and livable cities. As the fourth largest city in North America, Toronto is a global leader in technology, finance, film, music, culture and innovation, and consistently places at the top of international rankings due to investments championed by its government, residents and businesses. For more information visit the City’s website or follow us on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook.

Media Relations