City of Toronto

Canadian city, Toronto, often referred to as “a city within a park”, currently boasts over 11.5 million trees resulting in a ratio of approximately four trees per Torontonian. With an already impressive urban canopy, Toronto recognized the need to expand and create a strategy to sustain the current canopy. The city introduced a strategic Forest Management plan in 2012 with the target to increase the urban canopy to 40 per cent to benefit the city and its residents. The key points of Toronto’s Strategic Forest Management Plan, Sustaining and Expanding the Urban Forest include the following deliverables:

  • Increase canopy cover
  • Achieve equitable distribution
  • Increase biodiversity
  • Increase awareness
  • Promote stewardship
  • Improve monitoring

The cities effort within the urban canopy plan put in place in 2012 was revaluated in the 2018 Toronto Canopy Study, yielding positive results. The increased canopy in less than 10 years resulted in over one million trees planted. The city also experienced extreme losses in this time due to pests and weather events, including the devastating ice storm in 2013.

City of Toronto

“Toronto’s urban forest management program is advancing in the right direction,” said Jason Doyle, Director of Urban Forestry.

Despite these setbacks, the overall canopy grew and the municipally saw the value of increasing tree coverage in the city. The investment in Toronto’s urban forest has grown from an annual budget of $31.1 million in 2008 to $68.7 million in 2018, for a total 10-year investment of $605.6 million.

Toronto Measure and Result Chart

Street Trees

Benefits of Street Trees:

  • Cost off-setting in other areas of management (e.g., stormwater runoff, pollution removal, climate change mitigation, etc.
  • Improved efficiency of forest operations by increasing proactive versus reactive management.
  • Improved aesthetics and property value where existing trees mature and contribute positively to the walkability/livability of neighbourhoods and business areas.
  • Reduced vulnerability of street trees to pests and diseases, avoiding long term costs of treatment, removal, and replacements.
Toronto Street Trees Chart

Learn more about Toronto’s urban forest.