By Jode Roberts, communications

What's the Homegrown National Park Project?

• Thirty retired canoes relaunched as pollinator-friendly planters
• Sixty-five keen volunteer Homegrown Park Rangers
• Thousands of milkweed plants welcoming monarch butterflies
Musical parades, outdoor movie screenings and community events — including Homegrown pizza nights!
This award-winning project began four years ago. It aimed to transform Toronto neighbourhoods, one fun, citizen-led step at a time.

Each spring, we recruited and trained residents of neighbourhoods along the former Garrison Creek. With the support of DSF staff, these Homegrown Park Rangers gained skills and confidence. Then we set them loose. They established new pollinator-friendly spaces in their neighbourhoods. They created food- and art-filled community events that engage their neighbours. And they did it all for the sake of bees, butterflies and other essential critters.
Ranger Aidan's community canoe project landed thousands of pollinator-friendly canoe planters. Ranger Marc's rain garden project transformed 11 front yards into flood-busting rain gardens. Rangers Anjum, Georgia and Gillian helped swap pavement for pollinators along Palmerston Square. That inspired the adjacent school to hatch its own exciting greening plan. And Ranger Michael began a "butterflyway" of pollinator patches through his Cedarvale neighbourhood.
This year, the Homegrown National Park Project will focus on:
• Greening Toronto laneways (like this and this)
• Growing our canoe garden fleet
• Creating more butterflyways through the city
• Hosting more outdoor events — movies, pizza nights and the fourth annual Park Crawl September 25!
This year we're excited to begin bringing the joys of the Homegrown National Park Project to communities across the country through the launch of our national Butterflyway Project this fall. For a sneak peak, check out this video.

For more information about the Homegrown National Park Project, check out and visit our Facebook page. If you want to get involved, contact Jode Roberts at

July 27, 2016

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1 Comment

Aug 29, 2016
9:46 AM

I was thrilled to snap a photo of some baby Monarch butterflies on a milkweed plant in a Toronto garden a couple of weeks ago. I used the occasion to give my two small grandsons some information about the importance of protecting wildlife and providing them with friendly habitat too! I am not sure how best to get my photo to you, but if you let me know I’d be happy to post it!

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