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TORONTO, JUNE 9, 2016 — Toronto's more than 250 kilometres of laneways will soon be getting greener as a result of two innovative, citizen-led projects that are bringing nature home to these often-neglected urban spaces.

"Toronto's vast network of residential and commercial laneways represent a landscape of immense potential for greening projects," said Jode Roberts, who runs the Homegrown National Park Project and Got Milkweed campaign for the David Suzuki Foundation. "By adding natural elements and permeable surfaces to lanes, we can make them cooler during the summer while reducing flooding and making them more welcoming for local residents and critters like bumblebees and butterflies."

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The Laneway Puncture Project is a pilot project based on a design presented by landscape architect Victoria Taylor (VTLA) and landscaper Jonas Spring (Ecoman) as part of the David Suzuki Foundation's 2014 Homegrown Design Challenge. The project is a collaboration with local councillor Mike Layton, David Suzuki Foundation, VTLA, Ecoman, The Laneway Project and the City of Toronto's Beautiful Streets division, with support from Live Green Toronto. Preliminary construction work was completed earlier this month in Willowvale Lane, near Christie Pits Park, and a laneway adjacent to Fred Hamilton Park. A seed-scattering party will be held on Sunday, from 10 a.m. to noon, in Fred Hamilton Park.

"The aim of the Laneway Puncture Project is to improve the environmental performance of laneways, by making a strategic puncture along the centre drainage channel with an open grid of paving stones, which allow water to be absorbed during storms and provide a little green flourish," said Michelle Senayah, director of The Laneway Project. "The pilot project will allow us to experiment with a mix of plants that are adapted to harsh, compacted soil conditions."

"The Laneway Puncture is a metaphor for change," said Victoria Taylor. "This Sunday we will plant seeds and celebrate the potential of innovative, green infrastructure; transforming under-functioning spaces into places of social and ecological possibility."

The second laneway greening pilot project is the Croft Street Greening Project, led by the Harbord Village Residents Association in partnership with the David Suzuki Foundation, The Laneway Project and councillor Joe Cressy, with support from TD Friends of the Environment. HVRA volunteers have taken a DIY approach, building dozens of planters out of reused materials, including cinder blocks and plastic barrels. The planters were installed along Croft Lane by a team of volunteers and residents last weekend as part of 100-in1 Day.

To support these sorts of laneway-greening projects across the city, The Laneway Project published a guide this spring that gives residents information about how to begin transforming laneways in their neighbourhoods. Download a copy of the Laneway Greening Guide.

For further information, please contact:

Jode Roberts, David Suzuki Foundation, 647-456-9752, jroberts@davidsuzuki.org@joderoberts

June 9, 2016
http://www.davidsuzuki.org/media/news/2016/06/torontos-laneways-are-going-green-this-summer/