2017-11-03 Fri

Trees of Toronto

What does it mean to plant trees in Toronto?

Well, each year the Toronto Advertiser puts out a brag piece about how many trees the city has planted and pats us collectively on the back. What a Green City we turned out to be.

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The Guy Running for Mayor makes a promise to plant three hundred and eighty thousand trees each year (each year of what?).

Sounds pretty good.

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But what do three hundred and eighty thousand trees look like once they have been planted?

Well, first off, the population of Toronto is about 2.5 million, so if you assume 6 people per household thatís about one tree per family. Of course if you assume the family size is three, then itís one tree for every other family.

Sounds like a lot. Can you imagine what we would look like on Arbor Day when every man and his dog is out there digging a hole and filling it in. (ďNow, where did I put the dog?Ē)

I chose to grab some data about Toronto.

I asked Google ďhow many trees in Toronto?Ē and Google responded:-

Toronto, the largest city in Canada has an urban forest with an estimated 10.2 million trees covering approximately 18,000 hectares. Forty percent of this valuable resource is situated on public property, including an estimated 3.5 million trees within our parkland system and approximately 600,000 trees on our streets.

I take that figure of 600,000 ďon our streetsĒ to describe the pitiful straggling saplings that die about three years after they are planted, to be replaced, and you bet those replacements count as ďtrees plantedĒ.

So The Guy Running for Mayor is talking about adding (surely not replacing) every other tree on the streets each year. Where you saw two trees last year, this year you will see three trees, and next year four trees.

These new trees will be allotted a square-foot of breathing space and will soon die off poisoned by nicotine, dog faeces, road salt, and finally knocked down by condominium construction sites and plaza re-sodding groups.

In short, nothing much will change.

I then asked Google ďwhat is the area of Toronto?Ē and Google responded succinctly:-


So three hundred and eighty thousand trees each year works out to about six hundred trees for every square kilometre.

Now Toronto is laid out roughly as a rectangular grid of major streets set two kilometres apart. The north-south distance between Finch and Steeles avenues is two kilometres, and the east-west distance between Yonge and Bathurst streets is two kilometres, so we are talking about 2,400 trees to be planted in that rectangle bounded by major streets.

Of course, tree-planting is about scattering trees randomly over 630 square kilometres, or giving a tree to every other family. We have about half of the population living in high-rise buildings. What am I to do with a maple tree here on the fourth floor? Give it to my neighbour?

Nonetheless, it will cost money to plant these trees wherever they go, and youíll never guess where the money is coming from!

Itís coming from you, The Ratepayer.

Every other family will fork out the cost of the purchase, transport, city truck and crew, soil, machinery and on and on.

Why are we surprised that The Guy Running for Mayor lumped this in with his other broken promises?

It was never feasible in the first place.


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The debate continues. It seems to me that the people who wear Face-Coverings (of any kind) are in effect shooting themselves in the foot.

If you want to surround yourself with a Curtain so that I canít see you, then donít be upset or surprised if I donít see you.

If you choose to wear Sunglasses to hide your eyes, then donít be surprised if I choose not to establish eye-to-eye contact with you.

If you choose to Wear a Ski-Mask Into the Bank, then donít be surprised if I press a small button underneath the counter. And donít get upset when sixty-minutes of your day is spent answering questions posed by members of the Local Police Force.

Me, I canít see what all the fuss is about.