Greenest City Spring 2024 Newsletter - West Neighbourhood House

Greenest City logo

Everywhere, life is blooming, flowers are colouring landscapes, insects are fluttering around, the days are getting longer and warmer and of course, people lightly dressed are walking head up the street with that unmistakable seasonal smile

Our 2024 outdoor growing season has begun, and we are grateful that this year we have already been able to support our gardeners with their growing plans in different ways. Throughout our Seedy Saturday event, Seed Saving, Seed Packing and Seed Starting workshops, we have again opened community pedagogical spaces that support sustainable living as part of our climate actions. In May, gardeners will receive some seedlings that were planted by our community members, as well as some seedlings donated by the Stop Community Centre. It means that things will get even busier this coming month as gardeners will start preparing all the garden beds, add compost and blend the soil in gardening plots, and plant so many more seeds and seedlings outdoors.  Welcome spring with all its sprouts!

National Volunteer Week 

National Volunteer Week is a time to acknowledge the impact of volunteer work and the power of volunteers to address society’s exceptional challenges, to build stronger communities and become a force that reshapes the world. It takes place every April during Global Volunteer Month.

Regardless of their role, our volunteers are the core of the Greenest City program and this week, we want to take a break to express our deepest gratitude to all of you who have shared your time, skills, empathy, and creativity, all of which are essential values to the inclusivity, strength, and well-being of our communities. We are immensely thankful to our passionate volunteers for your commitment to the environment and your genuine enthusiasm for learning, participation, and contribution to our climate actions for a sustainable future. We hope that through your volunteer experience with us you have also had the chance to meet others in the community, build connections, exchange knowledge, use current skills or develop new ones, and give back to a cause that means something to you!

Happy National Volunteer Week! This week, we are celebrating YOU!!!

Volunteers arounds a table

Woman with gloves doing garden work

Photos taken by our wonderful volunteer Judy Musewa

Upcoming events

Parkdale Earth Day Celebration – April 22 

On Monday, April 22, from 2 to 5 p.m., we’ll come together to honour our planet and promote sustainable living and tangible climate actions in our community.

This is a special event organized by the Greenest City Program at West Neighbourhood House, in collaboration with the Community Development team. It aims to celebrate Earth Day in Parkdale-Toronto, with a community clean-up activity in Masaryk Park and in the Hope and Milky Way gardens and ending with an Indigenous prayer ceremony.

Would you like to join us? 

This is an opportunity to impact and show our commitment to environmental stewardship positively. Join us in creating a greener, healthier future for all! As a volunteer, you’ll play a vital role in supporting gardens with plot preparations for the upcoming growing season, and contributing to the vibrancy and sustainability of our community spaces.

This Event Requires RSVP: Please register ASAP to secure your spot. You can also email us to confirm your attendance. contact info:

Poster for Earth Day Event.

Hope Gardeners Call to Contract Signing – April 24-26

Please get to know the 2024 steering committee members, who will be assisting you with your contract signing. We have opened some windows next week on Wednesday April 24th, from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Thursday, April 25th and Friday, April 26th from 10 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at 201 Cowan Avenue, Greenest City office location. Please contact us to confirm your time availability.

We will email you with more details. Please contact us at cc’d to

A quick reminder of how to apply for a plot in the Hope Garden 

If you are interested in applying for a plot in the Hope Garden, you will need to meet some criteria:

1. Be a Parkdale resident. Requires a document (this can be an envelope with your name and address, a bill, identification, etc.)

2. Don’t currently have a plot in any other place to grow food

3. Must wait until plots are available (will be placed on the waiting list)

4. Can only use the plot for a period of three consecutive years

We are seeking gardeners who are Indigenous, Black, and People of Colour, people with disabilities, women and people of all sexual orientations and gender identities/expressions. Gardeners with lived experience as a participant of West Neighbourhood House programs, or related programming from similar organizations, are also strongly encouraged to apply for a plot!  

We currently have a long waiting list, however, anybody who meets the requirements can apply to get a plot in Hope Garden.  Please contact the Greenest City Program coordinator at

Save Money & Energy in your home – April 23

This coming Tuesday, April 23th, Green 13 and Parkdale High Park for Climate Action PHP4CA invite you to a discussion on heat pumps and more including selection and installation considerations. Please see details of time and location in the flyer.

Poster for Heatpumps and head Retrofits

Performing Arts Program

West Neighbourhood House is now exploring possibilities around a new Performing Arts program. We have teamed up with external consultants, Another Axis, to gauge community interest and gather insights from current and potential participants.

Your input is crucial to us, so we kindly ask for your support in responding to the survey linked below.

The survey only takes about 5 minutes of your time:

As a token of our appreciation for your time and thoughts, you will have the chance to enter your email for a shot at winning one of five $50.00 grocery gift cards!

Thanks in advance for your support!

Poster for Performing Arts Survey

Ecotherapy Sessions 

From May 29 to August 7

West Neighbourhood House, in partnership with the psychiatrist Dr. Nate Charach, is hosting the second outdoor group for Healing in Uncertain times.

Your care for our Earth is deeply appreciated. Let’s turn our distress into empowerment.

See more details and contact information below:

Poster for Ecotherapy event

Backside of poster for Ecotherapy event

Low Canopy Greening Initiative

Free Trees & Thrubs for South of Parkdale Residents!

Have you heard the good news? Residents and multi-unit/businesses of Toronto Neighbourhood Improvement Areas (NIAs) could be eligible for FREE trees and shrubs. LEAF arborists will help you choose from 50+ native trees and shrubs. Full-service planting or delivery, mulch and tree care resources are included. Supply is limited, so visit to apply to the LEAF program today!

Eligible residential properties can get up to one free tree and three free shrubs. Eligible multi-unit/business properties can get up to 3 free trees and 5 free shrubs (space permitting). This initiative is supported by the Arbor Day Foundation, Salesforce and the City of Toronto to boost tree planting and urban forest growth in NIAs.

Low Canopy event poster

Please click here to see a list of the native tree and shrub species they offer.

You can also learn more about this amazing initiative on their social media:





Placement Student

We are pleased to announce that Tsigereda Haile Weldu will be joining Greenest City as placement student from the beginning of April to the end of May.

Coming from Eritrea, Tsigereda has been enrolled in Toronto Centre of Community Learning & Development with “IWIP” programme (Immigrant Women Integration programme).  Before joining IWIP, Tsigereda worked in the hospitality sector along with lucrative vacation resorts in destinations such as Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and Kurdistan. During her free time, Tsigereda enjoys singing, meeting people, travelling, and exploring nature. Her philosophy in life is: “Challenge is for a purposeful change; it is all about how you perceive it”.

Please join us in welcoming Tsigereda to the team and wishing her a successful placement at Greenest City.

Woman at a table

Previous Events

Parkdale Seedy Saturday & Eco Fair 2024

Group of people around a table

Thank you all for making our 2024 Seedy Saturday & Eco fair in Parkdale a resounding success! ✨

It was a milestone of collaboration between West Neighbourhood House, Greenest City Program, and numerous local environmental organizations. Together, we created an unforgettable experience filled with learning, fun, and a commitment to sustainability. We had a great turnout of more than 200 city-wide folks who had a really good time while connecting with others in the community. It was a good mix of tables, vendors, and information community groups.

Check out some standout photos from the event!

Special Thanks  

We are grateful to Seeds of Diversity, Toronto Seeds Library, Toronto Public Library and Masaryk Cowan Community Recreation Centre & CanadaNosUne for supporting us on different levels.

Immense gratitude to ALL our volunteers for their tireless support and dedication.

A big shout out to Parkdale Seedy Saturday & Eco Fair team leaders who voluntarily supported the event from the beginning until the end: Tish Carnat from Milky Way Garden, Anita Wong & Debbie Green from St Joes Garden & PHP4CA, Rodrigo Rojas Bernasconi our new environmental volunteer and Zahira Khan, placement student.

Thanks, to all of you. Without your support we couldn’t have had such a fantastic event this year.

People standing by a table

Testimonial  by Tish Carnat. 

“We needed to feed our many hardworking volunteers during Parkdale Seedy Saturday. These volunteers support the event that hosts up to 200 people throughout the day. I suggested approaching food businesses on Queen Street for donations and wrote a letter explaining our situation. My beloved late mother was a lifelong volunteer. She taught me that it’s ok to ask on behalf of others. The worst that can happen is they say no. Sandra and I literally started on the northeast side of Queen and worked our way west with a letter and the flyer. We did this four times over a six-week period; walking into food shops and restaurants, asking and reminding and getting commitments. It was a marvelous opportunity to meet the business owners, managers and workers. I heard their stories, and they made generous offers. On March 16th, the day of the event day, 15 businesses donated food throughout the day. Another member of the organizing committee, Debbie, offered to do pick-ups with her bike and bike trailer. With a few volunteers along, they brought back delicious and nutritious food. We were well fed all day and had no need to leave the venue in search of food. Through the kindness of Parkdale food vendors, the volunteers ate well and felt valued. We made new friends in the neighbourhood and hope they can visit our community gardens in their rare free time. We are truly blessed to live and work in Parkdale, a beautiful place: a gem in Toronto

Group of people sitting and smiling

Many Thanks to these Queen Street Food Vendors for their generosity by donating food for Parkdale Seedy Saturday volunteers!  Please support these businesses when you aren’t at home cooking your organic produce grown from seeds and seedlings!

  • Capital Espresso
  • FullWorth
  • Queen Fresh Market
  • Pizza Pizza
  • Craig’s Cookies
  • Dipped Donuts & Coffee
  • Ali’s West Indian Roti
  • Norling Tibetan & Hakka Cuisine
  • Daimi
  • Yummy Momo
  • Shambhala Kitchen
  • Ali Baba’s Middle Eastern Cuisine
  • Songtsen Cafe
  • Mother India
  • Anthony’s No Frills King St W

Educational Workshops

Seeds Saving, Seeds Packing, and Seeds Starting 

On February 24 and March 4, we host a series of two workshops, Seeds Saving and Packaging Workshop! The energy and camaraderie were great, and everyone departed with satisfaction. It showed us the positive impact we can make when we come together. Let’s keep the momentum for a thriving, green community! Thanks, dear Maria Kasstan for sharing your knowledge with all of us. Thanks to everybody who showed up and helped to pack seeds for our Seeds exchange event.

Group of people listening to a lecture

On April 5th, we had such a very interactive Seedlings workshop  with the guidance of  Melissa Coiffe, our wonderful facilitator from Toronto Seeds Library. Thanks for sharing your unevaluable knowledge to start our seedlings at Greenest City and for  making  this workshop  an enjoyable place in which we learned:

1. Pros/cons of starting plants from seed.
2. Pros/cons of starting seeds indoors vs direct sowing outside.
3 What materials do I need to start seeds / grow my own seedlings?
4. When should seeds be started?
5. How deep do seeds need to be sown/planted?
5. How much do I feed and water my seedlings?
6. When should I put my seedlings outside?
7. Why do I need to “harden off” my seedlings?
8. What is “cold stratification”?

Thank you to all of you who joined us! Planting seeds is always a great learning journey.

Group of people exchanging seeds


Roots and Culture Gardening Club: True Daley and Adi Yemane along with many volunteer newcomers came out to our Seedy Saturdays to set up a table to promote the Roots and Culture Gardening Club which has been running at Dr. Rita Cox Kina – Minagok Public School on Fridays from 4-530PM. This free program is part of a revitalization project at the school where the rooftop has just been renovated and  we will soon be planting with the children on the rooftop garden. This free program prioritizes Black children in Parkdale from age 7 and up and is also welcomes BIPOC children in the community. For more info contact :

People standing around a table smiling

My Brothers’ Keeper program:  We are excited to announce that My Brother’s Keeper (MBK) is a recipient of a TD Friends of the Environment grant.  MBK leads the collaborative partnership with West Neighbourhood House, the Greenest City program aimed at supporting African refugees in the downtown core.

We would like to take a moment to recognize  Chiropractor, Dr. Chadelle Phillips has been volunteering her services to our newcomers who are struggling with body pain. For the past year, many who are still unhoused are sleeping on stretchers without proper support for their body and have been experiencing back and neck pain. We are so thankful for her ongoing dedication to our program and the invaluable lessons being learned about pain management, health, and wellness.

You may have seen Dr. Phillip’s at community events and she is located right here in Parkdale at The Well of Alternative Medicine – 1344 Queen Street West.

Person receiving physiotherapy

Others Partners:

-Indigenous Food Sovereignty Network

-Parkdale High Park for Climate Actions

-Seeds of Diversity

-Toronto Seeds Library

-Compost Toronto


– LEAF’s Low-Canopy Neighbourhood Greening Initiative

Update on job apps 

West Neighbourhood House, Greenest City program continue our commitment to opening spaces for social justice, righting relations with indigenous people, and climate actions that support our community members’ wellbeing and sustainable ways of living

Let’s continue working together to build a greener and more connected future!

Stay updated with our activities and programs on our social media including our Facebook page and Instagram! To volunteer and connect with us, please contact If you would like to receive the newsletter in your inbox, sign up here.

Greenest City is a program of West Neighbourhood House. Read more by visiting their page.

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