With brightly coloured fall mums freshly planted in the Elm Grove Garden, residents and business owners gathered around the Parkdale street garden to celebrate its rejuvenation.

This small garden and five others like it recently underwent a spruce up, thanks to a grant the Parkdale Village Business Improvement Area (BIA) received. The $15,000 grant to spruce up the gardens came from the TD Green Streets program run by the not-for-profit organization Tree Canada and the TD Friends of the Environment Foundation.

The money went toward the BIA’s Garden Development Project, in which the BIA will create and maintain the urban forest within their neighbourhood, including six street gardens, which were planted by the BIA in various plots along Queen Street West.

The gardens are located on Queen Street West, outside of the Green P lot at 1313 Queen St. W., and near O’Hara Avenue, at Elm Grove Avenue and two at Brock Avenue.

On Oct. 17 the BIA hosted a celebration and ribbon cutting at the garden at Queen Street West and Elm Grove Avenue.

With the grant Anna Bartula, executive director of the Parkdale BIA, said they were able to restore some lost green space along Queen Street West in Parkdale.

“We were able to reverse some of the damage that was caused in Parkdale over the past few generations by the neighbourhood becoming more urbanized,” Bartula said. “Some of the damage was trees being cut down and green spaces being removed.”

With the money the BIA was able to hire Green Thumbs Enterprises to plant trees and seasonal floral plantings with the help of volunteers.

Local artists, designers, historians and writers have created four re-designed and updated plaques for the gardens, all of which will display photos and information on the history of Parkdale, with an emphasis on the significance of trees and flowers.

“The Parkdale BIAs approach of integrating community investment and civic engagement with the planting of native trees, shrubs and wild flowers in this very urban space sets a strong example for other BIAs both across the city and in the country,” said Cheng Wang, branch manager of the TD Bank on Queen Street in Parkdale. “It also shows that greening projects have a place in every neighbourhood.”

by Erin Hatfield: InsideToronto.com

Oct 20, 2012