Every Tuesday, Todd Irvine of LEAF posts a stop from the Toronto Tree Tours, a collaborative project of LEAF and the Toronto Public Space Committee. The Toronto Tree Tours offers walking tours in neighbourhoods across the city as well as virtual tours on its web site. The aim is to introduce Torontonians to the individual trees in their neighbourhood while telling stories of our city’s ecological and cultural history.
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Dovercourt Park & Neighbourhood Tour: Stop 5
In response to residents’ concerns that people were driving too fast down Gladstone Avenue, the City’s Works Department decided to narrow the road from Dupont Avenue to Bloor Street. The neighbourhood group Green Here saw this roadwork as an opportunity to improve the appearance and ecological health of the street by having a row of trees added as part of the reconstruction.
Through persistence, they were able to convince the City Works Department to direct a portion of the money slated to repair the road towards planting trees on the boulevard. In the summer of 2005, 70 trees were planted, many of which are native species including burr oak (Quercus macrocarpa), red oak (Quercus rubra), tulip-tree (Liriodendron tulipifera), and Kentucky coffee tree (Gymnocladus dioicus).
Studies have found that trees lining a street calm drivers, thereby reducing their driving speed. As they get larger, the trees will shade the sidewalk, cooling pedestrians and protecting them from the sun’s harmful UV rays. Finally, shading the asphalt reduces the damaging effects of the hot sun that bakes its surface, prolonging the time between repairs to the road, which saves the City money.
Photo by Dougal Bichan