Park People supports and mobilizes community park groups, community organizers, non-profits, park professionals and funders who activate the power of parks. Through Canada-wide and city-specific programs and events, funding, resources, research and professional services we help realize the power of parks to build strong communities, healthy environments, and resilient cities.
Helping clients understand and engage communities, create quality programming and apply governance and partnership models to maximize their impact for people, communities and cities.See Our Services
Park People started in 2011 with the question:
“How can we all play a role in making our parks better serve people and neighbourhoods?”
Park People's Executive Director and Founder Dave Harvey secured a Metcalf Foundation Innovation Fellowship to explore this very question. The resulting paper, Fertile Ground for New Thinking, identified the challenges and opportunities Toronto faced in making its parks meet the needs of all communities.
Park People has hit upon a working method of do-it-yourself activism: engaged volunteers seeking permission to do things on their own. This approach of co-operating with bureaucracy to get results could serve as a model for the future of advocacy in Toronto." Globe and Mail, 2013
Park People's first five years were dedicated to connecting and supporting Toronto's robust network of community park groups, park professionals, non-profit groups and funders. Toronto's Park Friends Network continues to thrive, and is an ongoing program of Park People.
As we continued to grow, cities across Canada continually expressed their need for an organization and network to support their work in parks. Park People launched its National Network at its first National Conference in Calgary in 2017.
Since its kick-off, the Park People Network has expanded to over 800 groups across 46 Canadian cities, in every Canadian province. Today, Park People is a fully national organization with offices in multiple cities including Vancouver and Montreal.
Since our founding, Park People has helped community park groups undertake more than 3,000 events, attended by 275,000 people and supported by 23,000 volunteers.
Thanks to our generous donors, we have directed investments of more than $6 million in parks and park programming. And we engage with 25,000 park enthusiasts in conversations about how we can work together to mobilize the power of parks.
The awesome volunteer leaders working behind the scenes
TD Bank Group
Our founding sponsor, TD Bank Group has been a generous supporter of Park People’s work since 2010. With their help, we support park friends groups across the country; develop and share new opportunities for urban parks; and provide Canadians with meaningful opportunities to enjoy healthy and vibrant green spaces. Our work is supported through TD’s corporate citizenship platform, The Ready Commitment. Through this platform, TD is helping to open doors for a more inclusive and sustainable tomorrow. To learn more about The Ready Commitment, please visit td.com/vibrantplanet.
The W. Garfield Weston Foundation
Park People has been fortunate to partner with The W. Garfield Weston Foundation on a number of key park initiatives. Launched in early 2013, The Weston Family Parks Challenge was a groundbreaking philanthropic leadership investment in the sustainability of Toronto’s parks, and in connecting urban residents to nature. Today, the Foundation’s generous support is enabling Park People to study Canada’s urban park system and laying the groundwork for transformational impact in parks from coast to coast.
Government of Ontario
Ken and Eti Greenberg
Ontario Trillium Foundation
$50,000 - $99,999
Government of Canada
City of Toronto, Community Projects and Events
Employment and Social Development Canada
City of Montreal
Miziwe Biik Aboriginal Employment and Training
Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP
Burgundy Asset Management Ltd.
Howard and Diane Taylor Family Fund at Toronto Foundation
John and Marian Taylor Family Fund at Toronto Foundation
The Lewis Cohen Family Foundation
Myseum of Toronto
The Schad Foundation