The Greenbelt Foundation and Park People have launched a new funding program to help connect people and communities to protected urban river valley (URVs) systems throughout the GTHA. The Greenbelt River Valley Connector Program will provide $100,000 in funding, to be matched one to one, to support five or more place-based projects a year that will help people explore, celebrate and enhance their local urban river valleys that are often undiscovered and underused.

In 2017, the Greenbelt was expanded to protect 21 major urban river valleys and associated coastal wetlands across the Greater Golden Horseshoe.  The newly ‘Greenbelted’ URVs connect watersheds in the Greenbelt with the Great Lakes as part of the regional water system.  Extending the Greenbelt into our urban centres provides people with a greater opportunity to enjoy the cultural and natural heritage of these unique areas in their own communities.

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“The Greenbelt protects vital farmland, green spaces, and water systems across our region as we continue to experience tremendous population growth,” said Edward McDonnell, CEO of the Greenbelt Foundation. “Celebrating the protection of urban river valleys, the new Greenbelt River Valley Connector Program will build and deepen people’s connection to these valuable waterways within their own communities as well as the broader Greenbelt.”

The Greenbelt Foundation is working in collaboration with Park People. Park People’s Executive Director Dave Harvey shared his enthusiasm for the collaboration:

“Communities across the GTHA will have more reason than ever to explore and experience their urban river valleys. We look forward to seeing place-based proposals that activate these important spaces by connecting people to art, recreation, gardening, food, citizen science projects and more in their own urban river valleys.”

Community-based organizations including Conservation Authorities, social service agencies, local schools, non-profits and Indigenous communities are encouraged to apply to receive up to $25,000 in funding. Submissions for 2018 are due Friday, June 1st by 5pm. The Greenbelt River Valley Connector Program will run for three years.

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