Community Connections to Nature focus of TD Park People Grant Recipients

Together, Park People and TD Bank Group launched the TD Park People Grants program to help communities better connect to nature and each other. Since 2016, the grants have been awarded, through the TD Ready Commitment, to 365 grassroots community groups and community-based non-profits –the groups that know their communities best. This year, TD Park People Grants were awarded to 72 community park groups in Metro Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Greater Toronto Area, National Capital Region (Ottawa-Gatineau), Montreal, Quebec City and Halifax Regional Municipality.

 

Photo credit: Richmond Nature Park Vancouver

 

Since the start of the pandemic, we’ve been particularly proud to continue supporting impactful events that demonstrate the tremendous creative capacity that lives at the heart of our communities. At a time when many people are understanding and experiencing the benefits of parks more than ever, we have continued to support a National Network of community park groups that nourish the vital connections between people and nature.

Since the program’s launch, Park People and TD have prioritized equity-seeking groups in the outreach and granting process. This year, we established a focus on these groups, ensuring that 50% of TD Park People Grants are dedicated to equity-seeking groups in cities across Canada.

 

Photo credit: Neighbours of Meadowvale Park

 

This approach has resulted in outstanding environmental education, sustainability, and stewardship programs in communities across Canada. Among the groups awarded TD Park People Grants this year are those serving people with disabilities, Latin American and Chinese populations, Indigenous communities, Black-led organizations as well as groups representing people experiencing homelessness, seniors, and many others.

Some of the projects funded with a 2021 TD Park People Grant include:

Join us for more than 216 events hosted by TD Park People Grants, which are taking place from April 17 through December 31. 2021. Visit the TD Park People Grants page to learn about events happening in your community.

 

Feature photo credit: Yoga in Riley Park – Water for Riley.


 

Thank you to our generous supporters:

 

Move over Hygge, Canadians are embracing winter with TD Park People Winter Grants

Over the past years, “hygge” (a Danish term for incorporating coziness and wellbeing into everyday life) has been touted as the antidote for Canada’s long, dreary winters. Staying warm and cozy indoors may have worked for some in the past, but this year we need to find safe ways to get outside in winter. Our cities’ parks and green spaces will be essential to our physical and mental health this winter.

Looking to Indigenous communities in Canada who have thrived on these lands for tens of thousands of years provides a useful framework for how we should approach winter this year.

In a recent Toronto Star article, Alex Wilson, a professor and director of the University of Saskatchewan’s Aboriginal Research Education Centre and a member of the Opaskwayak Cree Nation recommends:

“focusing on the rhythms and patterns of nature — and drawing meaning from them — is just one of the simple things Indigenous scholars suggest people can do to help get through the long, dark days of winter and isolation during this pandemic.”

In an effort to truly embrace our nature as a winter nation, we are launching the first TD Park People Winter Grants, supporting 15 community groups in Vancouver, Toronto, and Montreal to deliver awesome nature-based activities that foster environmental education, sustainability, and stewardship in a safe and winter-friendly way.

 

A winter event in Montreal in 2019.

 

Earlier this year, as part of the TD Community Resilience Initiative, a comprehensive program launched through the TD Ready Commitment to address the pandemic’s impact on communities, TD and Park People pivoted the TD Park People Grants to meet the changing needs of communities across Canada.

Now in its third year, TD Park People Grants have provided 293 grants to support over 716 events in city parks. So far in 2020, TD Park People Grants have supported 163 community groups, who hosted over 326 events and programs in Metro Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Greater Toronto Area, National Capital Region (Ottawa-Gatineau), Montreal, Quebec City and Halifax Regional Municipality.

 

The brilliant virtual or physically-distanced winter events hosted by TD Park People Winter Grant recipients will include:

 

A winter event in Montreal in 2019.

 

We recognize that getting outdoors this winter will take an extra helping of creativity and motivation. Now certainly isn’t the time to shy away from getting playful with your kids in the snow, going on a winter nature walk, or decorating trees in your neighbourhood. Let’s embrace all that Canadian winters and nature has to offer. We hope that you bundle up, spend some time in your local parks and green spaces, and encourage your neighbours to safely do the same!

Be sure to check the TD Park People Grants website and our social media for details on all the great events in your community.

 

Thanks to our generous supporters

 

Tuning into nature with the 2020 TD Park People Grants

During the COVID-19 pandemic when much of the human realm has retreated indoors, the natural world has reclaimed many of our urban spaces. A family of foxes camped out underneath the boardwalk in Toronto’s Beaches neighbourhood, while a humpback whale was spotted swimming in Montreal’s St. Lawrence River. In this time of crisis and chaos, we can find comfort in knowing that nature is carrying on around us.

Vancouver’s Still Moon Arts Society beautifully weaves together art, nature and community. Typically, events like their beloved Moon Festival happen in person in Still Creek and the Renfrew Ravine.

This year, through a TD Park People Grant, Still Moon Arts Society invited Vancouverites to tune into nature and create a virtual symphony of bird songs.

 

Credit Photo: Chao Cheng

The creative chorus was a way for Vancouverites to celebrate bird month.

“Bird watching and listening are valuable on your own because you can do it anytime anyplace and it helps you connect to our other-than-human neighbours with whom we share the habitat,” says Carmen Rosen, Artistic Director of Still Moon Arts.

The creation of the community and bird collaboration began with an online talk facilitated by environmental educator Sara Ross (RedSara). Participants learned about the birds they might encounter in the early dawn and what birds are singing about as the sun starts to rise. 

 

 

All of this was to help participants become better listeners and observers of the dawn chorus. The real magic happened at 5 am the next day, when people headed outside their homes in the light of dawn to record a minute-long audio clip of the bird sounds in their neighbourhood. They then shared their individual bird recordings with Still Moon Arts, who compiled them into a playlist aptly named Spectacular Dawn Chorus.

Across the country, community park groups like Still Moon Arts Society are connecting people to parks and nature when they need it most.

“We hope that by helping people stay connected to nature, the TD Park People Grants will relieve some of the stress and isolation we know people are experiencing right now. The incredible creativity of Canada’s community park groups shows how they contribute to making our communities both greener and more resilient,” says Carolyn Scotchmer, Executive Director of TD Friends of the Environment Foundation. 

Now in its third year, TD Park People Grants have provided 290 grants to support 707 events in city parks. This year, as part of the TD Community Resilience Initiative, a comprehensive program that TD launched to address the pandemic’s impact on communities, TD and Park People pivoted the TD Park People Grants to meet the changing needs of communities in Metro Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Greater Toronto Area, National Capital Region (Ottawa-Gatineau), Montreal, Quebec City and Halifax Regional Municipality.

This year, TD Park People Grants will support 163 community groups, who will host over 326 awesome nature-based activities that foster environmental education, sustainability and stewardship.

Other inspiring TD Park People supported programs across the country include:

We know that connecting people to their parks and green spaces is more important now than ever. Through the TD Park People Grants, we are continuing to make our parks and green spaces equitable environments that foster meaningful social connections and improve the local environment.

Be sure to check the TD Park People Grants website and our social media for details on all the great events in your community.

Thanks to our generous supporters

Cover photo credit: Chao Cheng

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