InTO the Ravines Grants Program Q&A
1. Who is eligible for this grant?
We invite applications from active resident groups of Toronto or those that wish to begin engagement in their ravines as part of a grassroots community group or non-profits. Examples: park friends groups, community associations, BIAs, neighbourhood groups, local community agencies, Indigenous organizations. Private businesses and governments are not eligible to apply.
2. What is a public ravine?
According to the City of Toronto’s Ravine Strategy, a ravine is “a type of landform created over time by running water. They are larger than gullies and smaller than valleys. They may or may not contain streams.” (p. 6 – 7 of Ravine Strategy).
To determine if your park or publicly accessible space is eligible, please look at Toronto’s Interactive Map and search for your park or ravine. Select the filter for Administrative Boundary -> Ravine and Nature Feature Protection By-Law. Public ravines will be indicated in the map by having a green base (vs grey) and the Ravine and Nature Feature Protection By-Law layer (stripes).
Ravines that are on private property and not open to the public are not eligible for the grant. If you have questions about your local ravine, please get in touch with us to confirm eligibility. If required, we can provide you with suggestions regarding a location for your event.
3. What are the parameters for these events?
- All in-person events must occur on publicly accessible lands which are designated ravines or overlook ravines.
- Virtual events should focus on connecting, celebrating, or championing Toronto’s ravines.
- Events must take place between July 14 and November 14, 2021, and be free and open to all.
- All events must balance the activities with respect and care for nature. Read our Tips for Ravine Engagement resource (PDF here) to further learn how to achieve this when planning your event.
- Direct stewardship such as tree planting or invasive plant removal is not to be included as part of your events. Stewardship activities such as these must be led by the Natural Environment and Community Programs unit of Urban Forestry, City of Toronto. You can learn more about their volunteer opportunities here: toronto.ca/greentoronto.
4. Why is it important to have a low environmental impact at our ravine events? How can we plan for that?
An important objective of the InTO the Ravines program is to help more people connect to and engage with their ravines. However, given the environmental sensitivity of the ravines, this goal must be carefully balanced with the importance of protecting these fragile spaces.
Take a look at these Tips for Ravine Engagement (PDF here) to learn more about balancing engagement with respect and care for nature.
5. Can you provide examples of in-person or online events and activities that are eligible for this grant?
Examples of simple yet creative events and activities include but are not limited to:
- Meditative, interpretive and/or historic walks.
- Art-based activities such as sketching or drawing, small-scale land art with twigs and leaves, photography.
- Play-based activities such as scavenger hunts or nature bingos.
- Citizen science engagement activities or clean-up events.
If you want some inspiration, check out our recording for ‘Animating Toronto’s Ravines with Care and Respect’.
6. How many attendees should we aim to engage at our events?
Every event will be different. For in-person events, we suggest you aim for 20 attendees if possible, always adhering to current public health guidelines. For virtual events, the sky’s the limit!
7. How do I adapt my events to the current health restrictions?
Your safety and your community’s safety are a priority. Check out the City of Toronto’s COVID-19 webpage and Information on outdoor gatherings. These will contain the most up-to-date information relevant to your local context including current information on the numbers of people permitted at an outdoor event. Once you are familiar with these, here are some additional guidelines to help promote safety during park activities and events.
Remember that your events can be a combination of in-person and virtual events.
8. What is a virtual event?
Virtual events can take on many different forms: fully online using a number of platforms such as Zoom or Google Hangouts; or hybrid events where you encourage each other to go outside as individuals and share your experiences via different chat apps such as WhatsApp or using the phone. These are real opportunities to put your creative muscles to work. When an in-person event is not possible, there are still many ways to build a vital connection between people and ravines. Check out our webinar and resources: Making Online Environmental Programming Meaningful, Supporting your Community while Physical Distancing and Ways to Enjoy Nature while Physical Distancing.
9. Do we need a permit to host our in-person events?
As long as you keep your participant numbers under 25, you do not need a City permit to host your events. If your group plans an event with more than 25 people and you would like to gather at a specific location in a park, you will need to get a one-time booking permit. For more information on City permits, contact David Craig in the City’s Client Services department at David.Craig@toronto.ca or 416-338-3294 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. We also recommend you let your city councillor and park supervisor know about your plans to host a ravine event in your community
Hey, really, contact David…he’ll be happy to help and guide you through the process. We’d call him if we were in your place!
10. What is the grant application process and how are decisions made?
Decisions will be made by a team of reviewers composed of Park People staff in consultation with staff from the City of Toronto and will be based on the following criteria:
- Events should incorporate the Ravine Strategy guiding principles: Protect, Connect and Celebrate our ravines.
- Applications should show an intention to host events with minimal environmental impact.
- Priority will be given to groups that focus their engagement with those that have not previously visited ravines or who experience barriers in accessing ravines.
- Strength of their application which includes details of past event experience.
- Originality of event ideas – simple but creative ideas while following ravine engagement tips.
- Geographic diversity, representation of many neighbourhoods across Toronto.
Meeting any or all of these criteria will not guarantee that your group will be awarded a grant however these are some of the qualities that we are looking for in each application.
11. What do you mean by “groups who have not visited ravines before” or “groups who experience barriers to ravine engagement”?
InTO the Ravines aims to help address barriers such as lack of awareness or fear of ravine spaces. When applying for this grant, we ask that you consider who is in the ravines and who is not there, comparing that to the make-up of your own community. How can you work respectfully with community members to understand the barriers they might face and how better to overcome them?
If you identify as part of a group that experiences barriers to ravine engagement, we invite you to apply and share with us how this grant would be supportive to you and your community. Feel free to email us with any questions or comments.
12. When will I learn if my application has been successful?
Successful applicants will be notified in early July and cheques will be mailed in late-July
13. Are small informal groups eligible to receive the grant?
Yes, grassroots community groups and small community-based organizations are eligible. Community groups interested in applying to the grant are not required to have a trustee or have charitable status. In the case of smaller or newly formed groups who do not have event planning experience, we strongly suggest collaborating with a local organization that does. Grassroots community groups representing diverse communities or neighbourhoods are especially encouraged to apply.
14. If we don’t have non-profit status, do we need to find a group with non-profit status to be our sponsor?
No. You do not need non-profit or charitable status to apply. Informal grassroots groups are welcome to apply. However, if you wish to host an event with more than 25 people you will be required to obtain a City of Toronto permit where we suggest you partner with a non-profit organization to support you for insurance purposes.
15. What expenses would the grant cover?
If successful, you will receive $1000 in total to be used for two events. Expenses will vary depending on the needs of your community. Examples of expenses include marketing (printing posters and flyers), honoraria for volunteers (if applicable), TTC tokens, protective personal equipment, event equipment, permit costs and insurance (if applicable). As much as 75% of the budget can be spent on human resources costs.
InTO the Ravines is a program in partnership with the City of Toronto