How park groups can mentor one another

For 35 years, The Riverwood Conservancy (TRC) has stewarded Riverwood, a 150 ­acre urban oasis of woodlands, meadows and nature trails. More than 10,000 people a year take part in TRC’s nature-focused events, and their volunteers log more than 24,000 hours a year. TRC has twice received a Park People Greenbelt River Valley Connector grant to support programs that connect people to their local Greenbelt protected watersheds.

As an organization with a strong understanding and foothold in the community, TRC was in an ideal position to help a new Mississauga park group get their volunteer program started. Friends of Hancock Woodlands was established when the City of Mississauga purchased a family-owned plant nursery with plans to open it as a new garden park. From the start of the project, the City was committed to ensuring the park had a robust volunteer program including a strong community park group. Hancock Woodlands was finally opened as a public park in 2018. In 2019 they received their first TD Park People grant to support awesome events that connected the community to their newest park.

The Riverwood Conservancy is more than 20 times the size of Hancock Woodlands with a long, established role in their City. How did Friends of Hancock Woodlands become the “little sister” to The Riverwood Conservancy and how did TRC’s experience help shape volunteerism and community engagement at Hancock Woodlands? We spoke to Robin Haley-Gillin, Manager of Organizational Development & Volunteers at TRC and Sytske van der Veen, Chair of the Friends of Hancock Woodlands, to learn more about their impressive collaboration.





成立新的公園社團,展現你對公園及社區的關懷及期許,數十年來,透過許多團體的努力,已有顯著的成果,Park People將扶植眾多團體成長,建造一個緊密的網絡,聯繫加國各地的社區團體。讀完本文後,請讓我們知道如何助你一臂之力!電郵:

How to write and share volunteer descriptions

Community groups like yours run on volunteers. You’re probably a volunteer yourself! Getting enough volunteers, and the right volunteers, is crucial to the very longevity of most community based organizations.

Writing and effectively sharing a volunteer description is one way to recruit volunteers. It provides clarity on the needs of your groups, on the teams roles and responsibility, and most importantly tells the community you are looking for volunteers!

The only difference between volunteer job postings and paid postings is the lack of pay and the fact that the person writing them is generally not a Human Resources professional.  Read on for tips to help you succeed in writing and sharing volunteer job descriptions that result in volunteers  who provide your group with new skills or perspectives.


A community-first approach to establishing your park group

The scariest time for community park groups is the beginning. When you’re just one person with a good idea about the potential of your park, there’s no knowing whether other people will ‘show up’ to make it happen. Faced with this possibility, Ana Cuciureanu parked her park dreams in the background, and gave her full attention to connecting with her community. How she did this, and the underpinning convictions behind her approach, are worth sharing.

Partner with a charitable trustee

As a small, community-based organization, how do you raise funds to do the things you need to do? You need to bring on new members, undertake projects that may involve hard costs and publicize the events you hold. And when you want to do something ambitious, you really need to get creative about fundraising. Grassroots organizations in Canada can take the form of an Association, a Trusteeship, a Not for Profit, or a Charity. Only two of these will enable you to issue donor tax receipts and to apply for most forms of publicly available grants. They are trusteeships and charities.

Establishing a charitable trusteeship is the simplest, fastest way to issuing tax receipts and accessing grants. In essence, you align your organization with a charity whose mandate is somewhat similar to yours. Tax receipts are important to donors, especially larger donors, because a portion of funds donated gets deducted from their taxes. We spoke to Julet Allen, Program Director at Delta Family Resource Centre, a grassroots, non-profit, community-based agency in Toronto’s Rexdale community.

Building partnerships

How to start your community park group

By creating a community park group, you are showing that you care about parks and communities and want them to be better. There have been community park groups doing great work in their parks for decades. Park People is helping to grow the number of groups and build a connected network of groups across all of Canada. After reading this, let us know how we can help you further at


Grants and funding your park group can access

Fundraising is a great way to build the capacity of your community park group.  Below are some key municipal, provincial and national grants that could help fund your next awesome park project. All national granting opportunities are marked with (N). 

Yet, before beginning your research, we advise you to look for available funding through your municipality.

Why City Parks Matter

In Canada, 86 percent of the population lives in cities. City parks were once thought of as places to escape urban life. Today, they help define it, and are inextricably linked to our quality of life.

The powerful potential of Canada’s city parks is only beginning to be understood. What we do know shows that parks play a key role in making cities thrive.

The Park People Network Guiding Principles

The Park People Network is based on core principles that help make parks and communities thrive. Please review these guiding principles and feel free to use them, or adapt them, for your work in parks. 

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