Our Story

It was December 2011 in the historic district of St. James Park. That was the year an idea was born – to bring hope and healing to a community in the heart of Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

The beloved city park was in ruins following a multi-day demonstration by protestors. Tree root systems were damaged and exposed, and mud had now replaced what used to be grass. This would be a big job that required 26 pallets of sod, truckloads of mulch, professional arborists, landscapers and hundreds of volunteers.

The City of Toronto quickly realized it didn’t have the resources for the extensive restoration required to return St. James Park to its former glory.

“Restoring the park so people could enjoy it as part of the regular, daily life again was an easy decision to make,” said Alan White, one of 200 members of Landscape Ontario who responded to a call for help from Toronto’s mayor.

Reaching out to its network of partners, the group secured generous donations of turf grass and mulch.  White was thrilled with the results and, uplifted by the potential of helping more urban communities across Canada, focused on building a charitable organization to do just that. 


Working with Canadian Nursery Landscape Association (CNLA) members, the group focused on improving people’s lives by improving community and climate.

“There are so many benefits of living, breathing landscapes, no matter the size,” said CNLA Past President Phil Paxton.  “Plants clean the air, provide shade, cool the surrounding area, reduce noise and absorb excess rainwater from storms.”

The resounding message from this passionate group is that green spaces benefit our health and well-being both physically and mentally. 

The Green Cities Foundation was formed as a Canadian Private Charitable Foundation in 2018 and set out to build its first urban green space in 2019.

We invite you to join us on this journey, to be a part of something bigger than yourself, and to help make the world a better place for all. Whether you are a student, a professional, a community member, or a concerned citizen, there is a place for you in the Green Cities Foundation family.

Calculate your clean air      Donate