Marc Yamaguchi and Ting Wang from Rain Gardens United (RGU) recount how this grassroots movement lit up a neighbourhood and transformed the understanding and appreciation for living systems best adapted for stormwater events.
An RGU hydrology table demonstration augments the looping 20-minute presentation, which includes the invitation to tour a thriving cluster of rain gardens in the east end of Toronto the following morning. Guerrilla gardeners will leave with complementary wildflower seeds.
Marc Yamaguchi, MAEEC is a college teacher, but began doing outdoor interventions in 2013 as a volunteer with the David Suzuki Foundation. In 2015, he headed up the East Danforth Rain Gardens Project, which has grown from an initial 11 to 31 today. Marc’s Masters thesis in Environmental Education and Communication is entitled Low Impact Development: Citizen Chronicles from the Urban Underground.
Ting Wang, MSc, MT is a part of the urban water cycle and teaches science at a private high school downtown Toronto. He has a Masters degree in physics and teaching and is an amateur hydrologist. He has been working with Marc at RGU to monitor and ameliorate how Toronto deals with its rainwater.
The Rain Gardens United initiative was made possible by being awarded the Toronto Foundation’s 2015 Vital Innovation grant. Formerly known as the Rain Gardens of Danforth East Village – East York pilot project, we proposed a green corridor to connect Wards 29, 30, 31, and 32 with the Leslie Spit and “carpet” this part of Toronto with butterfly, bee and bird friendly habitat. Our goals include community-building, idea-sharing, and life-enhancing strategies that improve the quality of life for the citizens of Toronto. And this includes recognizing the rain gardens’ capability to protect our precious freshwater in Lake Ontario.
Rain Gardens United would like to acknowledge that the rain gardens pilot was conducted in the traditional territory of the Huron-Wendat and Petun First Nations, the Seneca, and the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation. Toronto is still the home to many Indigenous peoples from across Turtle Island, and we are grateful to replicate the natural features that have always lent resiliency to the landscape of this territory.
Green Roofs for Healthy Cities – Green Infrastructure Week
Green Roofs for Healthy Cities promotes the mainstreaming of green roofs, green walls, and other forms of green infrastructure in cities as a way to encourage a built environment that supports human and ecosystem health. GRHC was instrumental in the creation and implementation of the Toronto Green Roof By-Law which has resulted in over 500 green roofs here in Toronto. Each year GRHC hosts a green infrastructure conference in Toronto, Grey to Green, that focuses on green infrastructure projects shaping our urban environments, new policy developments, and industry research. As a way to encourage more people to become involved in green infrastructure, GRHC hosted Ontario’s first Green Infrastructure Week to celebrate our urban forests, wetlands, parks, green roofs, green walls and rain gardens. LEARN MORE.