The Living City Foundation

The Living City® Foundation is the fundraising and charitable arm of Toronto and Region Conservation (TRCA). The Foundation exists to connect, engage, and inspire people to donate to support TRCA's Living City vision where human settlement can flourish forever as part of nature's beauty and diversity.

Our Impact Why We Exist

The Living City® Foundation is the fundraising and charitable arm of Toronto and Region Conservation (TRCA). The Foundation exists to connect, engage, and inspire people to donate to support TRCA's Living City vision where human settlement can flourish forever as part of nature's beauty and diversity. Established in 1961, the Foundation is governed by an independent volunteer board of directors and has raised millions of dollars over the years. Key TRCA programs funded by the donors through the Foundation include: outdoor education, habitat restoration, ecological monitoring, community engagement, trail development, recreational park development and other key environmental projects within the Greater Toronto Area. The Foundation also serves as the support vehicle for gifts to Black Creek Pioneer Village.

Our Story What We Do

History of Organization

Since 1961, The  Foundation has been funding TRCA’s projects. One thing makes TRCA’s work unique: It protects the environment where you live, where you work and where you bring up your kids (or grandkids).

The Foundation funds TRCA’s environmental work in three ways. We fund projects which help us understand the local natural environment; we fund projects which encourage people to enjoy the local natural environment and we fund projects to look after the local natural environment.

Accolades and Accomplishments

  • Owns over 44,000 acres of greenspace in the GTA
  • Educates nearly 200,000 kids and adults a year - mostly outside!
  • Coordinates Partners in Project Green, a sustainability initiative involving 2,500 businesses and 300,000 employees around the Pearson Airport (Partners in Project Green)
  • Provides sold out renewable energy workshops and tours at the Kortright Center for Conservation (Kortright Centre for Conservation)
  • Interprets pioneer history at Black Creek Pioneer Village which now includes a heritage brewery (Black Creek Pioneer Village)
  • Provides enjoyment for 1 million people enjoy our parks and conservation areas every year
  • Engages thousands of citizens in watershed restoration activities in all nine of the GTA’s watersheds
  •  Provides detailed natural heritage information to all levels of government
  • Is deeply engaged in “building The Living City”(The Living City)

Our Programs How We Do It

With funding from TLCF, TRCA is engaged in four major activities which are the building blocks for The Living City.

1. Healthy Rivers and Shorelines - This is at the heart of the work of TRCA. After over 60 years, we continue to work with our partners to protect and restore the nine watersheds in the GTA. Some will be familiar to you: The Don, The Humber, The Rouge. Others you may not have heard of: Duffins Creek, Petticoat Creek, Highland Creek. Every day, TRCA is involved in on-the-ground projects to ensure the health of watersheds.

2. Regional Biodiversity - We share our environment with a remarkable array of flora and fauna. By understanding and protecting these species – from the common robin to the endangered redside dace – we enrich our environment. Their future is our future.

3. Sustainable Communities - We all need a healthy habitat. For grizzly bears, it’s large tracts of wilderness. For you and me, it’s a Living City. TRCA is building a city on the fundamental principles of sustainability: Enough. For All. For Ever. We work with communities in the GTA to understand and then reduce their ecological footprint.

4. Business Excellence - As organizations, CFTG and TRCA are both effective and efficient. We spend time and money to ensure that our systems and our people are “at the top of their game”:

  • Provides enjoyment for 1 million people enjoy our parks and conservation areas every year
  • Engages thousands of citizens in watershed restoration activities in all nine of the GTA’s watersheds
  • Provides detailed natural heritage information to all levels of government
  • Is deeply engaged in “building The Living City”(The Living City).

Outdoor Education Program at Lake St. George

TRCA operates 2 ½ day education programs at our outdoor education program at the Lake St. George Field Centre near the town of Oak Ridges north of Toronto. The program is aimed at kids from financially disadvantaged schools in Toronto.

Away from the distractions and influences of modern technology, students are freed to reconnect with the natural environment and their peers face-to-face. They relearn skills of personal interaction and cooperative work and play.

At Lake St. George, kids get outside to experience nature. Using the outdoors as our classroom, kids learn about climate change, recycling, natural cycles, pollution and healthy eating.

All lessons are connected to the curriculum whether in science, social science, language arts, visual arts, physical education, history or geography. This program renews - or better yet, gives birth to - environmental purpose in participants’ hearts and minds. The impact of a 2 ½ day visit can last a lifetime.

The program includes some pre-visit preparation and some post visit activities. All classes make a commitment to “spread the word” in their school.

Funding and Program Partners

The W. Garfield Weston Foundation provides inspiring support for this program. This program is delivered in partnership with public and separate school boards in Toronto and York Region.

Program Impact

This program has an impact on three levels; personal, class and school.

  • Outdoor experiences can change a person forever. This program has a profound impact on a personal level.
  • If we involve 20 classes, that’s 680 students from disadvantaged neighbourhoods who get to explore the outdoors and connect in a unique way with their peers and their world.
  • Entire schools and even communities are challenged by returning classes to reduce their ecological footprint. In the past, some classes and schools have done remarkable things.

Toronto's Vital Signs® indicator(s) addressed by Program

  • “Lifestyle choices increase the burden on the health-care system.”
  • “38.9 % of youth are inactive.” 
  • “More than a dozen neighbourhoods face the double challenge of poverty and pollution.” 

Participant Vignette

“It was a pleasure to visit Lake St. George. I wish we could have stayed forever. You taught our class so much and we have never had so much fun.”  A Grade 6 teacher

“The river study was fun because I have never been in a river and got to catch little things that were living in the river.” A  Grade 7 student

“I would like to thank you for all the activities you did with us, like the photography walk and the talk about the water works. I leaned a lot.”  A Grade 6 student.

What You Can Do

We are grateful to the thousands of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments that contribute to our work. We invite you to join them.

If you are an individual, we urge you to become a Living City Explorer by contributing to our work every month. We have thousands of donors who are with us every day and we would love to have you join them.

Of course, we'd be happy to take any one-time donation as well. We will put it to good use in building The Living City.

If you are a business, we have some special opportunities for you.

Finally, some of our most loyal supporters have left a legacy for The Living City.

Contact

Linda Craib
Manager, Philanthropy
416.661.6600 x5207
Charitable Number: 119039493RR0001

Finance & Governance

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