Celebrating Urban Green Spaces for Canada 150

It is always a good time to reflect on our relationship with our natural environment. “Going green” does more for a community than you might initially realize. Being outside in nature provides almost immediate stress relief, increases a person’s resilience and well-being, and promotes an overall healthy attitude that carries over into other areas of life. Natural vegetation does wonders for keeping the air clean, absorbing rainwater, and providing habitats for wildlife. Even in very urban, developed areas, a green space will still make a significant and tangible impact.

As if all that wasn’t enough, green spaces have an impact on our pocketbooks as well. For example, urban forests within Vancouver have a value of $225 million in benefits as a result of their impact on tourism and recreation, the reduction in the frequency of road repairs, the reduction of heating and cooling costs, and an improvement in property values for residential and commercial buildings. The return on trees is significant: for each dollar spent on forestry, almost five dollars in benefits are realized each year.

For over 25 years, TD has been committed to revitalizing and enriching green spaces across the country. Green spaces are where communities come together to meet, talk and play– it's where people find common ground and connect.

As we celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday this year, we will be helping to grow and enhance parks and green spaces across Canada more than ever before, bringing communities together in exciting and diverse ways. The TD Common Ground Project will revitalize over 150 spaces across the country, including seven major projects in key cities across the country – Halifax, Montreal, Kingston, Waterloo, Scarborough, Calgary and Surrey.  

As the new Chair of the TD Friends of the Environment Foundation Pacific Advisory Board, I am so proud to be part of all of this work – and to have the opportunity to play a small role in the outstanding work done by all levels of government, the private sector and non-profit organizations.  We are bringing communities together by providing parks and green spaces for people to meet for a picnic, to relax and read a book, to make memories. These places are where we can come together as a community and make real connections.

Each project is thoughtfully designed with the goal of bringing people together, helping contribute to livable and healthy cities and improving the quality of life for communities in a lasting way.

This opinion piece was originally published in the Vancouver Sun.  The content has been edited for length and style.

Jim Kershaw

Senior Vice-President & Pacific Region Head

TD Wealth Private Wealth Management