Happy 8th Birthday, Greenbelt!

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This year, we celebrate the Greenbelt turning eight with a skate. Foundation staff are visiting skating rinks in the Greenbelt communities of Markham, Toronto, and Hamilton. At the rinks, we share the Greenbelt spirit with hot apple cider from Geissberger Farmhouse and Spirit Tree Estate Cidery, local seeds from Richters Herbs, and some Greenbelt swag.

 As we celebrate eight years of the Greenbelt, we would also like to take the opportunity to revisit highlights from the past year.

  • In 2012, our sister organization, the Greenbelt Fund, was successful in getting $30 million of local Ontario food into several major institutions across the province, including SickKids Hospital. This not only benefited patients, students and the hungry public, but also farmers and producers throughout the Greenbelt. Read more…
  • The release of the Evaluating the Economic Benefits of Greenbelt Assets report from Econometric Research Limited found the Greenbelt had a total economic impact of $9.1 billion in Ontario annually. The Watersheds of the Ontario Greenbelt report from the David Suzuki Foundation followed, which found the Greenbelt’s ability to protect waterways and drinking water was worth over $1 billion a year. Read more…
  • Another report released, titled Inside and Out: Sustaining Ontario’s Greenbelt, focused on Ontario’s whitebelt—an area of land that lies between the urban growth boundaries and the greenbelt boundary—and found that only 17% of land was a part of city growth plans (for regions including Durham, York, Peel, Halton and the City of Hamilton), leaving 83% of natural land still available for decades of land for housing, industrial and commercial development.Read more
  • The Greenbelt has your support! Environics’ most recent public opinion research showed the Greenbelt received 93% support from the public. Read more...
  • There are also several grant successes to commemorate! With $15,000, the Bruce Peninsula Biosphere Association was able to set the groundwork of their community conservation and stewardship program. The Wetland Restoration Incentive Program from the Credit Valley Conservation worked with private landowners to determine what incentives they needed to improve wetland restoration on their properties. And most recently, seven regional municipalities (Niagara, Hamilton, Halton, Peel, York, Durham, Toronto), farm groups (for example, the Holland Marsh Growers Association) and the Friends of the Greenbelt foundation have joined forces to create the Golden Horseshoe Food and Farming Alliance, to work together on economic strategies. This past year’s grants have made all the difference.
  • For the first time since its creation in 2005, the Greenbelt grew 400-hectares (roughly 800 football fields!) with the addition of the Oakville Glenorchy Conservation area. Also included in this expansion is a new urban river valley designation, allowing municipalities to conserve and protect important waterways while ensuring their complex planning needs are met. Read more… 
  • If you were with us at the Greenbelt Harvest Picnic then you know what a great success it was! With artists such as Feist, Emmylou Harris, and Sarah Harmer joining up with local farmers, food vendors, visual artists, and the Foundation, the Greenbelt Harvest Picnic was a musical, visual, and flavourful blast. Read more... 
  • The announcement for Rouge Park to become Rouge National Urban Park, Canada’s first national urban park and North America’s largest, sparked all sorts of excitement here at the Foundation. Rouge Park is an essential part of the Ontario Greenbelt. Read more… 
  • In 2012 we hosted our 6th Annual Tour de Greenbelt where we invited participants to ride, jog, or walk through Rouge Park trails, taking riders through the park’s 10,000 acres of protected wetland and farmers’ fields. It was a perfectly glorious day and we were happy to share it with so many.
  • Since the creation of the Greenbelt in 2005, the Foundation has worked with municipalities, conservation authorities, the Province of Ontario and other partners, to raise awareness about the Greenbelt, and many important features found within its boundaries through our highly visible road signs. Last year we increased our road presence with many new 'Entering the Greenbelt' or 'Greenbelt Walks' signs along highways or regional roads in the Greater Golden Horseshoe area, or up on the Bruce Peninsula.
  • In 2012 we celebrated Ontario VQA wines with Friend of the Greenbelt Award winners LBCO, Wine Council of Ontario, and Grape Growers of Ontario for their significant economic contributions to the Ontario wine industry. “The economic benefits of the Greenbelt are vast and Ontario’s wine industry is a significant contributor,” said Burkhard Mausberg, CEO Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation. “This year we want to recognize the growers, vintners and major retailer that together have significantly increased the amount of Ontario wine sold in and outside of the province.” Read more…
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