Greenbelt Turns Five on Sunday, Celebrates Birthday Five Great Ways

Toronto, February 26, 2010 - This Sunday, February 28th marks five years since the Greenbelt Act was passed into law. In that short time, Ontario’s Greenbelt has risen to first place among Greenbelts worldwide for legal protection. It also happens to be the youngest and the largest Greenbelt in the world.

To celebrate the occasion, the Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation is holding events next week that bring together some of the many people and communities that help make one of Ontario’s most ambitious environmental initiatives such a success story.

Five Ways to Celebrate:

1. The Greenbelt at Five Years: Planning for the Future

This panel discussion will explore the Greenbelt’s promise, the opportunities and challenges it faces, and ideas for making the Greenbelt bigger, better and bolder.

Moderator: Laurie Monsebraaten, Toronto Star 
Keynote speaker: Maureen Carter Whitney from the Canadian Institute for Environmental Law and Policy (CIELAP) 
• Bob Eisenberg, Partner, York Heritage Properties;
• Debbie Zimmerman, President of the Grape Growers of Ontario and Regional Councillor, Niagara Region
• Rick Smith, Executive Director, Environmental Defence and member of the Ontario Greenbelt Alliance

WHAT: Discussion among panelists and attendees about the Greenbelt’s promise, challenges, and future

WHERE: Music Room, Hart House, 7 Hart House Circle, University of Toronto

WHEN: March 1st 7:45 am to 10 am

2. Release of Study on International Greenbelts

Monday the Canadian Institute for Environmental Law and Policy (CIELAP) will release a report comparing Greenbelts worldwide. The study, entitled Ontario’s Greenbelt in an International Context shows Ontario’s Greenbelt ranks first for overall legal protetion. Visit CIELAP’s website Monday morning to download a copy of the paper.

3. 5th Anniversary Celebration and Friends of the Greenbelt Award

This year we are honouring five farmers that have demonstrated exceptional leadership and innovation in the Greenbelt. The Greenbelt is over 50% agricultural land. Growers play a big part in making the Greenbelt a success. The Foundation received some 50 nominations from the agricultural community and on Wednesday will be announcing the winners.

WHO: Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation, Honourable William Davis, Honourable David Peterson, supporters and invited guests

WHAT: 5th Anniversary Celebration and Friends of the Greenbelt Award

WHEN: Wednesday, March 3, 11:30 to 1:30 pm

WHERE: Bronfman Hall, The Royal Ontario Museum, 100 Queens Park

4. Greenbelt Art Exhibit

Artists Survey: The Greenbelt is an exhibit of art inspired by the same challenges that led to the creation of the Greenbelt: urban sprawl, degradation of our land, air and water resources, and the relationship between urban and rural communities. The show, both thought provoking and humorous, is currently on display at Gallery 1313 in Toronto’s Queen West art district.

Pieces from the show will be on display at the 5th Anniversary Celebration March 3rd.

The show continues at Gallery 1313 until February 28, then will travel to other destinations in the Greenbelt, the first of which will be Hamilton, starting March 11. Check the Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation’s website for more details (

5. Quilt of Possibilities

To celebrate the Greenbelt’s 5th birthday, the Ontario Crafts Council has assembled a stunning quilt made from squares they solicited from textile artists far and wide. Each square is the artist’s expression of what the Greenbelt means to them. Together they tell the story of the diversity that thrives in the Greenbelt and the communities it knits together.

Wrapping around the Golden Horseshoe, the Greenbelt is 1.8 million acres of potential to make Ontario, and the earth, a better place. The Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation is a charitable organization established to support the vitality of the Greenbelt.

For more information on the Greenbelt’s anniversary celebrations please contact Jennifer Story, Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation at 647.966.6310.

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