Green Cities

Urban area of the Credit River

Greening programs for urban residents, businesses and institutions.

For more than 50 years, Credit Valley Conservation (CVC) has been working with the community to protect and restore the Credit River Watershed. CVC undertakes research, education, and implementation of environmental solutions.

The Credit River flows through a diversity of landscape types – from protected natural areas to rural farms and villages, to urbanized environments. CVC works in all of these areas to help sustain the natural environment for present and future generations.

The Green Cities Program concentrates on actions each of us can take to help protect and restore the natural environment on all urban lands in the Credit Valley Watershed, including residential, corporate/business, institutional and public lands. Our specific focus is environmental landscaping. Through the Green Cities Program CVC works with our partner agencies, organizations, businesses and residents to provide education, and hands-on assistance with select sites.

In addition, CVC and our partners conduct research on urban ecosystems and support pilot projects. This research helps us identify priorities and monitor the results of urban greening initiatives.

What is a Green City?

A Green City is a healthy, sustainable, liveable city with a healthy natural environment, healthy people and a thriving economy. A Green City has clean air, water and soil. In a Green City, homes and businesses are nestled among abundant trees, natural areas, and greenspaces. Urban wildlife such as birds and frogs can also thrive in a Green City.

Everyone can help make this vision a reality. Whether you own, rent, manage or simply enjoy outdoor spaces, you can take part in the Green Cities Program.

What is environmental landscaping?

Environmental (or ecological) landscaping is a way of thinking about and caring for land, water, plants and animals. Among other practices, it includes:

  • planting native trees, shrubs, wildflowers and grasses;
  • reducing lawn and planting low-maintenance lawn or ground covers;
  • working with environmentally friendly materials, such as permeable paving and sustainably harvested wood;
  • conserving water by planting drought tolerant species, planting adjacent to water features and using rain barrels or cisterns;
  • adopting environmentally friendly landscape maintenance practices;
  • managing invasive plants that enter your land; and
  • reducing or eliminating pollutants, such as litter, oil spills and overuse of de-icing salt.

What are the benefits of environmental landscaping?

One of the unintended negative consequences of past urban expansion has been a loss of natural areas and an increasingly degraded natural environment. In addition, our urban areas are subject to broader environmental problems, such as global climate change.

Environmental landscaping can help protect and restore the natural environment, while making our cities even better places in which to live and work. Among other benefits, environmental landscaping helps to:

  • create a more diverse, naturally-beautiful, green landscape;
  • improve air, water and soil quality;
  • mitigate impacts of global climate change and increasing urban temperatures;
  • provide shelter from the sun and wind;
  • improve urban tree cover;
  • protect and restore urban natural areas, such as forests, streams and meadows;
  • protect and restore native biodiversity (i.e., diverse native plants, birds, fish, butterflies and other wildlife);
  • protect and restore environmentally important connections between natural areas;
  • reduce flooding and conserve water;
  • reduce long-term maintenance costs and energy used for maintenance;
  • create new economic, environmental education and recreation opportunities; and
  • contribute to the quality of life and human health.

How can you participate in CVC’s Green Cities programs and projects?

The Your Green Yard Programprovides workshops and information on various aspects of environmental landscaping for residents. If you live adjacent to a natural area, we can also provide information on how you can contribute to its protection and restoration.

Businesses, Corporations and Institutions
Your business, corporation, place of worship, health facility or post-secondary school can become a member of our new Greening Corporate Grounds Program. Along with adopting environmental landscape maintenance practices and planting native plants, you can choose from a selection of additional projects. CVC will provide information, planning assistance, an on-site sign, and a listing on our website. Along with our partner Evergreen, we can also assist with staff or volunteer planting events.

Public Lands
CVC works with our urban municipal partners on public lands, and we continue to adopt environmental practices on our own lands. Every year, hundreds of CVC Conservation Youth Corps students and other volunteers plant trees and assist with other activities on public lands. You can join these volunteers, or simply help care for our shared natural areas and greenspaces whenever you visit.

Our urban research projects currently include the Lake Ontario Shoreline Strategy and studies of various urban streams, wetlands, ponds and forests. This research enables us to establish priorities and monitor the results of urban greening. In addition, we support some pilot sites to aid with testing select outdoor environmental practices. To participate in research or access results, watch for meetings or notices and check the CVC website.

Who should I contact?
For more information on the Green Cities Program, contact CVC at 905-670-1615 x442,

COVID-19 related service changes
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In accordance with scientific standards, appropriate acknowledgment of CVC should be made in any publications or other disclosures concerning data or information made available by CVC.