At City Council on February 24, no axe fell on Urban Forestry Services. That means that the department responsible for planting, pruning, and maintaining City trees in Toronto can keep moving forward with an ambitious plan to double Toronto's tree canopy—the landscape of the city obscured by branches if you were to look down on it from a plane—from 17 percent to 34 percent by 2050. When asked to explain the strong public support for trees in Toronto, Richard Ubbens, director of urban forestry for Toronto Parks, Forestry and Recreation, waxes poetic. “It’s the angular, majestic presence that trees have," he tells OpenFile. "They’re like the elephants and whales of the plant kingdom. Majestic, super-complex organizations that you can’t help notice."
When it comes to Toronto trees, there's a lot to take notice of:
10,000,000: the number of trees in the City of Toronto.
100,000: the number of trees planted in Toronto soil each year by municipal workers, an effort augmented by private organizations.
$42.86 million: Urban Forestry Services' gross budget for 2011.
$75,000: the largest fine levied by the City for cutting down a tree on private property. While the City does not plant trees on private property, healthy trees on private property that have a diameter of 30 centimetres or greater, measured at 1.4 metres off the ground, are protected by City bylaws.