The City of Toronto had expected the repair of the St. James Park would cost $60,000 – $100,000 to repair after protesters from Occupy Toronto camped out for over a month and made the site their home.
Landscape Ontario members from all over Toronto came forward and offered to complete the lawn work and tree services for free, with the help of a small army of volunteers and put the park back to its previous state, prior to the protests.
The sod for the project was donated by the Nursery Sod Growers Association of Ontario which was put together within a few days. Joseph Salemi added, “This was a large scale philanthropic event by our over 2000 members who volunteered their time and efforts.
“For us it wasn’t necessarily about the credit, it was taking the opportunity to tell people that grass is just as important as trees with the environmental benefit, if you can imagine that size of park which is 118,000 square feet will provide enough oxygen for about 550 families.”
Most of the trees in St. James Park are in the neighborhood of 20 years plus and they are important for shade and to oxygenate the city. Many of the root systems from the trees were damaged during the protest and many had to be trimmed to allow sunlight to get to the new grass.
The sprinkler system was running today, so the new grass could get a good soaking to prepare for the long winter. Joe commented on how proud he is of his membership, “I would like to say to the membership, is a very sincere thank you for going above and beyond the call, it’s truly the definition of association is the community within industry to giving back to the City of Toronto.