Meet Leaside’s Green Heart heroes

Leaside's Green Heart Heroes 2020
Leaside’s Green Heart Heroes 2020

Nature offers us so many shades of green to enjoy: emerald, olive, lime and seafoam, to name a few. And Leaside offers us so many shades of green living to celebrate, including cycling, solar power, faith-based ecology, and green ways of life. When we began our Leaside Green column, we had no idea how Leasiders would respond. We’ve been overjoyed with the reaction.

As part of this Green issue of Leaside Life, we are delighted to bring you these diverse, committed and inspiring green heart heroes. It’s a great time to be green in Leaside!

Cycle Don Valley Midtown

Family Cycling Day. Photo by Holly Reid.
Family Cycling Day. Photo by Holly Reid.

Cycle Don Valley Midtown helps residents transition to bike travel by promoting cycling as a safe and sustainable mode of transportation. In Toronto, transportation accounts for 38% of greenhouse gas emissions with 80% of those coming from vehicles. Switching to a bike can eliminate about 200g/km of CO2 emitted. Specific to Leaside, the group has promoted safe cycling at local events, launched a Cycling Commuter Coach program, and advocated for safe and connected local bike routes. To divert waste, members support the Gateway Bike Hub to repair and reuse bicycles for residents in the Flemingdon and Thorncliffe Park communities.

Eco Anselm

St. Anselm’s Eco-wall.

EcoAnselm is a faith-inspired, community-minded ministry of ecology at St. Anselm’s Catholic Church. EcoAnselm reaches out to other community and faith-based groups to learn and work collaboratively for responsible stewardship. Through mindfulness, prayer, education, communication and action, EcoAnselm strives to raise ecological awareness and inspire respect and gratitude for all creation. Letters were recently enthusiastically received by up to 30 Bayview-Leaside stores welcoming dialogue on safeguarding our environment. EcoAnselm has organized parish-wide opportunities for dialogue on “Caring for Creation,” created eco-displays, participated in ecology-related petitions, engaged in community clean-ups, and hosted several eco-film and speaker events.

St. Cuthbert’s Church

St. Cuthbert’s Gardeners. Photo by Kathi Davies.

St. Cuthbert’s strives to safeguard the integrity of God’s creation, and respect, sustain and renew the life of the earth. The church has launched a number of environmental improvements: adding high efficiency boilers, upgrading lighting, rerouting downspouts, replacing toilets, introducing a recycling/composting program, and protecting and insulating the historic stained-glass windows. In addition, the congregation participates in Earth Day initiatives, offers an Environment Study Group, has planted a vegetable garden providing fresh produce to the Flemingdon Food Bank, added a pollinator garden, installed two 175-gallon cisterns to provide rainwater, earned a “Greening Sacred Spaces” Award and a “Recognized Heritage Tree” Award for their 200-year-old great white oak.

Ben Chan

Ben Chan. Photo by Julia Schindeler.

Ben Chan is committed to green, sustainable living. This “green” individual installed a geothermal heating/cooling system which has saved 70% on his heating bill. He converted his front yard into a bee- and butterfly-friendly native species garden which also produces vegetables and berries, and designed a drip-irrigation system using rain barrels. His latest experiment is indoor hydroponic vegetable gardening for winter. He drives an electric car, brings his own leftover containers and travel mugs when eating out, uses reusable shopping bags and hangs his clothes to dry. He has also added multi-pane windows, LED bulbs, extra insulation, low-flush toilets and a urinal to his house.

Tim Short

Tim Short
Tim Short.

Tim Short is Leaside’s original solar energy guru and practitioner. In 2007, he installed a rooftop solar water heater; in 2009, he installed his first photovoltaic (PV) solar array to generate electricity; and in 2016, he installed a second PV array to offset his home’s utility electricity consumption. The systems now generate close to 30% of his household’s annual electrical needs, including his electric vehicle. Recently, Tim became a green energy entrepreneur, developing electric vehicle charging networks in multi-family buildings. Tim also promotes the sun’s value and energy savings to others by opening his home to Green Energy Open Doors events.

As you can see, there is no shortage of green heroes in Leaside, and with tremendous pride, they embrace every shade of green. We salute them all for showing us how many different ways we can be part of the climate change solution and that no matter how small, collectively these actions really do add up. We thank our readers who took the time to nominate these heroes so we could bring them to your attention.

About Debora Kuchme and Cheryl Vanderburg 7 Articles
Leaside Life’s new eco-duo, Cheryl Vanderburg and Debora Kuchme, are excited to be working together on a new column, Leaside Green, to bring environmental awareness along with positive and easy solutions to create and celebrate a greener and healthier Leaside. Debora, The Leaside Gardener, continues to use her background in design, manufacturing and horticulture to bring creative and practical ideas to help mitigate the negative effects of climate change. And Cheryl continues her Leaside Litterati quest by ‘plogging’ while out and about in the neighbourhood.