Environment

Why is this important?

To handle the effects of changes to our climate (increasing and severe weather events, etc.), its natural and built environments must be in good shape. Features such as an abundant tree canopy that help improve air quality and other health indicators are key to the city’s resilience. Parks and green spaces enhance health and quality of life for all residents.

 

What are the trends?

The percentage of residential waste diverted has remained somewhat steady for the past few years, and the City has still not met its 70% diversion goal. But the amount created has been dropping. The City will need residents’ help to restore the damage to our tree canopy caused by the December 2013 ice storm and meet its ambitious growth goal.

 

What’s new?

Most Torontonians are not prepared for an environmental emergency. The Board of Health has adopted a strategy to address the impacts of climate change on our health. Canada’s largest and busiest airport has cut its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by almost half, but our largest provider of social housing is one of Toronto’s major emitters, and “big changes” are needed for Toronto to meet its emissions targets. A tree study has shown that nature matters to physical and mental health, but maintaining and improving green space is challenging. Toronto is Canada’s first “Bee City.” Toronto may be experiencing an increase in rat population due to changing weather patterns.

 

 

 

How is Toronto faring with measures of environmental progress?

“Big changes” will be needed if Toronto is to meet its greenhouse gas targets:

  • Toronto’s greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction goals are a 6% reduction (compared to the 1990 baseline) by 2012, 30% by 2020, and 80% by 2050.[1]
  • A GHG Inventory released by the City in December 2015 (using 2013 data) shows that GHG emissions in the city in 2013 had declined 18% (to 20,589,001 tonnes from 25,082,534) since 2004 (2004 data was used when an inventory was last published in 2007). They have declined 24% since 1990.[2]
  • Transportation (not including boat, rail, or airplane) is the greatest source of our greenhouse gas emissions at 41% (versus 11% from waste in city-operated landfills and 48% from industry, residential, and commercial sources).[3] Transportation emissions have risen since 1990 (by 15%). (Note, however, that transportation data has not been updated since the 2007 inventory).[4]

 

GHG Emissions in Toronto, 1990 versus 2013:

Environment 1990 V 2013 GHG

 

  • The City has made strides in its own production of GHG emissions. Emissions from electricity consumed in City buildings decreased 25% between 2004 and 2013, and 46% from 1990. Emissions from waste were also reduced to 750,946 tonnes eCO2 in 2013 (down from 1,009,545 in 2004 and 1,815,751 in 1990). Landfills remain the major source of City emissions at 60%.
  • There were large declines in Toronto’s emissions from 1990 to 2013, especially from 2008 to 2011. But after the completion of the phase-out of coal-fired electricity generation, the rate of decline slowed significantly (2011-2013).
  • The inventory concludes that although Toronto has made progress despite increased population and economic activity, big changes at the community level will be required to reach the 80% by 2050 reduction goal.[5]

 

Sources of City of Toronto GHG Emissions, 2013:

sources-of-greenhouse-gases

Council-Approved (2007) Emissions Targets versus Progress, Toronto, 2013:

estimated-ghg

globalToronto’s rate of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions is higher than comparable European global cities, but is lower than Boston and Los Angeles, as well as Vaughan, ON:

  • With a rate of 7.33 tonnes per capita of GHG emissions, Toronto sits in the middle of a group of comparable global cities (as reported to the World Council on City Data or WCCD in 2015).
  • Toronto’s rate is almost double London’s rate (4.89 tonnes per capita), and about a third higher than Amsterdam’s rate (at 5.49).
  • However, Toronto’s GHG emissions per capita rate is just over half the rate of Los Angeles (13.39), and considerably lower than that of Vaughan (9.80) and Boston (9.51).[6]

Greenhouse Gas Emissions in Tonnes per Capita, as Reported to WCCD in 2015 [7]

wwcd-ghg

 

The number of LEED-certified buildings in Toronto continues to increase:

  • In 2012 there were 59 buildings that received certification; the number more than doubled to 123 in 2013 and more than tripled to 186 in 2014. The 2014 number represents 7.11 buildings per 100,000 people, above the provincial average of 5.34.[8]

 

Ideas-and-InnovationsZooShare, a non-profit renewable energy cooperative is building North America’s first biogas plant adjacent to the Toronto Zoo:

  • The plant will create methane gas to generate power.
  • Along with animal feces from the Zoo, ZooShare will receive grocery store waste.
  • The plant will generate energy to power 250 homes, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 10,000 tons of CO2 annually.
  •  ZooShare is offering 5-year bonds and memberships in their co-op.[9]

 

While there is still room for improvement, Toronto can be proud of its record on waste management:

  • After increases over three years in the amount of residential waste generated (from 799,812 tonnes in 2011 to 815,450 in 2012 and 823,743 in 2013), the last two years have seen small decreases: 2.4% from 2013 to 2014 (down to 804,369 tonnes) and 3.6% from 2014 to 2015 (to 775,260 tonnes).
  • The percentage of waste diverted in 2015 (52%) was slightly lower than the previous year (53%).[10] The City has still not met its 2010 goal of 70% diversion (an original goal of 100% by 2010, set in 2000, was revised in 2007).[11]
  • Nonetheless, Torontonians diverted 127,952 tonnes of waste from landfills in 2015 through the Blue Bin program and another 105,756 tonnes by using their Green Bins for organic waste.[12]
  • City revenue from recycling increased for the second year in a row, growing 4.6% to $23.7m in 2015 (after increasing 15.5% to $22.7m in 2014.[13]

 

Ideas-and-InnovationsOn June 1, 2015, Toronto‘s recycling program began accepting soft, stretchy plastics like sandwich bags in Blue Bins:

  • This expansion is expected to increase the amount of materials recycled and diverted from landfill by approximately 3,500 additional tonnes, while bringing in enough revenues from the sale of the collected material to result in annual net savings of $8,527 per year.[14]

 

Compared to Vancouver, however, Toronto falls behind when it comes to recycling, and our residential high-rises in particular are falling short:

  • Toronto’s residential diversion rate was 53% in 2014. Vancouver, comparatively, recycles 61% of its waste.
  • According to the Toronto Environmental Alliance (TEA), only 26% of the waste produced by high-rises is recycled.
    • The organization estimates that the average high-rise dumpster or Toronto garbage bag mostly comprises items that could be recycled or composted, or hazardous waste and e-waste that should be safely disposed of.
  • Without action to increase recycling and composting, TEA says Toronto’s Green Lane landfill outside of London will be filled by 2029.[15]

 

Improved air quality has translated into some meaningful public health gains:

  • Premature deaths and hospitalizations as a result of air pollution have dropped by 23% and 41% respectively since 2004.[16]
  • But the number of Torontonians (12 years and older) suffering from asthma rose in 2014 to 6.8%. It was 5.3% in 2013, down from 5.8% in 2012 and 6.9% in 2010.[17]

 

Water use by Torontonians increased last year after a period of declining use:

  • Declining water consumption in 2012-2013 led Council to approve, during the 2014 rate-supported budget process, an 8% water rate increase in 2015-2017 to address a $1B shortfall in capital funding due to reduced water revenue.[18]
  • As of July 20, 2015, a daily average of 1,488.01 millions of litres had been consumed in Toronto,[19] up from the daily average of 1,133 millions of litres a day as of September 5, 2014.[20]

 

Where is Toronto making its greatest strides in the area of environmental sustainability?

The City is working on a tree planting strategy to reach its ambitious tree canopy growth goal:

  • To meet its canopy goal—increasing coverage from 28% to 40% within 30 to 40 years—the City needs to add thousands of new trees a year and working cross-departmentally to develop a planting strategy.[21]
  • The City’s plan will rely not only on natural regeneration and planting on public property, but on private residents planting and stewarding trees on their properties. Of Toronto’s roughly 10 million trees (of at least 116 species), 6% are City-owned street trees, and 34% are in parks. The rest (60%) are on private property.
  • While the City is upping its urban forestry budget to $100m by 2022, a balance will need to be found between canopy expansion and booming urban development.[23]

 

globalCompared to other global cities, Toronto planted a significantly larger number of trees in 2015:

  • A total of 3,373 trees were planted in Toronto (as reported to the World Council on City Data or WCCD in 2015). Only Melbourne came close with 2,640 trees planted.
  • Toronto’s number is more than four times Los Angeles’ at 772 trees planted in 2015, six times more than London’s at 527, and almost seven times more than Vaughan’s, at 495.521

 

Total Numbers of Trees Planted, as Reported to WCCD in 2015 [24]

wwcd-trees-planted

 

The City is developing a ravine strategy:

  • Parks, Forestry and Recreation, City Planning, and Toronto Water are consulting with the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority, the public, and other stakeholders to create a comprehensive plan to manage use, enhancements, and protection of Toronto’s ravines.[25]
  • Ravines are home to most of Toronto’s remarkable biodiversity. The city has over 404 bird species, 110 butterfly species, 92 fish species, 38 mammal species, 364 bee species, 200 spider species, and 24 reptile and amphibian species.
  • Ravines make up a significant proportion of the city’s area (17%, or 11,000 of 63,200 hectares). This land is 60% publicly and 40% privately owned and includes rivers, watercourses, parks and trails, roads, railways, golf courses, and hospitals.[26]

Toronto’s Ravine System:

ravine-system

 

Ideas-and-InnovationsThrough a multi-stakeholder partnership, Evergreen, along with City officials and philanthropists have been working on a plan to transform the Lower Don Greenway:

  • The upper Don is well used but the lower Don has been a site of garbage dumping and neglect.
  • The new plan involves strategies for three areas of this 5km trail situated within the ravine corridor: an Urban Zone, a Park Zone and a Wilderness zone.
  • Features will include: new paths, bike lanes along Bayview Ave., better signage and stairs from the overhead bridges, and a re-naturalization of the industrialized Urban Zone.[27]

Lower Don Greenway Plans, 2016 [29]

lower-donway-plans

Trish McAlaster/The Globe and Mail

Source: Google, Evergreen.ca

Canada’s largest and busiest airport has lowered its greenhouse gas emissions by almost half:

  • The Greater Toronto Airports Authority (GTAA), which manages, operates, and maintains Toronto Pearson International Airport, drafted its Greenhouses Gases Policy in 2009, with a goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 20% below its 2006 baseline by 2020.527
  • Between 2010 and 2014 alone, total direct and indirect emissions at Toronto Pearson dropped 43%—from 113,134 to 64,471 tonnes CO2 emissions [30]

GTAA Environmental Performance, 2010-2014 [31]

pearson

 

  • The GTAA has undertaken vast environmental initiatives including:
    • investment of over $120m in redirecting contaminated water to waste treatment since taking over Pearson from Transport Canada in 1996;
    • partnership in Project Green (planting 800 trees and shrubs along Etobicoke creek in May 2015, for example);
    • replacement of older lighting with LED, installation of energy-efficient variable-speed drives to reduce energy consumed by baggage systems, and use of several electric cars by employees[32]; and
    • participation in the Mississauga Smart Commute program, which encourages more sustainable commuting options (it was estimated in 2012 that the program saved 6,000 round trips, which would have produced 87,075 kilograms of CO2e).[33]
  • In October 2015, Toronto Pearson became the 10th airport in North America accredited by Airports Council International’s four-level Airport Carbon Accreditation program recognizing reduced carbon footprints. Pearson was accredited at a Level 2 reduction.[34]
  • According to the Director of Aviation Infrastructure, Energy and Environment, GTAA’s next step is natural gas reduction.[35]

 

Meanwhile, Canada’s largest provider of social housing is one of Toronto’s major residential energy consumers and greenhouse gas emitters:

  • In 2014, GHG emissions from Toronto Community Housing’s buildings across the city totalled 245,853 tonnes of CO2, enough to launch 8,780 NASA space shuttles.
  • Funding for repairs and deep retrofits could reduce emissions by 30-60%.[36]

 

tchc

 

Lake Ontario’s beaches are cleaner, water quality reporting is more consistent, and two of Toronto’s beaches are among the most popular beaches on the Lake:

  • Lake Ontario Waterkeeper’s 2015 Great Lakes & St. Lawrence Beach Report ranks Toronto’s Woodbine beach and Marie Curtis Park East beach as the second and third most popular beaches of 345 in the Lake Ontario watershed.
    • Popularity was based on number of views in 2015 of beaches in the organization’s Swim Guide.[37]
    • Eight of Toronto’s 11 beaches have been awarded the Blue Flag certification. Toronto was the first Canadian city to receive the designation (12 years ago).[38]

lake-ontario

  • Lake Ontario Waterkeeper also reports that Lake Ontario beaches showed improvements in 2015 in both water quality and in water quality reporting.
    • Beach water met water quality standards 73% of the time. In 2014 they met standards only 60% of the time. However, the number of days that beaches failed to meet water quality standards also went up in 2015.
    • In 2014 no data on water quality were reported for 29% of days. In 2015 “no data days” dropped to 14%.[39]
  • Meanwhile, in June 2016, the federal government listed plastic microbeads, commonly used in toothpastes and soaps, as a toxic substance under the Environmental Protection Act, enabling the government to control their use or outlaw them altogether. Plastic microbeads have been shown to have adverse effects in aquatic organisms and on biological diversity and in the ecosystem.[40] The government has indicated that they want to ban microbeads and expects to have draft regulations ready in Fall 2016.[41]

 

Toronto is Canada’s first “Bee City”:

  • Toronto was acknowledged in April 2016 by Bee City Canada for its commitment to the protection and conservation of bees through education and programming.
    • Bee City Canada (a group of concerned citizens including researchers, educators, beekeepers, farmers, ecologists, community leaders, and others) invites “every city, town, community, school, and business” to become a “Bee City” designee.
  • With over 300 species, Toronto is home to one of the most diverse pollinator populations in Canada.
  • To celebrate its affiliation with Bee City Canada, and to celebrate National Pollinator Week (June 20-26, 2016) the City unveiled a new 213 square metre mural featuring a bee at work at Bloor Street West and Howland Avenue.[42]

 

bees-include-credit

Artist: Nick Sweetman. Source: CNW Group/Burt’s Bees Canada

 

Ideas-and-InnovationsThe David Suzuki Foundation’s Got Milkweed campaign encourages Canadians to plant Milkweed to help bring back the Monarch Butterfly population. David Suzuki Foundation provides seeds and plants for sale and has an awareness campaign to increase the native plant’s density in Monarch corridors. Mexican authorities estimate that the population that survived the annual diasporic journey was “three and a half times greater” than the previous year. Although numbers are increasing, the Monarch Butterfly population is about “80 per cent lower than 20 years ago”[43]

 

How is Toronto experiencing extreme weather and environmental changes?

The past year saw the city hit with more extreme weather, putting vulnerable residents at risk:

  • There were 12 extreme cold weather alerts between November 15, 2015, and April 15, 2016—far fewer than the record-breaking 39 over the winter of 2014-15 (59% of which fell in February, triggering additional services for the homeless) and the 36 of 2013-14. In 2012-13 there were only nine cold weather alerts.[44]
    • Extreme cold weather alerts are issued by the Medical Officer of Health when Environment Canada forecasts temperatures of -15 °C or colder, or when, at warmer temperatures, certain factors increase the impact of cold weather on health (e.g., wind chill, precipitation, low daytime temperatures, or several days and nights of cold weather in a row).[45]
  • There were eight heat warnings and four extended heat warnings in 2015, and as of August 31, 2016, there were 12 heat warnings and six extended heat warnings this year. In 2014, there was only one heat alert was necessary in the summer of 2014 (compared to seven the previous year).
    • Toronto Public Health monitors the Heat Health Alert System every day from May 15 to September 30 each year, to alert those people most at risk of heat-related illness that hot weather conditions presently exist and to take appropriate precautions.[46]

 

The winter of 2015-16 broke some warm weather records:

  • An all-time record-high temperature for the month of February—15.5 C—was set at Pearson Airport on February 3, 2016, beating the previous record of 14.9 C set February 23, 1984.
    • On the same day in 2015, the temperature was -16 C in the morning with a daytime high of -5.6 C.
    • The warmest February 3 previously on record was in 1991, when a high of 9.3 C was reached.[47]
  • Meanwhile, Toronto experienced its hottest Christmas Eve in 2015 since 1840 (the year temperatures started being tracked downtown).
    • A record 15.4 C was recorded on December 24, 2015, breaking the previous high set in 1964 by three degrees.
    • The average December 24 temperature in Toronto is -1 C.[48]

 

How can we address the effects of extreme weather and environmental changes?

The majority of Torontonians are not prepared for an emergency such as a power outage:

  • A 2016 survey Toronto Hydro conducted for Emergency Preparedness Week, which took place in May 2016, found that 60% of respondents do not have an emergency kit on hand. 35% did not even know they needed one.
  • In response Hydro has offered three emergency “hacks” for emergencies, creating videos showing how to create a lamp with a flashlight and jar, open a can of food without a can opener, and make a solar oven from a cereal box and aluminum foil.
  • Hydro still recommends a fully stocked kit that includes enough water and non-perishable food items for 72 hours, as well as a battery or crank-powered radio and a flashlight.[49]

 

Meanwhile, the City has launched an extreme weather web portal to encourage residents to prepare:

  • In June 2016 the City opened a new web portal to teach residents about extreme weather (including extreme heat, flooding/rain, cold, and wind) and inform them how to reduce risks, increase resilience, weatherproof homes, and access related programs and services.
  • In recent years, extreme weather has damaged infrastructure, caused flooding, damaged the tree canopy, and put Torontonians’ health at risk. A July 2013 rainfall caused extensive damage, costing the City $65m and resulting in $850m in insurance claims in the GTA. The winter ice storm later the same year left 300,000 Toronto Hydro customers without power and cost the City and the utility over $100m.[50]
  • Extreme weather conditions are projected to increase dramatically over the next forty years, to daily temperature maximums of 44 degrees, more days annually above 30 degrees, more heat waves, and more daily rain fall maximums.[51]

 

Projected Change in Toronto’s Weather, 2000-09 versus in 2040-50 [52]

projecting

projected-change

 

Source: Toronto’s Future Weather and Climate Driver Study, 2011.

 

Toronto’s Board of Health has adopted a strategy to address the impacts on our health from a changing climate:

  • In June 2015, Toronto Public Health published a report outlining climate change concerns and health impacts.
    • According to the report, for example, climate change affects water quality and availability. Recommended actions include continuous monitoring and disclosure of beach water quality and examining the potential impact of climate change on water-borne diseases.[53]
  • The climate change and health strategy, which includes recommendations to increase understanding and reduce, monitor, and prevent health impacts, was adopted by the Board of Health.[54]

 

GTA Homeowners are being advised how to deal with a “tremendous” increase in the rat population:

  • A pest control company reports that it has seen a 30% increase in calls for rats over 2015, and says warmer weather and milder winters are contributing factors.
  • The company suggests inspecting homes for gaps, leaving 12-18 inches of space between homes and vegetation, and removing debris from around homes.[55]

 

How do Toronto’s green spaces contribute to residents’ wellbeing?

Living in areas with more trees on the street is associated with decreased cardio-metabolic conditions and better perceived health:

  • A 2015 study involving researchers from Toronto’s Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences, The David Suzuki Foundation, and the University of Toronto examined the relationship between street trees (based on the Street Tree General Data and Forest and Land Cover datasets) and perceptions of health and wellbeing (based on data from the Ontario Health Study) in terms of cardio-metabolic conditions (hyper-tension, high blood glucose, obesity, stroke, diabetes, heart disease, and high cholesterol).
  • The authors did not include urban grass or bushes, and distinguished street trees from those in parks or backyards, as street trees are considered more accessible.
  • Controlling for other variables such as age, income, and education, an increase of about 10 street trees per city block was associated with an increase in perceived health equal to being seven years younger or having annual household income increase by $10,000 (and living in an area with a median income $10,000 higher).
  • An average increase of approximately 11 trees per block was associated with a decrease in cardio metabolic conditions equal to being 1.4 years younger or earning $20,000 more a year (and living in an area with a median income that is $20,000 higher).[56]

 

projectingOur urban forest is particularly vulnerable to pests, as over half of it (54%) comprises just four species (ash, maple, cedar, and buckthorn)[57]:

  • According to Parks, Forestry and Recreation, over the next five years the emerald ash borer is expected to destroy 860,000 ash trees—8.4% of all trees in Toronto.[58]
  • In 2015, Toronto Public Health had found four locations harbouring the blacklegged ticks that are associated with Lyme disease, and it expects populations to grow with climate change.[59]

 

A 2016 report from the Green Infrastructure Ontario Coalition, a collaboration between 17 municipal and regional partners with the goal of preserving urban forests in the GTA, calls these challenges—urban development, invasive species, storms, and climate change—a “growing crisis.”

  • The report places a value on benefits of the GTA’s urban forest: its improvement of air quality and energy savings (by providing cooling and shade) are worth $36.5m and $20m annually respectively, and the value of the carbon it currently stores is $70m.
  • The coalition has issued a call to action to protect and maintain Southern Ontario’s urban forests, with four priorities: funding from all levels of government, coordinated action on a provincial scale, support for municipalities in managing their urban forests, and research and knowledge sharing.[60]

 


 

To learn more about innovative community-based organizations and programs working to address issues relating to health and wellness, check out ckc.torontofoundation.ca.

 

 


 

[1] City of Toronto. (n.d.). Welcome to TransformTO: Climate Action for a Healthy, Equitable, and Prosperous Toronto. Last accessed September 2, 2016 from https://www1.toronto.ca/City%20Of%20Toronto/Environment%20and%20Energy/Climate%20and%20Energy%20Goals/Transform%20TO/PDFs/TransformTO_ConversationKit_FINAL.pdf

[2] City of Toronto. (December 17, 2015). Toronto’s 2013 Greenhouse Gas Inventory. Last accessed September 2, 2016 from http://www.toronto.ca/legdocs/mmis/2016/pe/bgrd/backgroundfile-87697.pdf.

[3] City of Toronto. (December 17, 2015). Toronto’s 2013 Greenhouse Gas Inventory. Last accessed September 2, 2016 from http://www.toronto.ca/legdocs/mmis/2016/pe/bgrd/backgroundfile-87697.pdf.

[4] Toronto Atmospheric Fund. (January 2016). New GHG report shows bold action is needed to meet Toronto’s targets. Last accessed July 5, 2016 from http://taf.ca/new-ghg-report-shows-bold-action-is-needed-to-meet-torontos-targets/

[5] City of Toronto. (December 17, 2015). Toronto’s 2013 Greenhouse Gas Inventory. Last accessed September 2, 2016 from http://www.toronto.ca/legdocs/mmis/2016/pe/bgrd/backgroundfile-87697.pdf.

[6] World Council on City Data: WCCD Open City Data Portal. (2015). Last accessed August 27, 2016, from http://open.dataforcities.org/. Visit this portal to find further data on this and other subjects for these and other cities.

[7] World Council on City Data: WCCD Open City Data Portal. (2015). Last accessed August 27, 2016, from http://open.dataforcities.org/. Visit this portal to find further data on this and other subjects for these and other cities.

[8] Special request from Community Foundations of Canada, Toronto Foundation’s national research partner. (2016). NVS Table VIII-2-b: Green Buildings Certified LEED in Vital Signs Communities.

[9] Lamberink, L. Biogas company aims to heat homes with the power of panda poop (April 19, 2016). CityNews. Last accessed July 14, 2016 from: http://www.citynews.ca/2016/04/19/biogas-company-aims-to-heat-homes-with-the-power-of-panda-poop/

[10] City of Toronto. (n.d.). Garbage and Recycling. [webpage]. Last accessed September 2, 2016 from http://www1.toronto.ca/wps/portal/contentonly?vgnextoid=df6004c9d4c25510VgnVCM10000071d60f89RCRD

[11] Toronto Environmental Alliance. (2012). Leaping to 80: A Plan for City Hall to Help Torontonians Divert More Waste. Last accessed September 30, 2015 from http://d3n8a8pro7vhmx.cloudfront.net/toenviro/legacy_url/311/TEA_20Leaping_20to_2080_20FINAL.pdf?1419017707.

[12] City of Toronto. (n.d.). Garbage and Recycling. [webpage]. Last accessed September 2, 2016 from http://www1.toronto.ca/wps/portal/contentonly?vgnextoid=df6004c9d4c25510VgnVCM10000071d60f89RCRD

[13] City of Toronto. Toronto’s Dashboard. Last accessed September 2, 2016 from http://www1.toronto.ca/wps/portal/contentonly?vgnextoid=9792de0096180510VgnVCM10000071d60f89RCRD&WT.rd_id=progressportal (Navigating to “Revenue”, “Revenue from Sale of Recycled Maerials”)

[14] City of Toronto. April 1, 2015. Staff Report: Expansion of Acceptable Plastic Film Materials to the Blue Bin Recycling Program. Last accessed September 2, 2016 from http://www.toronto.ca/legdocs/mmis/2015/pw/bgrd/backgroundfile-77928.pdf.

[15] Shane E., Agro C. (2016, April 22). Toronto high-rises get low scores on recycling, environmental group says. CBC News. Last accessed May 10, 2016 from: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/toronto-recycling-environmental-alliance-1.3549196.

[16] City of Toronto, Toronto Public Health. (2014). Path to Healthier Air: Toronto Air Pollution Burden of Illness Update. Last accessed June 12, 2015, from http://www1.toronto.ca/City%20Of%20Toronto/Toronto%20Public%20Health/Healthy%20Public%20Policy/Report%20Library/PDF%20Reports%20Repository/2014%20Air%20Pollution%20Burden%20of%20Illness%20Tech%20RPT%20final.pdf.

[17] Government of Canada, Statistics Canada. CANSIM Table 105-0501. Health indicator profile, annual estimates, by age group and sex, Canada, provinces, territories, health regions (2013 boundaries) and peer group. Geography limited to “City of Toronto Health Unit, Ontario [3595-G],” and Indicators limited to “Percent.” Last accessed July 31, 2015 from http://www5.statcan.gc.ca/cansim/a26?lang=eng&retrLang=eng&id=1050501&pattern=&csid=.

[18] City of Toronto. (2015). 2015 Water and Wastewater Rates and Service Fees. Last accessed September 22, 2015 from http://www.toronto.ca/legdocs/mmis/2015/bu/bgrd/backgroundfile-76459.pdf.

[19] City of Toronto. (2015). Water Consumption Report for July 20, 2015. Last accessed September 23, 2015 from http://www.toronto.ca/water/consumption/report.htm.

[20] City of Toronto, Toronto Water. (2014). Water Production Reports. Last accessed on September 5, 2014 from http://www.toronto.ca/water/consumption/report.htm.

[21] City of Toronto. (November 5, 2015). News Release: City of Toronto working on a Tree Planting Strategy. Last accessed April 18, 2016 from http://www1.toronto.ca/wps/portal/contentonly?vgnextoid=af71df79b2df6410VgnVCM10000071d60f89RCRD&nrkey=4A0E3F109FD5B3E785257EF40062D98C

[22] The Globe and Mail. http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/toronto/will-torontos-ambitious-push-to-grow-its-urban-canopy-pay-off/article19976197/.

[23] World Council on City Data: WCCD Open City Data Portal. (2015). Last accessed August 27, 2016, from http://open.dataforcities.org/. Visit this portal to find further data on this and other subjects for these and other cities.

[24] World Council on City Data: WCCD Open City Data Portal. (2015). Last accessed August 27, 2016, from http://open.dataforcities.org/. Visit this portal to find further data on this and other subjects for these and other cities.

[25] City of Toronto. (n.d.). Toronto Ravine Strategy. Last accessed July 8, 2016 from http://www1.toronto.ca/wps/portal/contentonly?vgnextoid=91be0ba80120d410VgnVCM10000071d60f89RCRD&vgnextchannel=470bdada600f0410VgnVCM10000071d60f89RCRD

[26] City of Toronto. (June 25, 2016). Ravine Strategy Open House Presentation. Last accessed July 8, 2016 from https://www1.toronto.ca/City%20Of%20Toronto/Parks%20Forestry%20&%20Recreation/03Trees%20and%20Ravines/Files/pdf/R/Ravine_Strategy_presentation_AODA4.pdf.

[27] Bozikovic, A. A superpark hides in Toronto’s Don Valley, waiting to be discovered (April 15, 2016). Last accessed July 14, 2016 from http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/toronto/a-superpark-hides-in-torontos-don-valley-waiting-to-be-discovered/article29648565/.

[28] Bozikovic, A. A superpark hides in Toronto’s Don Valley, waiting to be discovered (April 15, 2016). Last accessed July 14, 2016 from http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/toronto/a-superpark-hides-in-torontos-don-valley-waiting-to-be-discovered/article29648565/.

[29] Greater Toronto Airports Authority. (December, 2009). Greenhouse Gases Policy. Last accessed February 8, 2016 from http://torontopearson.com/uploadedFiles/Pearson/Content/About_Pearson/Environment/Greenhouse%20Gas%20Policy%202009.pdf

[30] Greater Toronto Airports Authority. (2014). GTAA Annual Report 2014. Last accessed http://www.torontopearson.com/uploadedFiles/GTAA/Content/Publications/GTAA_2014_Annual_Report.pdf

[31] Greater Toronto Airports Authority. (2014). GTAA Annual Report 2014. Last accessed http://www.torontopearson.com/uploadedFiles/GTAA/Content/Publications/GTAA_2014_Annual_Report.pdf

[32] Robinson, Michael. (December 2, 2015). Pearson airport sees greenhouse gas emissions drop almost by half. Toronto Star. Last accessed February 8, 2016 from http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2015/12/02/pearson-airport-halves-its-greenhouse-gas-emissions.html

[33] Greater Toronto Airports Authority. (2012). Environmental Responsibility. Support Systems: GTAA Corporate Responsibility Report 2012, 12-21. Last accessed February 8, 2016 from http://torontopearson.com/uploadedFiles/GTAA/Content/Publications/GTAA_CSR_2012.pdf

[34] Airport Carbon Accreditation. (October 6 2015). Toronto Pearson International Airport has become accredited at Level 2 Reduction. Last accessed April 13, 2016 from http://airportcarbonaccredited.org/news.html

[35] Robinson, Michael. (December 2, 2015). Pearson airport sees greenhouse gas emissions drop almost by half. Toronto Star. Last accessed February 8, 2016 from http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2015/12/02/pearson-airport-halves-its-greenhouse-gas-emissions.html

[36] Mayor’s Task Force on Toronto Community Housing. (January 26, 2016). Final Report Transformative Change for TCHC. City of Toronto. Last accessed March 14,2016 from http://www1.toronto.ca/City%20Of%20Toronto/Strategic%20Communications/Mayor’s%20Task%20Force%20on%20Toronto%20Community%20Housing/Article/Task%20Force%20FINAL.pdf

[37] Cross, Chloe. (December 2, 2015). Lake Ontario Waterkeeper. Yay! Water quality reporting on Lake Ontario improved in 2015. Last accessed April 18, 2016 from http://www.waterkeeper.ca/blog/2015/12/2/yay-water-quality-reporting-on-lake-ontario-improved-in-2015?utm_source=Lake+Ontario+Waterkeeper&utm_campaign=927f0781f6-LOWaterkeeper_November_12_2015&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_0114e8b68b-927f0781f6-356785497

[38] City of Toronto. (2016, June 3). Eight of Toronto’s beaches meet the highest criteria for excellence. Last accessed from City of Toronto: http://www1.toronto.ca/wps/portal/contentonly?vgnextoid=af71df79b2df6410VgnVCM10000071d60f89RCRD&nrkey=B6AFE1F60BC4DB4F85257FC70071A20B

[39] Cross, Chloe. (December 2, 2015). Lake Ontario Waterkeeper. Yay! Water quality reporting on Lake Ontario improved in 2015. Last accessed April 18, 2016 from http://www.waterkeeper.ca/blog/2015/12/2/yay-water-quality-reporting-on-lake-ontario-improved-in-2015?utm_source=Lake+Ontario+Waterkeeper&utm_campaign=927f0781f6-LOWaterkeeper_November_12_2015&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_0114e8b68b-927f0781f6-356785497

[40] Government of Canada. Order Adding a Toxic Substance to Schedule 1 to the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999. Vol. 150, No. 13. (June 29, 2016). Canada Gazette. Last accessed August 28, 2016 from http://www.gazette.gc.ca/rp-pr/p2/2016/2016-06-29/html/sor-dors150-eng.php.

[41] Jordan Press. (June 30, 2016). Microbeads labelled as ‘toxic substance’ in step towards ban. Toronto Star. Last accessed August 29, 2016 from https://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2015/07/31/canadian-government-moves-to-ban-microbeads.html.

[42] City of Toronto. (June 23, 2016). New Toronto mural transforms the corner of Bloor Street West and Howland Avenue. Last accessed June 30,2016 from: http://www1.toronto.ca/wps/portal/contentonly?vgnextoid=af71df79b2df6410VgnVCM10000071d60f89RCRD&nrkey=61B2EE83B5A82BF385257FDB00604610

[43] Roberts, J., David Suzuki Foundation. Saving the Monarch Butterfly (April 16, 2016). The Toronto Star. Last accessed July 14, 2016 from http://www.thestar.com/opinion/commentary/2016/04/16/saving-the-monarch-butterfly.html.

[44] City of Toronto. (n.d.). Statistics on Extreme Cold Weather Alerts in Toronto. Last accessed September 2, 2016 from http://www1.toronto.ca/wps/portal/contentonly?vgnextoid=0b1ed4b4920c0410VgnVCM10000071d60f89RCRD

[45] City of Toronto. (2015). Extreme Cold Weather Alerts. Last accessed September 25, 2015 from http://www1.toronto.ca/wps/portal/contentonly?vgnextoid=f187fec7e1aa9410VgnVCM10000071d60f89RCRD.

[46] City of Toronto. (2015). Heat Stats. Last accessed September 25, 2015 from http://app.toronto.ca/tpha/heatStats.html.

[47] Cameron Axford. February 3, 2016. Toronto breaks February warm weather record as city gets early taste of springtime temperatures. Last accessed May 10 2016 from http://news.nationalpost.com/news/canada/toronto-breaks-warm-weather-record-as-city-gets-early-taste-of-springtime-temperatures

[48] Jake Edmiston. (December 24, 2015). Toronto gets hottest Christmas Eve in at least 175 years as temperatures near 16 C. Last accessed May 10, 2016 from http://news.nationalpost.com/news/canada/toronto-gets-hottest-christmas-eve-in-175-years-as-temperatures-near-16-c

[49] Toronto Hydro Corporation. (2016). Toronto Hydro’s hacks for surviving a power outage. Last accessed May 10,2016 from: http://www.newsroom.torontohydro.com/2016-05-02-Toronto-Hydros-hacks-for-surviving-a-power-outage

[50] City of Toronto. (June 16, 2016). City of Toronto launches extreme weather web portal, encourages residents to prepare [news release]. Last accessed June 16, 2016 from http://www1.toronto.ca/wps/portal/contentonly?vgnextoid=af71df79b2df6410VgnVCM10000071d60f89RCRD&nrkey=C217EC2D83C2964A85257FD4004DD33A

[51] City of Toronto. (2011). Toronto’s Future Weather and Climate Driver Study. Last accessed: http://www1.toronto.ca/wps/portal/contentonly?vgnextoid=b8170744ee0e1410VgnVCM10000071d60f89RCRD&vgnextchannel=44a0e211597a1410VgnVCM10000071d60f89RCRD.

[52] City of Toronto. (2011). Toronto’s Future Weather and Climate Driver Study. Last accessed: http://www1.toronto.ca/wps/portal/contentonly?vgnextoid=b8170744ee0e1410VgnVCM10000071d60f89RCRD&vgnextchannel=44a0e211597a1410VgnVCM10000071d60f89RCRD.

[53] A Climate of Concern: Climate Change and Health Strategy for Toronto 2015 http://www.toronto.ca/legdocs/mmis/2015/hl/bgrd/backgroundfile-81509.pdf

[54] http://app.toronto.ca/tmmis/viewAgendaItemHistory.do?item=2015.HL5.4

[55] GTA rat population sees ‘tremendous’ increase. (2016, June 10). CityNews.Last accessed July 7, 2016 from http://www.citynews.ca/2016/06/10/gta-rat-population-sees-tremendous-increase/

[56] Kardan, Omid, Gozdyra, Peter, Misic, Bratislav., Moola, Faisai, Palmer, Lyle.J., Paus, Tomáš Paus, and Berman, Marc.G. (2015). Neighborhood greenspace and health in a large urban centre. Scientific Reports, doi:10.1038/srep11610. Last accessed April 13, 2016 from http://www.nature.com/articles/srep11610.pdf

[57] Green Infrastructure Ontario Coalition. (2016). State of the Urban Forest in the Greater Toronto Area. Last accessed June 6, 2016 from: http://www.greeninfrastructureontario.org/sites/greeninfrastructureontario.org/files/GTA_Urban_Forest_Summary.pdf

[58] McKeown, David. (September 4, 2015). Green City: Why Nature Matters to Health. City of Toronto: Board of Health. Last accessed February 22, 2016 from http://www.toronto.ca/legdocs/mmis/2015/hl/bgrd/backgroundfile-83420.pdf

[59] Toronto Public Health (2016). 2015 Annual Report: A Healthy City for All. Last accessed June 1, 2016 from www.toronto.ca/legdocs/mmis/2016/hl/bgrd/backgroundfile-92057.pdf

[60] Green Infrastructure Ontario Coalition. (2016). State of the Urban Forest in the Greater Toronto Area. Last accessed June 6, 2016 from: http://www.greeninfrastructureontario.org/sites/greeninfrastructureontario.org/files/GTA_Urban_Forest_Summary.pdf