There are some folks that hide from birthdays. But today, there are celebrations all over Southern Ontario in recognition of one special birthday.
February 28th marks seven years since the Greenbelt Act was passed in Ontario and the day the Greater Golden Horseshoe was gifted with the largest and most diverse Greenbelt in the world.
The Greenbelt's kudos were kicked off by the City of Toronto and the Town of Ajax as they both proclaimed it Greenbelt Day in their municipalities. Toronto’s proclamation confirms its commitment to growing the Greenbelt along the Don and Humber rivers. Such an initiative will physically connect millions of Torontonians to the Greenbelt and provide an added layer of protection for these natural heritage areas that are connected to Lake Ontario.
At lunchtime, members of the Ontario Greenbelt Alliance, Environmental Defence and Toronto Environmental Alliance joined the Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation to congregate at Nathan Phillips Square in Toronto and enjoy a “picnic”. As the largest urban centre near the Greenbelt, Torontonians can be thankful for many of the services the Greenbelt provides including local food, clean water and millions of acres of recreational space. Greenbelt-grown apples were handed out to the public, councillors and City Hall staff. It may have been a bit cold outside but the reception was anything but. People love the Greenbelt and healthy, local food.
That’s not all. Today, the Ontario Greenbelt Alliance website has gotten a fresh new look in honour of seven plus years of advocating and safeguarding the Ontario Greenbelt. The site is easier to navigate and features new educational tools, along with new ways to stay abreast of things happening in the Greenbelt.
And finally, tomorrow marks the start of a special new Greenbelt feature at the Royal Ontario Museum in the Schad Gallery of Biodiversity. Hosted by the Ontario Greenbelt Alliance and Environmental Defence, the new space will feature fun, hands-on activities that highlight the important role people play in protecting biodiversity and agricultural lands from urban sprawl. It will be open each Wednesday in March and all of March break (March 10th to 18th) from 11am to 4pm.
So, join with me in saying “happy birthday” to one of Ontario’s most important resources. You’ve come a long way, Greenbelt, and you’re only going to get better.