Natural Garden Exemptions – Have Your Say!

When Nina-Marie Lister’s garden blew up the media in 2020, many TFNers shook their heads in dismay. The City of Toronto had just spent years drafting and passing its official Pollinator, Ravine, and Biodiversity Strategies, and yet Toronto Municipal Code Chapter 489, an antiquated bylaw meant to wag a scolding finger at those Torontonians who permitted “grass and weeds” to grow higher than a 1950s crew-cut, was still on the books and being enforced. And it still is today. As hard as it may be to imagine, you actually need a special permit to have native plants over 20cm in height grow in your yard.

Maybe that can change.

The City is currently seeking feedback on its Natural Garden Exemption process. You have until 11.59 p.m. on March 31, 2021, to email and tell the City to remove the natural garden permit requirement and let Torontonians grow a “natural garden” without applying for an exemption.

Learn More and Act Now!

Toronto Field Naturalists wishes to acknowledge this Land through which we walk. For thousands of years, the Land has been shared by the Wendat, the Haudenosaunee, and the Anishinaabe. Toronto is situated on the Land within the Toronto Purchase, Treaty 13, the traditional and treaty Lands of the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation. This territory is also part of the Dish with One Spoon Wampum, a covenant agreement between Anishinaabeg, Haudenosaunee, Wendat peoples and allied nations to peaceably share the land and all its resources. Today, the Land is home to peoples of numerous nations. We are all grateful to have the opportunity to continue to care for and share the beauty of this Land.