(April 22, 2015 – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE)  Today, LEAF, in partnership with lead sponsor TD Friends of the Environment Foundation (TD FEF), along with Ontario Power Generation, and City of Toronto, is launching The Great Toronto Tree Hunt – a contest to find and share the greatest trees in our city! Toronto is home to over 10 million trees of various shapes, species, and sizes. Many have led fascinating lives and hold special places in our hearts. While the trees can’t share their stories, residents of Toronto can!

“The goal of this project is not only to have fun and celebrate the important trees in our lives, but also to send the message that Toronto values its trees – in all their diverse beauty”, says Janet McKay, Executive Director at LEAF.

Nominations will be accepted online between April 22 and May 31, 2015. Entries must include a quick snapshot or artistic photo of the tree along with a brief story, and can be submitted to one of five categories: beauty, uniqueness, survivor, size, or heritage potential.

“Growing up, I had a favourite tree in my schoolyard. My great grandfather, who also went to that school, planted the tree – a mighty oak. To this day, I still go back and visit ‘my tree’," said Mary Desjardins, Executive Director, TD FEF .  "I can't wait to see the entries from across Toronto that will celebrate the significance of our urban trees.”

The public will be able to view entries as they are posted and then vote for their favourite trees between June 1, 2015 and June 15, 2015. Winners will be determined through a combination of votes and judging and will be announced at a special ceremony on June 24, 2015. Five prizes of $250 each will be awarded to one winner in each category.

“OPG is committed to protecting Ontario’s environment and conserving biodiversity” says Ted Gruetzner, Vice President Corporate Relations and Communications at OPG. “The Great Toronto Tree Hunt is a wonderful way to recognize the important role trees play in the health and vibrancy of our communities.”

The contest is open to all permanent residents of Ontario who are of the age of majority at the time of entry.  Nominated trees must be located within the city of Toronto.

“This contest is great way to recognize and celebrate the beauty and diversity of Toronto's urban forest and show our appreciation for the countless benefits trees provide,” said Jason Doyle, Director of Urban Forestry at the City of Toronto. “I encourage all Torontonians to nominate a tree.”   

For full contest rules and details, visit yourleaf.org/treehunt.

Interviews available upon request.  

 CONTACTS:

Janet McKay
Executive Director, LEAF
416-413-9244 x17 (Office)
janet[at]yourleaf.org

Michelle Bourdeau
Program Manager, LEAF
416-413-9244 x13 (Office)
michelle[at]yourleaf.org

LEAF is a not-for-profit community organization dedicated to the protection and enhancement of the urban forest.  We engage residents through planting, education and stewardship programs.