FROM THE MAYOR'S DESK: One Million Tree Challenge

I want to share with you a vision I have to protect and expand our city’s immense tree canopy.

It’s called the Million Tree Challenge.

What’s the challenge? Plant a million new trees in Winnipeg as our city’s population grows toward one million residents over the next 20 years.

That’s a million new trees as our population grows toward a million people. It’s an effort that would result in a net expansion and growth of our tree canopy, and an effort that goes beyond replacing existing trees lost to age, disease, or other impairments.

The Million Tree Challenge will challenge individual residents, not-for-profit agencies, as well as private businesses to help plant a million new trees in Winnipeg by:

The challenge is off to a great start!

On the occasion of their 100th anniversary, Canadian National (CN) has recognized the vision of the Million Tree Challenge and committed $1 million to Tree Canada to support tree planting efforts in Winnipeg.

Our tree canopy is a source of great pride for many Winnipeggers. From Kildonan Park in the north, to St. Vital Park in the south, to Assiniboine Park in the west, and to Stephen Juba Park in the Exchange, our parks, our boulevards, and so many neighbourhoods are known for their wonderful tree canopies.

But it’s under threat. The Emerald Ash Borer Beetle and Dutch Elm Disease, for example, are expected to decimate approximately two thirds of our city’s public tree canopy in the next century.

Since 2014, as a Council, we’ve invested over $10 million in replacing and planting trees in public places across the city. It’s not enough, unfortunately, to adequately protect as well as expand our urban forest for the future.

This should be a concern for all residents who call Winnipeg home. And it’s the unfortunate reality underscoring the critical importance of the Million Tree Challenge – not only do we need to replace the trees we’re losing, but we also need to work at expanding a city asset left in our care by generations past so it’s there for generations to come.

I look forward to building corporate as well as individual support to respond to the challenge of planting a million new trees in Winnipeg. It’s a long-term initiative, and I certainly realize its duration will outlive the time in office of the current Council.

But, but it’s my hope its results can be enjoyed by many generations to come.