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How an OTF Grant Planted the Seeds for an Accessible Rooftop Garden

Wednesday, July 7, 2021
Toronto, ON - In  2019, Community Head Injury Resource Services (CHIRS) received a $107,200 Capital grant from the Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF) to  build an accessible rooftop garden at its Finch Avenue West site. It was designed to create a space where CHIRS' clients and staff could get involved with urban farming and have fun while learning new skills. The project, which was delayed due to COVID-19, is now finished, and is giving the organization a safe outdoor space to re-engage with clients.

"Sincere congratulations to CHIRS in becoming a successful recipient of the 2019 OTF Capital grant and completing your highly anticipated garden project." said Stan Cho, MPP for Willowdale. "I know this new space will act as a peaceful gathering place for not only clients but staff to de-stress and enjoy the positive effects of gardening and the outdoors. This is an important step to ensuring those suffering with acquired brain injury are able to recover and build community relations in a safe and nurturing environment."

Funds from OTF's grant were used to help with the construction costs, laying paving stones and installing a fence and a greenhouse and purchasing gardening equipment.

"Over the past year, we've become increasingly aware of the importance of shared outdoor space when building strong and resilient communities," said John Filion, Toronto City Councillor. "I commend the efforts of the CHIRS team in completing their rooftop garden. I know it will be well used and enjoyed by residents in the building for years to come."

Gardening is known to increase social connections, reduce isolation, lower stress and reduce anxiety and thanks to the $107,200 grant from the Ontario Trillium Foundation, CHIRS has been able to convert a previously unused space into a place where people can connect with nature and the food they eat, even in the midst of Canada's largest city. The CHIRS' clients responsible for nurturing their fir st crop have had this to say

"Working on the garden gives me a sense of accomplishment and usefulness, watching the plants grow and put good food on people's plates," said David H.

"The rooftop garden is a nice place and brings a good feeling. The work feels nice and giving life and care to the plants feels important," said Hamid N.

CHIRS is committed to continuing to develop this space and ensuring that it remains accessible for itsclients and families for years to come. For more information, please visit:

The Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF) is an agency of the Government of Ontario, and one of Canada's leading granting foundations. OTF awarded $115 million to 644 projects last year to build healthy and vibrant communities in Ontario.


Media Contact:
Hedy Chandler Executive Director
Community Head Injury Resource Services (CHIRS)

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