Healthy CommunitiesYMCA Green Team

YMCA GTA named Top Greenest Employer

22 April 2016 - by YMCA of Greater Toronto
Canada's Greenest Top Employer 2016 LogoToday is Earth Day and we are excited to announce the YMCA of Greater Toronto has been selected as one of Canada’s Greenest Employers! This is the sixth year in a row we’ve received this prestigious award.

This designation lists Canadian employers that have:

  • Developed unique environmental initiatives and programs

  • Been successful in reducing their environmental footprint

  • Engaged employees to contribute their unique skills towards environmental initiatives

The YMCA is passionate about all things green, and about engaging volunteers, employees, partners and everyone to share in our commitment to greening the Y and our communities! From infrastructure to programs and initiatives, for years the Y has been focused on increasing environmental awareness in our communities.

The Y’s commitment to environmental sustainability

The YMCA’s Vice President, Property Management, Alex Versluis describes why sustainability is so important for the Y.
It all comes down to the fact that the YMCA is about improving the health of people in our communities. The air we breathe, the land we stand on, the food we ingest –it all contributes to our overall health. As we seek to support people through their life transitions (especially children, teens and young adults), we look for ways to improve their health and recognize that environmental sustainability is a huge part of that.”

Lately there have been many new and exciting environmental initiatives on the go – here are a couple highlights:

YMCA to house Toronto’s largest green roof

Located at the corner of Front and Cherry Street and built to LEED Gold (leadership in environmental energy design), the new Cooper Koo Family Cherry St. YMCA opens May 30! One of the features of the new facility will be a green roof – at 30,000 square feet, this is expected to be Toronto’s largest green roof accessible to the entire community. The YMCA will house half of the green roof and the other half will reside on the neighbouring George Brown College building. The green roof was designed through a participatory community design process and constructed with the help of community volunteers. The final phase of construction is this summer. Read more about this new oasis in the city.

New greenhouse at YMCA Cedar Glen

The YMCA recently finished building a greenhouse at its Cedar Glen Outdoor Centre. The greenhouse rests on the camp’s 1.5 acre organic farm which supplies the Camp and farm stands with fresh vegetables.

The green house was built on the farm with excess wood material from a local lumberyard and the walls are made from repurposed squash court glass.  The greenhouse construction was a collaborative project by YMCA volunteers and employees.
The new greenhouse not only supports the operation of YMCA Cedar Glen’s Organic Farm and Community Supported Agricultural Harvest Share Program, it also lends educational value to the hands on learning receiving during Cedar Glen’s farm camp in the summer,” explains Brandon McClounie, General Manager Cedar Glen.

“Much of the produce started in the greenhouse and harvested from Cedar Glen’s organic farm is incorporated into our menus and served through our kitchen to our guests and campers. Currently the greenhouse is growing 5,000 onions, 1,200 leeks, 300 celery, 350 tomatoes, 500 eggplants, 100 peppers, 60 kale, 60 chard, 100 ground cherries, 50 sunberries, 16 broccoli and 225 cabbage.”

Being selected as one of Canada’s Greenest Employers provides us with feedback that against national standards, our programs are considered earth-friendly and progressive. The Y is committed to eco-friendly practices, environmental stewardship and sustainability to create the healthiest communities for present and future generations.


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