Community Environmental Initiatives

Great Parks

Great Parks Make Great Neighbourhoods! 

Well-kept parks and public green spaces boost urban economies. They create a positive impression for visitors and make cities more appealing to tourists. Parks also attract and retain residents and the businesses that employ them. Parks are a place for children to laugh and play; families to walk and bike; and a place for a community to come together.

Parks play a significant role in making Hamilton the best place to raise a child. Parks are part of the “green infrastructure” that improves our local environment and ensures its sustainability. Volunteers from service clubs, schools, businesses, and neighbourhoods put countless hours into keeping their neighbourhood park clean and green.

Great Parks Report 

The Great Parks Report showcases the hard work and efforts of our volunteers over the course of an entire year. Our Adopt-a-Park (AAP) program continues to grow. We completed three Extreme Park Makeovers, opened a new dog park, and continued with Park Appreciation Days (part of Recreation & Parks Month). Our community parks look better than ever

Park Appeciatrion Days

In June 2014, the City of Hamilton participated in Recreation and Parks Month alongside other Ontario communities. This program, run by the non-profit association Parks and Recreation Ontario, seeks to promote the social and environmental benefits of recreational activities and parks. The City of Hamilton participated as an Ambassador, celebrating Recreation and Parks month because great parks make great neighbourhoods! With the support of local partners, the City of Hamilton celebrated Recreation and Parks Month through a variety of initiatives.

Local community groups participated in Park Appreciation Days by hosting one-day clean-up and beautification events at adopted parks. These Adopt-a-Park groups cleaned up litter, removed graffiti, weeded flower beds, and applied mulch within beds and around trees. Parks in the City of Hamilton are looking better than ever thanks to these volunteer groups! In 2014, a total of 54 City parks were adopted by local community groups.

June Park Appreciation Days 2012 2013 2014
Number of Park Appreciation Days 33 33 26
Number of Community Clean Trailer Requests 26 31 24
Number of Volunteers 690 714 549
Number of Volunteer Hours 3109 3380 2698
Number of Garbage Bags Collected 243 257 235
Number of Recycling Bags Collected 63 91 90
Number of Yard Waste Bags Collected 305 322 190
Number of Graffiti Tags/Sites Removed 275 231 76
Yards of Woodchips Used 61 52 42

Totals do not include Extreme Park Makeover results

Extreme Park Makeover

The Extreme Park Makeover promotes community involvement, attracts private donations, leverages municipal funds, and empowers neighbourhoods to take ownership of their local parks. When the Makeovers are complete, we celebrate with everyone who helped make the improvements possible. In 2014 we participated in three Extreme Park Makeovers, two of which were completed in June during Recreation & Parks Month. There were challenges, and each one was unique, but with the help of volunteers and partners – all three Extreme Park Makeovers were huge successes!


Extreme Park Makeover - Belview Park
Extreme Park Makeover - Belview Park
Extreme Park Makeover - Belview Park 

Students from Holy Name of Jesus School and community volunteers participated in this one day makeover of Belview Park. Students from the school were very engaged in the planning of this makeover. The theme for the Extreme Park Makeover was Super-Here-O’s.

Students, staff and volunteers joined in helping to refresh this park. A large mural was added to the fence and the utility building as a graffiti prevention strategy. The park features new trees, benches, enhanced walkways and a splash pad. Several butterfly gardens were added, and an outdoor classroom was created by students from Cathedral High School.

The play structure was painted and new “Dino” spring equipment was added to the existing play structure. To aid in the enhancement of literacy a community member constructed an outdoor library box that was placed near the new seating area.

The highlights were the Super-Here-O’s created by the students. Large wood cut-outs of each character were painted and attached to the chain link fence. The Super-Here-O’s included:

  • Stretch Monkey is skilled at overcoming challenges and crossing unknown spaces. With the virtue of determination Stretch Monkey can defeat even the laws of gravity.
  • Thing No Thing represents simultaneously ‘something and nothing’ and reminds us of the perfect beauty of what is right now. As a court-jester, Thing No Thing plays a powerful role on the playground though is never fully seen.
  • Slider the Penguin is the gracefully grounded Super-Here-O who teaches us that patience is a means of trusting yourself with the faith that you will get where you are going if you can be where you are.
  • Grasshopper-Stopper moves, plays, runs and relaxes in the grass of the playground. With the ability to be both low in the grass and high in the sky, Grasshopper represents the importance of going fast and slowing down.
  • Airclasher is a motivator and supporter of inspiration. Airclasher helps give you that initial blast off to really get started on fulfilling your dreams.
  • Matrix is a puzzling geodesic space that teaches the virtues of honesty and fairness. Sometimes within the matrix, and sometimes outside it, this Super-Here-O teaches us that logic and creativity go hand in hand.
  • Tartaris the Tortoise teaches playful respect on the black-top of the playground. Tartaris’ hard shell is used to run and play on, providing a solid foundation, while the soft belly underneath represents the nature of play as connected to spirit. 
Extreme Park Makeover - Pinky Lewis/ Cathy Wever
Extreme Park Makeover - Pinky Lewis/ Cathy Wever 
Extreme Park Makeover - Pinky Lewis/ Cathy Wever

The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company awarded the City of Hamilton a national grant focused on improving cities through the development of community gardens and green spaces. The 2014 GRO1000 Gardens and Green Spaces Grant helped to build an outdoor classroom, teaching garden and garden/nature areas at the Norman Pinky Lewis Parkette and Cathy Wever School. The project featured raised beds and container gardens, compost bins, barrels for rain water harvesting, an outdoor classroom, butterfly gardens and reading/music space.

The City of Hamilton received the award in collaboration with the Rotary Club of Hamilton, Wever CORE and the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board.

“This grant allows us to build more gardens and green space at Cathy Wever School and Norman Pinky Lewis Parkette which aligns with the City’s goals of being a cleaner and greener city,” said Alex Moroz, Community Liaison Coordinator with the City of Hamilton. “The project will teach children and families gardening practices and the importance of nutrition, while providing access to fresh, local produce and green space in a beautiful natural setting. We are very thankful to Scotts Miracle-Gro and their partners for this support."

“We are thrilled to be working with the City of Hamilton as our latest GRO1000 partner,” said Karen Stephenson, Director, Regulatory Affairs and Stakeholder Relations for Scotts Canada. “It is our hope that development of this space will give the community an opportunity to come together and offer local young people somewhere to play and learn.”

In 2014, more than 150 grants have been awarded throughout the world. Scotts Canada Ltd. – a subsidiary of Scotts Miracle-Gro Company – has partnered with Communities in Bloom, Plant a Row – Grow a Row and the Nutrients for Life Foundation with the aim of bringing together national and local groups to collectively advocate for and demonstrate the benefits of gardening and green space development.

GRO1000; a community outreach initiative that Scotts Canada launched in 2011, will result in the creation of 1,000 community gardens and green spaces by 2018 – the company’s 150th anniversary. 

The winning cities were chosen from a competitive field of applicants and were selected based on their desire to create new, innovative greenscapes while recognizing a commitment to urban renewal and beautification.

The Hamilton project engaged volunteers from the Gibson and Landsdale Neighbourhood Association (GLNA), Wever CORE, members of the Rotary Club of Hamilton, Team Orange from ArcelorMittal Dofasco and children and families of Cathy Wever School.

This exciting project created a rejuvenated parkette with benches and murals, a new Show Case Garden Area, a pumpkin patch for the daycare children and two outdoor classrooms with teaching gardens. In addition, there were many beautification projects in front of the school and recreation centre. Over 700 people participated in this one day Makeover. A community BBQ was held to celebrate the success of the project.

Extreme Park Makeover - Powell Park
Extreme Park Makeover - Powell Park
Extreme Park Makeover - Powell Park

Filming for the TV show “GIVER” (Season 3) on TVO took place at Hamilton’s Powell Park in September 2014. The inner city park was selected by Sinking Ship Entertainment to receive a facelift. The series engages children aged seven to thirteen who work together with their community to reclaim and enhance their playground spaces. They have just three days to revitalize their park.

Alongside a group of 200+ volunteers, TV crew members and City of Hamilton staff, six local kids helped to design a new playground for their park. The children envisioned a hammertown theme and thus created a play structure representative of the theme. In addition to the new play structure, revitalization of the park included new trees, an enhanced shrub bed area, a freshly painted basketball court, new muskoka chairs around the pool and an art mural on the storage building. 

Powell Park is utilized by children, adults and families from the Gibson & Landsdale neighbourhoods. This project provided an opportunity to implement a much needed improvement to this inner city park. Graffiti and litter was removed; shrub beds planted and mulched and new trees and amenities were all incorporated as part of the Extreme Park Makeover.

The engagement of children, youth and community members has had a significant impact in our parks. The addition of amenities, trees, and beautification projects along with the reduction of vandalism, litter and graffiti have helped to create great parks…and great parks make great neighbourhoods. Thank you to all the volunteers, partners and sponsors who helped make the Extreme Park Makeover Program a huge success. The results are amazing!

Extreme Park Makeover Results Belview Pinky Lewis Powell
Number of Volunteers 545 762 369
Number of Volunteer Hours 5815 6678 4797
Number of Garbage Bags Collected 43 23 25
Number of Recycling Bags Collected 26 12 16
Number of Yard Waste Bags Collected 21 16 25
Number of Graffiti Tags/Sites Removed 102 42 40
Number of Trees/Shrubs Installed  69 157 189
Yards of Woodchips Used 47 76 12


Great Parks Report - Adopt a Park
Adopt a Park - Wever Harvest Celebration
Great Parks Report - Great Neighbourhoods

The concept of a group of individuals coming together to become the caretakers of their park is what defines an Adopt-a-Park group. Adopt-a-Park groups consist of volunteers from businesses, service groups, schools and neighbourhood associations. These groups help to maintain their park by undertaking litter clean-ups, planting and weeding gardens, and reporting vandalism and graffiti. Some groups hold community barbecues and events in their parks to encourage community engagement. Working with City staff, these volunteers help to improve park amenities and create clean and safe parks.


TB McQuesten – Earth Day Planting

As part of the Earth Day celebrations, the City of Hamilton partnered with Earth Day Hamilton for their 7th annual Earth Day walk/run/clean-up and tree planting. After the walk/run, volunteers began the ‘greening’ of the park and neighbourhood by planting 450 trees and performing a clean-up along the trail. The Tim Horton’s Earth Day event was a huge success.

Cathedral Dog Park

Opening In August, the City of Hamilton officially opened it’s newest Dog Park at Cathedral Park. The event featured vendors, an official ribbon cutting, a specially created cake and treats for dogs and their owners.

Wever Harvest Celebration

The Wever Harvest Celebration at the Norman Pinky Lewis Parkette and Cathy Wever School recognized the added bounty received as a result of the 2014 GRO1000 Gardens and Green Spaces Grant from The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company. The national gardening grant provided the funds to build an outdoor classroom, teaching garden and garden/nature areas featuring raised beds, container and butterfly gardens and reading/music space, benefiting both the students of Cathy Wever School and the surrounding community.

The Wever Harvest Celebration ceremony held on Thursday, September 11 included the presentation of a National Gardening Award alongside recognition of school grounds’ transformation. Two students were awarded for their contribution to the community’s greening transformation. Adding to the festivities were harvest soup samplings and a special farmer’s market where the community members were given free, locally-grown vegetables.