Tree Canada was created in 1992 as “National Community Tree Foundation” and was originally funded by the Canadian Forest Service within Natural Resources Canada. It became known as “Tree Canada” in 2007, when it became fully corporate sponsored.
“Tree City Canada,” later known as “Green Streets Canada,” was the Tree Canada's flagship program, originally focused on outreach through public service announcements and climate change awareness. The first Canadian Urban Forest Conference was held in 1993 in Winnipeg, Manitoba. That year, Tree Canada released its first publication about carbon offsetting.
In 1995, the Eterne Award was established to recognize exemplary companies sponsoring Tree Canada. In 1997, the first ReLeaf program helped to replant trees lost from flooding in Saguenay, Quebec. Another program helped to re-tree municipalities affected by the 1998 Ice Storm. In the same year, the Greening Canada’s School Grounds program began.
By 2000, an urban forest diversification program had begun in Saskatchewan, a music CD called “Trees” was in production, and merchandise including Tree Seed Kits and Green Tree Sleeves were being sold.
In 2003, natural disasters struck across Canada – wildfires in B.C., Hurricane Juan in Nova Scotia, and outbreaks of Asian Long-horned Beetle and Emerald Ash Borer in Ontario. Tree Canada responded with replanting campaigns. The same year, the Canadian Urban Forest Network was founded with its secretariat at Tree Canada. Canadian Trees, Canada’s first tree and forest magazine, was launched, and the Monterey Inn of Ottawa became our first certified carbon neutral company through the Grow Clean Air program.
In 2005, Tree Canada developed a “Compendium of Best Management Practices for Canadian Urban Forests” and distributed PSAs nationwide, with the Mïstïk e-newsletter making its debut in 2006. B.C. Coast ReLeaf began later in the year.
By 2007, Tree Canada’s agreement with Natural Resources Canada expired and corporate sponsorship took over our funding, with large tree-planting and urban forestry projects sponsored by TD Bank, Shell Canada, BC Hydro, TransCanada, IKEA, and Home Hardware.
In the same year, Tree Canada released “Places of Green,” a documentary about trees and urban forests, which aired on Global TV and PBS. A “Tree Killers” website tracked invasive species across Canada. By the end of 2007, Tree Canada had celebrated its 15th year with a reception on Parliament Hill and its 75 millionth tree, planted in Ottawa. Lifford Wine Agency created a “plantatree™” wine, winning them the Eterne Award. Tree Canada won the Canadian Environment Award.
In 2008, Tree Canada was 100% funded by companies and organizations. It won the International Society of Aboriculture Award of Excellence, and several M.P.s signed on as carbon-neutral organizations. New sponsors came on board, including Loblaw, BergHOFF, Clairol, Canada Post, and Winners, and Tree Canada launched CITYgreen, Canada’s first urban forest modelling system.
The first international project for Tree Canada came in 2009 with “Building International Bridges for Forest Futures,” located in Armenia. Also in 2009, Tree Canada established a Carbon Protocol for its Grow Clean Air program. BC Fire ReLeaf was established.
In 2011, Tree Canada created a new award, the Ultimate, for outstanding sponsors. It was the first year for National Tree Day, now an annual celebration of trees scheduled the Wednesday of National Forest Week every September. Tree Canada also began supporting Alberta’s forests following pest infestations with the Alberta Mountain Pine Beetle ReLeaf program.
In 2012, Tree Canada celebrated its 20th anniversary during a gala at the 10th Canadian Urban Forest Conference in London, ON. We've planted over 78 million trees and continue to grow and inspire Canadians to plant, care for and maintain trees across the country.