Through the Years: Celebrating 30 Years of Partnership with Home Hardware

Tree Canada

This year marked 30 years of partnership between Tree Canada and a Canadian community staple, Home Hardware Stores Limited. To celebrate this amazing achievement, over thirty Home Hardware Dealer-Owners across the country participated in the Home Grown: 30 years of planting at Home campaign. In total, more than 1,140 volunteers helped plant over 2,640 trees in 31 cities in 2022!

From the very beginning of our partnership, Home Hardware has been committed to caring for the planet that our children will inherit. Since 1992, together we have planted and maintained over 32,799 trees across the country  in schoolyards, community parks and conservation areas, and in areas that require restoration following wildfires, tornados, and other weather-related events.

Join us in looking back at this special partnership and how we have helped to grow better places to live in communities across Canada!

1992 – the beginning

Our partnership began due to a mix-up with an order of seedlings. According to sources, a Home Hardware store had ordered some Green Tree Sleeves to mark a special occasion. Unfortunately, the seedlings didn’t survive as no one was notified that they had been delivered to the store. Tree Canada’s first President, Chuck Geale, negotiated an arrangement with the store assuming some responsibility for the miscommunication. Ray Gabel, a now retired Vice-President of Home Hardware, was so impressed that he sought to have a sponsorship relationship with Tree Canada. As the saying goes, the rest was history!

2003 – an ambitious community tree planting program

In 2003, Home Hardware and Tree Canada planted and maintained 1,516 trees and shrubs across 23 communities – representing the most ambitious community tree planting program to date since the partnership began!

One of these projects included a street beautification project in August of 2003, which saw 33 caliper sized trees planted along 50th St., in Drayton Valley, AB. The local newspaper, the Western Review, covered a small ceremony involving the Deputy Mayor, Kathy Resler and Home Hardware Manager Wayne Krick.

2006 – the first Maple Leaf Day

In September 2006, Home Hardware and Tree Canada established the first Maple Leaf Day, which aimed to provide Canadians with a special day to celebrate their national symbol and to consider the important role that trees play in our daily lives.

The town of Combermere, ON, hosted the flagship event for Maple Leaf Day as it had been the victim of a destructive tornado that August. Community leaders including the Mayor, Lions Club members, Tree Canada and Home Hardware employees were on hand for the ceremony. Two white pines were planted and mulched in a local park.

The event kicked-off a larger effort to raise funds to plant trees in the Town.

2011 – the first National Tree Day

“Maple Leaf Day” helped pave the way for the inaugural “National Tree Day” in 2011. A total of 23 Home Hardware locations participated in the first edition of this cross-Canada celebration of trees.

In Charlottetown, PEI, 10 native hardwoods (including red oak, white ash, eastern white cedar and American elm) were planted at the Queen Charlotte Intermediate School, with the help of 125 students, the Minister of the Environment, Richard Brown, Deputy Mayor Stu MacFadyen, Home Hardware staff and Bruce Smith, a Tree Canada Community Advisor.

2015 – Ultimate Award winner

In 2015, Home Hardware became the recipient of Tree Canada’s Ultimate Award, which acknowledges sponsors who have contributed over $1 million in funding since 1992. That year an additional 38 planting projects were organized (for a total of 1,807 trees and shrubs planted) with the help of Home Hardware stores across Canada.

In Wasaga Beach, ON, students from Worsley Elementary School joined local Home Hardware volunteers to plant fruit-bearing trees. Todd Young, Dealer-Owner of the Beach Builders Supplies Home Hardware Building Centre, had this to say about the partnership:

“One of my favourite parts of being involved in Home Hardware’s partnership with Tree Canada for over 10 years is getting to pass my passion for planting trees down to the younger generations, including my son. It has continued to be a passion of mine to work with youth to share this stewardship perspective and leave an indelible mark on our community for generations. In 2015, we planted 50 fruit-bearing trees at a local park – one of our biggest plants to date. We were inspired by the efforts of our local community garden that donates a lot of produce to the food bank and thought fresh fruit would be a great way to add to this donation.”

2020 – Operation ReLeaf – Nova Scotia

Following multiple hardships and devasting events, Tree Canada and Home Hardware were determined to focus their partnership for 2020 on Nova Scotia. Hurricane Dorian swept through the province in late 2019, downing powerlines and ripping up many established trees. The pandemic also caused economic hardships, and magnified tragedies that struck locally in Nova Scotia, but were felt nationally. Home Hardware donated $75,000 to Tree Canada’s Operation ReLeaf – Nova Scotia; a response targeting municipalities that suffered tree loss to Hurricane Dorian to assist in community rebuilding and healing.

2022 – celebrating 30 years with 30+ plantings

This year, the Home Grown: 30 years of planting at Home campaign helped support 31 tree planting projects across Canada. The fact that our 30-year partnership also coincides with Tree Canada’s 30-year anniversary makes this celebration that much more special.

Rhonda Porteous, a Home Hardware manager in Greenwood, NS, and a recipient of this year’s program, feels honoured to have been chosen to participate.

“This year we teamed up with the Greenwood Mall and planted five beautiful maple trees in a vacant lot right in the heart of our community to start a beautification project at that site,” says Rhonda. “The support during and after both of our events (our first plant was in 2019) has been wonderful; I’ve had many members of our community approach me to congratulate us on the beauty of our trees and just how great it is to do something positive for the environment!”


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