Woodbine Cares Community Garden Reopens 

April 27, 2024

(From left to right) Jim Lawson (Executive Chair, Woodbine, Michael Copeland (CEO, Woodbine), Minister Michael Ford, Councilor Vincent Crisanti, Mayor Olivia Chow, Premier Doug Ford, Jockey Jason Hoyte, trainer Ted Holder (Michael Burns Photo)

Supporting the Local Community

Woodbine Release

TORONTO, Ont. – Woodbine Entertainment is excited to reintroduce the Woodbine Cares Community Garden, dedicated to fostering community engagement and providing support to the local area. Through this initiative, Woodbine aims to make a positive impact by offering fresh produce and cultivating a sense of togetherness.

Located on the grounds of Woodbine Racetrack in Rexdale, the Garden was created in 2016 to grow and donate fresh produce to community organizations to help combat food insecurity. Unfortunately, like many things during the global pandemic, the project had to be suspended, but Woodbine is excited to be relaunching this project to positively impact the community.

The Community Garden, one of the largest corporate community gardens in Canada at 20,000 square feet, has grown, harvested, and donated nearly 10,000 pounds of fresh produce to local community organizations since its inception in 2016. In addition to harvesting produce, the garden has also created opportunities for volunteerism for hundreds of people, including at risk youth in the community. 

After a few years sitting dormant, the Woodbine Cares Community Garden is preparing to spring back to life.

“For the last few years, we have truly missed the garden and what it means to the local community,” said Copeland. “Our team members here at Woodbine ask regularly about when we are bringing it back as it has meant a lot to all of us. 

“The entire organization is so proud and excited to revitalize the garden to help our community and also create volunteer opportunities for organizations, families in the area, and our team members.”

Woodbine Cares Community Gardens

The Honourable Premier of Ontario Doug Ford, who was joined by Mayor Olivia Chow, Minister Kinga Surma, Minister Michael Ford, and Councillor Vincent Crisanti attended the ceremonial re-opening of the Community Garden earlier today, which also marked the opening day of the 2024 Thoroughbred racing season at Woodbine Racetrack.

“As the 2024 thoroughbred racing season begins, I am so pleased that Woodbine Entertainment is reopening its Community Garden to support local communities and residents of Rexdale,” said Premier Doug Ford. “I want to thank everyone involved for their hard work in bringing this garden to life.”

In addition to growing produce in the garden, Woodbine will host ‘Community Field Days and Workshops’ on the last Saturday of each month during the growing season to educate and empower people to address food insecurity through the development of community gardens in their own homes, apartment complexes, churches, and neighbourhoods. 

Woodbine Cares Community Food Garden (Woodbine Photo)
Woodbine Cares Community Food Garden (Woodbine Photo)

“No-one should go to bed hungry. Thank you to all the dedicated volunteers at Woodbine Community Garden who work tirelessly to help combat food insecurity”, said Mayor Olivia Chow, City of Toronto. “You are a shining example of how when we work together, we can build a city that’s more caring and a place where everyone belongs.”

Groups and families can click here for a full list of Community Field Days and registration.

Half of the of the annual harvest will be part of a workshare program where community members and their families participate in the planting and maintenance of the garden, learn new skills, and enjoy the bounty of the yield they helped to create. 

Through up to 400 hours of volunteerism for Woodbine employees, the remaining 50% of the harvest will be donated to local residents and organizations in need.

@jonathanstettin such a great read! In my car reading this on my lunch break with a huge smile.

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