Make people fall in love with Toronto’s ravines.

Millions of people in Toronto drive around or over the ravines every day; yet, few visit them or take the time to get to know the breadth of their diversity. Our ravines are way under-utilized, so much so that many Torontonians don’t even consider them to be an outdoor option. So, we set out to bring together a group of partners to create a campaign to illuminate the city’s wild urban parklands.

Bringing together Patagonia Toronto, The Friends of the Greenbelt, Environmental Defence, Toronto Environmental Alliance and NOW Magazine, we created the Love the Ravines campaign that celebrated the ravines and brought into sharp focus their value to our city. The campaign included the development of a short video that highlighted the sheer beauty and the vast recreational opportunities of the ravines in which they were filmed, encouraging people to explore the area using a hashtag (#lovetheravines) and share their images and stories.

We built an online interactive map/tool that aggregated images tagged with the hashtag and projected them over the map of the ravines. It was also the first online map that highlighted access points to the ravines, serving as a valuable exploration tool. We further dimensionalized the campaign with a social media toolkit for partners, using strategic green graffiti around the city, distributing buttons and hanging seed-paper hang tags in parks throughout the city. What started out as a small group of interested individuals grew into a proper coalition of ENGO’s and eventually a movement. We worked with influencers from a wide range of sectors seek formal protection as part of Ontario’s designated Greenbelt. The matter is still in front of City Council and is part of the ten year review of the combined Greenbelt, Oak Ridges Moraine and Niagara Escarpment Plans. In the meantime, a funded non-profit focused on inviting new Canadians and inner city children into the ravines is currently in the works, with a launch planned in 2016.