Parks and Recreation Ontario is a non-profit association that advances quality recreation and parks through advocacy, evidence-based standards, tools and training and collaborative partnerships, all to enhance quality of life for all residents. Each year, PRO recognizes and honours the achievements of both its members and those in the park and recreation community through its Provincial Awards Program.

The PRO Award of Excellence honours Innovation and draws attention to the importance and benefits of Recreation for healthy people, vibrant communities, and sustainable environments. The award recognizes initiatives that demonstrate exceptional innovation in design, presentation and implementation in the parks and recreation field in Ontario.

As chair of Parks and Environment I was please to accept this prestigious award on behalf of the City of Toronto to honour the Franklin’s Pollination Station and Teaching Garden located on Toronto Island Park.

“A curious little turtle, Franklin loves to learn about the world around him.” So begins the informative guide for an inspiring attraction within Toronto Island Park. The beloved children’s animated character is creatively helping The City of Toronto to promote eco-literacy and highlight the issue of pollinator decline to all who visit Franklin’s Pollination Station.

Both a beautiful recreation space and an eco-hub for students, summer camps, local organizations and others, Franklin’s Pollination Station takes a hands-on approach to solve the problem of declining pollinator habitats by building a thriving ecosystem while also educating and motivating.

The station was created with every native flower and shrub carefully selected to attract various pollinators like bees, butterflies, hummingbirds and many fascinating insects. Eco-camps and drop-in and school-based programs introduce children to the beauty of these pollinators, explaining their environmental necessity through arts, games and stories.
Certified as a Monarch Waystation by Monarch Watch and a Butterfly Garden by the North American Butterfly Association, the project has received generous support from Kids Can Press a Corus entertainment company, Toronto Parks and Trees Foundation, Friends of Toronto Island, Live Green Toronto and TD Bank Group.

This is an impressive addition to an already beautiful natural area that will serve to connect kids with nature and help keep the community active.