In 2018, we brought the joy of the Butterflyway Project to new Canadian neighbourhoods. We recruited Butterflyway Rangers in five cities in B.C. and Ontario and more than 80 Papillon Patrouille in Quebec. Their mission: Plant at least a dozen pollinator-friendly patches in their neighbourhoods.
This summer, the Rangers made magic happen. They created wildflower-filled Butterflyways in Scarborough, Markham, Toronto, the District of North Vancouver and Richmond. Two dozen cities pledged to become monarch-friendly. Citizens created two Butterflyway Lanes. More than 40 schools planted butterfly gardens. Thousands of people planted wildflowers and learned more about the benefits of adding native plants to their gardens, balconies, schoolyards, streets and parks.
Here are some of their inspiring stories:
Guildwood Butterflyway grows
Rangers hosted native plant sales and giveaways and put on butterfly and bee costumes for a local parade in Scarborough’s Guildwood neighbourhood. During Pollinator Week, they planted wildflower-filled canoe gardens between two elementary schools and at two nearby churches. Over the season, they planted more than 30 pollinator patches, officially establishing the Guildwood Butterflyway!
Richmond’s first Butterflyway School
Ranger Anne-Marie Fenn and students at Daniel Woodward Elementary School planted a butterfly garden in their schoolyard. They nurtured and watered the patch during the long hot summer holidays, earning special recognition as a Butterflyway School.
Butterflyway Lane makeover
Street artist and Ranger Nick Sweetman has painted multi-storey murals of wild bees and butterflies throughout Toronto. During Pollinator Week, Nick, Leslieville Butterflyway Rangers and more than two dozen local artists painted 30 butterfly-inspired murals in a laneway next to Felstead Park. The laneway connects to two new pollinator-friendly patches. Friends of Felstead Park hosted an end-of-season community potluck picnic featuring a live, 10-person band.
Butterflies flood Swan Lake
After being trained as Butterflyway Rangers, residents of Markham’s Swan Lake Village seniors complex transformed two, long-neglected garden beds into pollinator patches. They hosted an end-of-season garden party, giving each guest a native wildflower for their home garden. Local media coverage included a magazine cover story featuring photos of butterflies and bees in the newly planted gardens. Rangers also planted a 17-foot canoe garden at the neighbourhood entrance, with help from city park staff.
Butterflyway block party
Ranger Stephen Deedes-Vincke and his wife Sally Hocking went door-to-door to convince neighbours to help green the laneway behind their North Vancouver houses. They celebrated the official naming of the Butterflyway Lane with a neighbourhood block party.
Photo: Janice Williams
Queensdale pollinator pathway
After being recruited as a Ranger, Anne Purvis asked her neighbours if they’d add native plants to their gardens. She offered plants from her garden and made a bulk order from a local native plant nursery. Together, they added seven butterfly gardens! Anne aims to getting more on board and plant city-owned boulevards.
Bee-friendly tree planters in Leslieville
Mother-daughter Rangers Maxine Wiber and Lisa Bojin created pollinator patches in tree planters along Queen Street East. They started with one in front of Ed’s Real Scoop, their family’s ice-cream shop. Local neighbourhood storeowners helped water through the summer heat. Ed’s Real Scoop patrons donated to support two plantings in Thorogood Gardens and the Eastdale Playground. Maxine and Lisa plan to partner with the local business association to expand the project.
Ranger Roger hits the greens
When wildlife photographer Roger Giraldeau joined the Patrouille Papillon, he began planting milkweed seeds throughout his neighbourhood in Boucherville. After convincing a local golf course to plant milkweed, he grew 1,200 plants and offered them to 10 more golf courses. Not bad for a retiree who hadn’t planted a flower before he turned 68!
Toronto resurrects #gotmilkweed
Toronto adopted an impressive pollinator protection strategy and officially proclaimed Milkweed Day in late May, which coincided with a joint city–David Suzuki Foundation #gotmilkweed giveaway. Monarch butterflies returned in numbers not seen in the region for more than a decade.
Markham’s canoe fleet grows
Markham was Canada’s first municipality to adopt the Mayors’ Monarch Pledge. It established a milkweed nursery, gave away wildflower seeds and assisted teams of Butterflyway Rangers. It also helped plant 11 wildflower-filled canoe gardens in parks and schools and plans a 12th for a high school in spring 2019.
As you can see, the Butterflyway Project shows that a small group of residents can make a big difference for bees and butterflies.
Want to create a Butterflyway where you live? Check out our guide to growing a neighbourhood Butterflyway then email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.