Metrolinx provides update on fall reforestation work in advance of GO Expansion construction

Metrolinx is sowing the seeds of future transit expansion. The transit agency is planting thousands of trees and shrubs in advance of major construction for GO Expansion. Get an update on the tree planting and check out photos of saplings going into the dirt.

The idea that Metrolinx is making the region greener while removing trees may seem like a paradox.

But between much needed new transit, new trees, and the removal of invasive species, GO Expansion will make the region greener.

One of the key components of the GO Expansion project, is electrifying about 600 kilometres of rail, to bring much faster and more frequent service.

In preparation for electrification-related construction next spring, crews started to remove trees and vegetation along some GO tracks, to protect the future wires, and keep passengers and our neighbours safe.

Before a single tree was removed, Metrolinx started reforestation work with conservation partners planting trees across southern Ontario. The goal is for the total trees planted to go over and above all regulatory requirements and increase the tree count in the region. Metrolinx’s conservation partners are planting trees in the same watersheds from which they are removed, to make sure the environmental function of the region’s green areas is preserved.

To date, Metrolinx has funded and coordinated the planting of more than 24,000 native trees.

Metrolinx is also working with municipalities and community groups to plant trees in municipal parks and green areas directly in neighbourhoods affected by tree removals.

Fall 2021 planting totals

Metrolinx is delivering the GO Expansion project in a sustainable way and has partnered with several conservation authorities to plant trees across the region to compensate for trees removed along GO tracks.

That includes Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority (LSRCA), Conservation Halton (CH), Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA), Credit Valley Conservation (CVC) and Central Lake Ontario Conservation (CLOCA) who are planting trees in conservation areas to help restore ecosystems.

saplings in the ground at a vaughan conservation area
New trees planted at Boyd Park Conservation Area in Vaughan. (TRCA photo)

Getting our hands dirty

Earlier this fall, Metrolinx staff joined Conservation Halton at one of the planting sites in Oakville to lend a helping hand. The team planted approximately 500 trees and shrubs as part of the GO Expansion reforestation initiative.

group photo of staff with saplings
Staff came out to help put several trees and shrubs into the ground this fall. (Metrolinx photo)

Giving back to the community

Metrolinx has also developed options for using threes that have been removed. Trees are diverted for different purposes, including donated to communities, ecological and commercial uses such as local art and habitat restoration projects or to college woodworking programs.

This past fall, Metrolinx and its contractor GRASCAN, diverted wood from landfill and invited residents near the Stouffville GO Line to pick it up as free firewood.

Approximately 350 cars came out to the Lincolnville GO train layover facility, near the freshly named Old Elm GO Station to pick up the wood.

Metrolinx and Grascan staff gave away 30 cords of wood, enough to fill 70 cubic yards in three storage containers.

Teams from Metrolinx and Grascan are joined by GO Bear at the recent firewood giveaway at Old Elm GO Station
Teams from Metrolinx and Grascan are joined by GO Bear at the recent firewood giveaway at Old Elm GO Station. (Metrolinx photo)

Keeping you in the know

For more information on Metrolinx’s GO Expansion vegetation removal and compensation program, please visit Metrolinx.com/vegetation.  

Metrolinx has dedicated community relations staff available to answer questions about GO Expansion or any other Metrolinx projects. Click here to contact your regional community relations office.

Story by Robert Pasiak, Metrolinx senior advisor, communications and community relations