Like every other ravine in Toronto, Colonel Danforth Park glowed with amazing colour in October. The light green willows close to the river add a nice contrast for the blazing maples and other trees behind them.

By Kathryn Stocks

The trees in our neighbourhood have been resplendent this autumn, their colours so brilliant it’s as if they are lit from within. The red hues were particularly stunning in October with the red maples leading the pack. Sugar maples were right up there with shades that ranged from gold to orange to red.

The conditions for a brilliant fall were perfect because we had just the right amount of early cool temperatures combined with a long stretch of sunny, dry weather to create the most vibrant colours. So, like everyone else, we took out our cameras and headed to our parks to try to capture the best of them before the leaves were on the ground.

As the seasons change from summer to fall, trees get less direct sunlight and the chlorophyll in the leaves breaks down. The lack of chlorophyll reveals yellow and orange pigments that were already in the leaves but couldn’t be seen during the warmer months. Darker red leaves are the result of a chemical change: sugars that can get trapped in the leaves produce new pigments that weren’t part of the leaf in the growing season.

We hope everyone was able to take the time to enjoy the colourful trees in our yards, on our streets, in our parks and across the province this fall. They sure put on a good show.

Free trees for your boulevard

Toronto has been offering free trees to homeowners, landowners and not-for-profit organizations to expand the urban forest and reach the city’s 40 percent canopy cover target, which will help tackle climate change. The Street Tree Planting Program is free,  and other grants and incentives are available for tree planting on private land.

In the Street Tree program, the city offers a choice of 15 native trees to those who would like to have a tree on their boulevard. These trees include:  black maple, red maple, sugar maple, silver maple, Ohio buckeye, hackberry, Kentucky coffeetree, tulip tree, ironwood, white oak, swamp white oak, bur oak, shumard oak, red oak and basswood.

Seven hybrids and cultivars are also offered as well as eight trees that are native to Europe and Asia. Although they’re on the list, Urban Forestry encourages the planting of large-growing, native species whenever possible.

We encourage anyone without a tree on their boulevard to apply for one at