The Video

Why a Rain Garden?

This landscaped shallow depression is filled in with loose, deep soil that naturally filters storm water and prevents it from entering our waterways. A rain garden is low maintenance and planted with beautiful, hardy native plants that attract pollinators and requires little to no watering. By adopting a rain garden, the risk of overland flooding in a person’s basement is significantly reduced. Rain gardens continue to be one of the most cost-effective, low-impact development strategies that combats the effects of climate change and builds in resiliency for cities.

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Build It and Rain Will Come

If you plan it out well, your rain garden can be built over a weekend.
Here’s the skinny:

1. Get your rain garden manual here - this helps you size up the kind of stormwater landscaping you want for your home.
Toronto and Region Conservation Authority

2. Call before your dig - make sure there’s no underground infrastructure (gas, water, telecommunications).
Ontario One Call

3. Have peace of mind: you’ve now got biodiversity, resiliency, and beauty - you're connected to nature!
Homegrown National Park Project



Did You Know?

Rain Gardens United

2017 Year in Review

Pollinator curb appeal


Courtyard of the future

View the concept design

Our Mission

The Rain Gardens United initiative was made possible by being awarded the Toronto Foundation's 2015 Vital Innovation grant.


Formerly known as the Rain Gardens of Danforth East Village – East York pilot project, we proposed a green corridor to connect Wards 29, 30, 31, and 32 with the Leslie Spit and “carpet” this part of Toronto with butterfly, bee and bird friendly habitat.


Our goals include community-building, idea-sharing, and life-enhancing strategies that improve the quality of life for the citizens of Toronto. And this includes recognizing the rain gardens' capability to protect our precious freshwater in Lake Ontario.


If we can inspire others to start building rain gardens across Toronto, we can convince the City to develop a program akin to the current basement flooding protection subsidy. We aim to bring together stakeholders who prioritize the implementation of climate change adaptation strategies now.

About Us

Rain Gardens United Advisory Board

Marc Yamaguchi is a college teacher but began doing outdoor interventions in 2013 as a volunteer with the David Suzuki Foundation. In 2015, he headed up the East Danforth Rain Gardens Project, which has grown from an initial 11 to 31 today. Marc's Masters thesis in Environmental Education and Communication is entitled Low Impact Development: Citizen Chronicles from the Urban Underground.

Karen Buck has put the City of Toronto water quality at the forefront of her activities as a Public Liaison Committee member for the Environmental Assessment on the Ashbridges Bay Treatment Plant; as a Steering Committee member on the City’s Water Efficiency Plan and the Wet Weather Flow Management Master Plan; and as President of Citizens for a Safe Environment for the Residential Rainproofing Project which established 13 Rain Gardens in Riverdale,Toronto.

Kara Garcia is the Manager of the Health & Social Department for the Taku River Tlingit First Nation. Emphasizing youth and Elder involvement, she supports opportunities for traditional on-the-land activities to provide meaningful alternatives to drugs, alcohol and violence. Kara happily gets her hands dirty, installing rain gardens as a way to model the interconnectedness of all living things and systems. Wela'lioq! ("Thank you" in Mi'kmaw)

Michael Gauthier is Faculty in the Applied Biological and Environmental Sciences Department at Centennial College. He heads the Environmental Student Society at Centennial College and saw to the design and construction of pollinator gardens at Progress and Morningside campuses. He has fond childhood memories of Monarch butterflies at the Scarborough bluffs, and his commitment to nature conservation programming can be seen most recently in the ‘Paint the Town Green’ 50th Anniversary,Event that marshaled 10,000 people in support of 10 Toronto Parks.

Matt Tegelberg is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Social Science at York University. He has spent the past decade conducting research on climate change communication. Rain Gardens United is his first experience participating in a local green initiative that resonates with these academic interests.

Mina Wong is a college teacher and magazine editor, Mina’s interest in the environment dates back to activities at Toronto’s Ecology House more than thirty years ago. Inspired by rain gardeners these days, she would like to learn more about water management, bee houses, butterfly houses, rooftop gardens, seed programs, and sustainable native plants.

Adam Smith works in film and television, and created RGU's promotional video. He is very involved with local green initiatives, as a core member of the Beach Community Edible Garden, co-chair of Grow Food Not Lawns Beaches, and co-captain of Ward 32 Spokes, the local cycling advocacy group.

Alan Wong works in the IT department at a prominent property developer but also runs his graphic design firm, alanidesign. He is Rain Gardens United's webpage developer and consults on public outreach deliverables and event programming.

Ting Wang is a part of the urban water cycle and teaches science at a private high school downtown Toronto. He has a Masters degree in physics and teaching and is an amateur hydrologist. He has been working with Marc at RGU to monitor and ameliorate how Toronto deals with its rainwater.