The Video

Why a Rain Garden?

A rain garden is a landscaped basin filled in with loose, deep soil that naturally filters storm water and prevents it from entering our waterways. The garden bed is then planted with beautiful, hardy native plants that support pollinators and requires little to no watering. By adopting a low maintenance rain garden, the risk of overland flooding in a person’s basement can be managed in many cases. 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

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Did You Know?

Rain Gardens United

2017 Year in Review

Pollinator curb appeal


Courtyard of the future

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Our Mission

Our mission is to educate on, advocate for, and facilitate the building of rain gardens.


Formerly known as the Rain Gardens of Danforth East Village – East York pilot project, the Rain Gardens United initiative was made possible by being awarded the Toronto Foundation's 2015 Vital Innovation grant. 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 Board of Directors

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.

Suzana Toledo's passion for the environment began when she faced a pollution problem in her own backyard of native Brazil. When her well water became contaminated by a neighbour's faulty septic system, members of Suzana's family developed a bioaugmentation process and became providers of environmental engineering services. In Canada, she's the proprietor of a special effects company contracted to work in the television and film industry.

Ryan Phyper has his Bachelor of Design degree from the Environmental Design program at OCAD University. He has been doing installations that explore the relationship between art, design and ecology in the GTA for the past 5 years. Ryan recently started a YouTube Channel called Shape And Explore, focusing on DIY tutorials for designing and building modern furniture.

Michael Gauthier is a retired Professor of the Applied Biological and Environmental Sciences Department at Centennial College. He was instrumental in the origins of the Environmental Student Society at Centennial College and saw to the design and construction of pollinator gardens at Progress, Morningside and the Story Arts Centre campuses. He has fond childhood memories of Monarch butterflies at the Scarborough bluffs, and his commitment to nature conservation programming can be seen in the Centennial College 50th Anniversary celebration, ‘Paint the Town Green’. This event marshaled 10,000 people in support of 10 Toronto Parks.

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.

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.