Signs of spring, summer (and smoking!) in the Depave Garden

A tiger swallowtail butterfly flutters along the tops of the newly planted perennials now stretching towards the sky after a long winter’s sleep in the Depave Garden, while a sparrow bounces across the mulched ground searching for last year’s seeds. There is life in the garden and much has been done to keep this special green space alive and healthy despite the many obstacles it faces on Kenilworth Avenue.

In spring, the Crown Point Garden Club began the hard work of preparing the garden for the season. Clipping and snipping, and mindfully caring for the tender plants waiting to burst through the soil. This also marked the first day removing winter’s collection of cigarette butts in which we filled an entire ice cream bucket–nine full cups! After months of cold, ice, snow, and salt, these new plants also had to contend with hundreds of cigarette butts, toxic litter flung into their winter shelter. A single butt can contaminate an entire litre of clean water, wreaking havoc on our nearby ecosystems.

Flicking our butts is a habit that can be difficult to break, and these butts are often not thought of as litter– but they are.

Butts collected at Kenilworth Depave in 2018.

Later this same spring, Green Venture joined the City of Hamilton’s Clean and Green Committee and A Greener Future’s initiative called the Hamilton Butt Blitz with an intended goal of collecting 50,000 butts in one day. The Kenilworth Butt Blitz, one of five organized cigarette butt clean-ups around the city, saw Green Venture joining forces with the Crown Point Garden Club and almost 20 volunteers to participate in Hamilton’s first ever citywide Butt Blitz! This team of dedicated volunteers collected 9,252 cigarette butts from Kenilworth stretching from Barton to Main to be recycled by TerraCycle. This was a huge accomplishment. Thank you volunteers!

On June 1st for 100in1Day we planned another Garden clean-up to see just how many butts had been mindlessly tossed into the Garden after one month had passed. Shockingly, four full cups of butts were still collected. These butts can take up to 25 years to decompose, harming plants, animals, and our water in the process. With more thanks to the Crown Point Garden Club, we were able to plant more annuals, perennials, and a tree, to hopefully deter people from tossing in their butts and encouraging birds, pollinators, and people to enjoy this public green space. 

If you’re smoking on Kenilworth, please remember the hard work of our community volunteers and think before you flick! The Depave Garden can be found at 1393 Cannon Street East. 

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