UPDATE: As of January 2022 the Unflood Ontario Network is managed exclusively by the Small Change Fund. NCF remains supportive of the initiative, however no longer plays a formal role.
Unflood Ontario is a network of groups and organizations from across the Greater Golden Horseshoe that are working together to build public demand for urban-based natural infrastructure such as rain gardens, community gardens, green roofs, trees, and other technologies that eliminate hard surfaces and rely on natural processes. NCF is excited about natural infrastructure because it also delivers many social benefits including creating jobs, improving community climate resilience, addressing key social determinants of health and reducing food insecurity.
Why flooding, you might ask? Because the fear of flooding is something many of us can relate to personally. If climate science is alienating, water seeping into your basement and the cost of repairs are impossible to ignore. Remember the floods of the summer of 2018? This video is a stark reminder if the memory escapes you. What’s more, the impacts of flooding does not discriminate; flooding is indeed an equity issue as is the broader devastation caused by climate change. Utilizing creative online communications Unflood Ontario aims to educate the public about natural infrastructure and provide tangible, achievable and accessible solutions that can be directly implemented in the community.
Who We Are and How it Started
Unflood Ontario is led by the Niagara Community Foundation (NCF), Durham Community Foundation, and the Toronto Foundation and is managed by the Small Change Fund. There is a growing network of partners that span all sectors and all regions. With over 50 organizations from around the Golden Horseshoe listed on the About Page, Unflood Ontario reaches all around Lake Ontario.
Unflood Ontario was born out of the Great Lakes One Water Initiative (GLOW), a basin-wide binational network of seven teams led by Community Foundations and working to reduce lake pollution. For NCF, joining the GLOW network in 2018 was the next step in the foundation’s efforts to engage in the growing concerns around climate change. Recognizing its limited environmental expertise, NCF brought together a GLOW Niagara round-table, made up of industry experts such as Walker Industries, the City of St. Catharines, the Town of Lincoln, the City of Port Colborne, Niagara College, Ontario Green Conservation Association, City of Port Colborne, Geospatial Niagara, and the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority. Together this network provided input to the larger Ontario team and together with the round-tables in the other regions, Unflood Ontario was developed, launching in the spring of 2021.
How We are Building Public Demand for Natural Infrastructure
- The Unflood Ontario online campaign promotes tangible and accessible action that invites residents to help unflood Ontario.
- The Unflood campaign is backed by great branding and great videos targeting the interested public.
- The Unflood website includes videos, basic resources, non-expert reports, and three Calls to Action
- There is a growing sponsorship base with Insurance Bureau of Canada as the Gold Level sponsor and Walker Industries as the lead Niagara Sponsor.