This year marks a remarkable milestone for The Riverwood Conservancy and Scotts Canada. It’s been 20 years since the two organizations first entered into a partnership that would see Scotts Canada provide financial and material support for Riverwood; support that continues to help shape the park’s gardens and natural spaces.
As a result of our long-standing partnership with Scotts Canada, The Riverwood Conservancy and our dedicated volunteers have been able to maintain and expand several of Riverwood’s gardens, most recently our Vegetable Garden and Pollinator Paradise Garden. The Scotts Miracle-Gro Garden, located within the MacEwan Terrace Garden, features elements of a traditional perennial border as well as ornamental flowers and specimen trees. Perennials provide colour and texture throughout the gardening season while mixed grasses and shrubs impart form and texture in winter.
The financial support we’ve received from Scotts, along with generous contributions of soil and gardening supplies, have helped Riverwood’s gardens grow and blossom into the beautiful, bountiful, and welcoming spaces they are today, and we’re incredibly grateful for the ongoing support Scotts Canada has provided.
As we look back on 20 years of working with Scotts Canada, we spoke with Karen Stephenson, Director, Regulatory Affairs & Stakeholder Relations, Scotts Canada Limited, to find out more about the collaboration. Her responses to our questions follow.
When did an agreement/partnership first come into place?
One could say this partnership began in October 2005 when Scotts Canada entered into its first agreement with the City of Mississauga and the Riverwood Campaign. The Mississauga Garden Council, the Mississauga Board of Trade, and members of the public created the campaign to raise funds for Riverwood. Over a five-year period, Scotts Canada donated $250,000 in financial and in-kind contributions to the campaign. During that period, the Mississauga Garden Council and Scotts Canada also began thinking about a more long-term partnership that would provide value to the community and connect people to nature and the environment.
Why did Scotts choose Riverwood as a place to support?
Scotts Canada believes in supporting the local communities in which it operates. With our Canadian head office located in Mississauga, supporting a local community organization was something particularly important to us. We focus our support on three main areas: environmental enhancement, health and wellness, and youth advancement. With its environmental stewardship programs, youth education offerings, and trails and greenspaces, Riverwood checked all the boxes.
Karen Stephenson (center) alongside TRC's Robin Haley-Gillin (left) and Douglas Markoff (right) at TRC's 2011 Volunteer Awards
Staff members from Scotts Canada tour the Scotts Miracle-Gro Garden at Riverwood in the summer of 2016
Was the initial agreement between Scotts and Riverwood work?
Our initial agreement was primarily with The City of Mississauga and the Riverwood Campaign for the establishment of the MacEwan Terrace Garden and the Scotts Miracle-Gro Garden within it. Scotts Canada was a platinum sponsor, providing both monetary and in-kind donations to support the development of the gardens. As The Riverwood Conservancy developed, we saw the value that it brought to the community. When our agreement for the MacEwan Terrace Garden ended, we had already developed a partnership with TRC and continued our support with on-going monetary and in-kind gifts to TRC. That support continues to this day.
What was the initial aim of the partnership?
From Scotts perspective, our goal for the partnership was to see a valuable greenspace made available to residents of Mississauga and support the availability of programs at Riverwood. Instilling a love and respect for nature is part of our mission. From the beginning, TRC demonstrated a willingness to be a collaborative partner, and that approach made it easy for us to mutually benefit from the partnership. TRC’s commitment to quality youth education and programming aligned with our values and we have enjoyed our partnership throughout the two decades we have been involved.
How has the partnership benefitted Scotts?
TRC’s promotion of our partnership benefits our reputation as a good community partner. It provides a sense of pride for our employees to know that we are helping to support an organization and property that provides so much to the local community. Educating families, youth, new Canadians, and new homeowners about gardening and growing plants also brings more people into the gardening community. TRC’s willingness to use and promote our garden products exposes more gardeners to our products and also supports our stewardship goals by helping consumers learn how to properly select and use our products.
What about the partnership are you proud of?
Helping youth appreciate nature and plants by supporting TRC’s environmental education programs is something that we are particularly proud of. Youth are our future and knowing that there is an organization that is focused on teaching them to take care of the earth is very important to us.
Our thanks once again to Scotts Canada, and to Karen Stephenson, for the years of support they have provided to Riverwood and The Riverwood Conservancy. We’re looking forward to continuing our collaboration for many more years to come!