WINNIPEG -- The City of Winnipeg has officially launched a program aimed at adding to the city’s tree canopy in a big way.

On Wednesday, the city marked the official start to the public awareness and education campaign for the Million Tree Challenge Winnipeg (MTC) – an initiative that Mayor Brian Bowman first introduced in 2019.

The program calls on residents, businesses and not-for-profit agencies to plant one million trees on private and public property over the next 20 years.

“When I introduced the idea for the Million Tree Challenge back in 2019 it was to protect and expand our city’s immense tree canopy, which is a source of great pride for so many Winnipeggers,” Bowman said.

“I wanted to inspire Winnipeggers to simply plant a million new trees in Winnipeg as our population grows toward one million residents over the next couple of decades.”

Now, Trees Winnipeg, the non-profit organization that is executing and overseeing the program, has launched the first of many initiatives for the MTC.

“Every tree planted makes a difference,” said Kamila Konieczny, MTC project manager.

“That act of planting gives each and every one of us the ability to do something that could live for generations.”

Gerry Engel, president of Trees Winnipeg, said three factors are crucial when it comes to the success of MTC – diversity of species, planting the right trees in the right places, and caring for newly planted trees.

“If we follow through on these three factors we can look forward to the Million Tree Challenge making a crucial difference to the canopy that future generations of Winnipeggers can enjoy.”

So far, nearly 10,000 trees have been planted and counted towards MTC, despite the fact there hasn’t been an active campaign.