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Growing the St. Marys Forest

Forests Ontario and CBM Partner to Enhance the Sunderland Sand & Gravel Pit

Sunderland, ON, May 11, 2017 – In 2017, Forests Ontario is joining forces with Canada Building Materials (CBM), part of the North American operations of Votorantim Cimentos, to convert almost 25 acres of the restored Sunderland Sand & Gravel Pit into healthy and productive native forest. Across all of its sites in Ontario, CBM’s Aggregates Division prioritizes restoration in order to enhance natural ecosystems. The first phase of the project will include the planting of 20,000 trees.

(Image: Mike Le Breton, Land & Resources Manager for CBM Aggregates, a division of Votorantim Cimentos; Jennifer Bernard, Lands Coordinator for CBM’s Aggregates Division; and Kerry McLaven, Forests Ontario’s Forest Program Manager at Canada Building Materials Sunderland Sand & Gravel Pit as 20,000 trees are planted as part of the Durham 5 Million Tree Program.)

The Sunderland Sand & Gravel Pit has provided raw materials for construction projects throughout the Greater Toronto Area over the course of decades, including the iconic CN Tower.

This 25 acre portion of the Sunderland Sand & Gravel Pit extraction area has been gradually restored and rehabilitated through various projects to prevent soil erosion and to restore nutrients back into the soil. This planting project, being delivered under the Durham Region 5 Million Tree Program (5MTP), is the first of its kind under this program and will lead to the creation of a native forest. The Durham 5 Million Tree Program was launched as part of the Durham Region Climate Change Local Action Plan, which established a series of key objectives to reduce GHG emissions by 20%, including the planting of five million trees across Durham’s eight municipalities by 2023.

Through a variety of forest restoration programs, Forests Ontario plants nearly three million trees every year. Forests Ontario is the lead delivery agent of the Durham 5 MTP, working with municipalities, private landowners, and businesses to establish new forest across the region.

Forests Ontario has worked with CBM to identify almost 25 acres of the Sunderland site which was extracted and rehabilitated more than 15 years ago and is ideal for planting as it is adjacent to a main roadway and multiple water sources. The trees planted on this site were grown from seed collected within the area and species were selected for their ability to retain soil and survive under local conditions. The newly planted native forest will serve as deer and turkey habitat and will also improve soil conditions in the long term. Additionally, trees planted will help improve road conditions as they mitigate the effects of blowing snow on adjacent local roadways.

“The conversion of this rehabilitated site into healthy forest is the first project of its kind under the Durham 5 Million Tree Program to be carried out and we have a great partner in St. Marys who is working with us to apply the best science and make this project a success,” says Rob Keen, CEO of Forests Ontario. “CBM has shown incredible leadership and demonstrated how the aggregates industry can contribute to building Ontario while also committing to a healthier future for the province. We hope that this project serves as an example of how to extend the life of aggregates sites beyond extraction and provide new value for our communities.”

“Our work centers on creating better communities and this project is a natural extension of that,” says Mike Le Breton, Land & Resource Manager for CBM’s Aggregates Division. “The commitment that Durham Region and Forests Ontario have made toward helping the environment in the province is incredibly important and businesses like ours have the opportunity to enhance those efforts through partnering opportunities, such as this. Canada Building Materials is proud to add this to our legacy of land stewardship in the Province of Ontario.”

To learn more about the Durham Region 5 Million Tree Program and other tree planting programs, as well as local tree planting workshops, visit:


About CBM

CBM is a leading provider of aggregates and ready-mixed concrete to customers in Toronto and the Canadian great lakes region. Along with St Marys Cement, CBM operates as part of the North American operations of Votorantim Cimentos, one of the world’s top providers of building materials for the construction industry. Providing enduring products for new construction and infrastructure improvements and promoting sustainability are part of the company’s vision to make a long-term positive impact on people and our planet. Visit us at

About Forests Ontario

Forests Ontario is the voice for our forests. Working to promote a future of healthy forests sustaining healthy people, Forests Ontario is committed to the re-greening of Ontario through tree planting efforts on rural lands and in urban areas, as well as the renewal and stewardship of Ontario’s forests through restoration, education and awareness. Visit or follow us @Forests Ontario.

For more information, contact:

Jeannette Holder

Communications Manager

Forests Ontario

Ph 1-877-646-1193 ext. 257