Depave Paradise is a project of Green Communities Canada and Green Venture that engages volunteers and neighbourhoods in Canadian communities to remove pavement (by hand!) and plant gardens filled with native species or install permeable surfaces in its place.

Hard surfaces, such as driveways, parking lots and buildings, interrupt the natural water cycle by preventing rain water from soaking into the ground. This in turn leads to flooding, poor water quality, and creates urban heat islands that are warming up our cities. By removing pavement and replacing it with green space, we are increasing the infiltration rate of rain water, cooling our neighbourhoods, keeping our water clean, and providing us and our children with greater connections to the natural world.

Through partnerships with local schools, organizations and community groups, Green Venture removes asphalt and concrete to renew and beautify community spaces by adding natural playgrounds, community vegetable gardens, trees, rain gardens, permeable pavers and other permeable surfaces. In addition to building a strong sense of community, this program also increases usable public space and frequently improves a community’s water quality.

Since 2012 Green Venture has Depaved:

885m² of Asphalt on 8 Sites

  • Adelaide Hoodless Elementary School, Hamilton (2017) Area depaved: 203 square meters About: Eighty adults and 20 children planted three trees and 219 natives plants. in the schoolyard of Adelaide Hoodless Public School. A permeable pathway was added. Removing hard surfaces helps restore the natural hydrological cycle.


Beyond the community building, the benefits of depaving are numerous. They include:

  • Decreasing the runoff of stormwater to lower its impacts on our sewers and help improve our community’s water quality
  • Increasing urban green space and ecosystems present in our cities and reversing the proliferation of hard surfaces
  • Reducing and filtering stormwater runoff to lower its impacts on sewers, help to improve community water quality, and restore natural hydrologic cycle
  • Increase natural habitat for birds, bees and butterflies
  • Educating residents about the effects of stormwater runoff and benefits of permeable surfaces, green space and reconnecting the urban landscape to nature
  • Fostering behavioural change and community engagement
  • Creating a sense of community through community space renewal and beautification
  • Filter polluted runoff
  • Decrease the heat island effect and help cool things down in this urban area

See Our Past Depave Projects:

Adelaide Hoodless Elementary School – Fall 2017

Area Depaved: 202m2

About: Over 100+ parents, students, teachers and administrative staff helped to Depave this area to create a natural green space for students including a permeable pathway through a rain garden, butterfly garden, native grass garden, sensory garden and the “Lake Adelaide” garden.

Depaving Day a Success at Adelaide Hoodless

New Horizons Thrift Shop & Collectables – Fall 2017

Area Depaved: 50m2

About: Welcome Inn Community Centre and New Horizons Thrift Shop partnered with Green Venture to install 2100 square feet of EcoRaster permeable pavers at the James St. parking lot. Seeded with microgreens with parking lot with absorb and filter stormwater!

From Grey to Green: A Permeable Parking Lot Story

Our Lady of Vietnam & Holy Family Parish – Spring 2017

Area Depaved: 113m2

About: Homeside Hub Community Planning Team, Crown Point Planning Committee and the Crown Point Garden Club and Green Venture partnered to change 4 parking spots in the lot into a vibrant garden for all to enjoy! 

Monseigneur de Laval – Spring 2017

Area Depaved: 185m2

About: Students and staff from Monseigneur de Laval depaved a portion of their schoolyard to create an outdoor classroom!

St. Brigid Catholic Elementary School – Spring 2017

Area Depaved: 53m2

About: St. Brigid school transformed a section of their asphalt yard into a green space. Each student participated by drawing their vision for the area, then helped to make it a reality by planting, mulched, raking, depaving and watering!

DEPAVE PARADISE: St. Brigid Catholic School joins the growing movement to tear up asphalt in schoolyards

R.A. Riddell Elementary School, Hamilton – 2016

Area Depaved: 58m2

St. Margaret Mary Catholic Elementary School,  Hamilton – 2014

Area Depaved: 130m2

St. Augustine Catholic Elementary School, Hamilton, 2012

Area Depaved: 93m2




Depaving is a high impact event to restore the natural hydrologic cycle, reducing stormwater pollution and volume, while empowering the community, reducing flooding risk and increasing groundwater recharge. This project emphasizes the importance of water conservation and helping the public understand their potential impact on the watershed.

For more information about Depave Paradise in Hamilton, Ontario contact Program Coordinator Laura Anderson at 905-540-8787 ext 158 or

For more information on Depave Paradise across Canada, visit