About Maple Leaves Forever

We are charitable foundation called the Maple Leaves Forever Foundation (MLF), Registration No. 875341927 that advocates and supports the planting of native Canadian maples in increasing numbers across the rural and urban landscape of southern Ontario. We own a woodlot in the township of Mulmur in Dufferin County north of Orangeville.

What we do

We provide saplings and larger maple trees to planting agencies and landowners on a cost shared basis. We do this by working with seed collectors and private tree nurseries so that a certified supply of seed zone identified native sugar, red and silver maple seedings are available to be grown into saplings and trees.

We  form partnerships with local, regional and provincial tree planting groups in southern Ontario. Examples of these groups are the Ontario Stewardship Network, Conservation Authorities, municipalities, city, towns, community associations, volunteers groups and individual landowners. We are committed to increasing the levels of maple trees planted. This means building relationships with an increasing number of nurseries to increase the supply of native seedlings and larger stock each year. It means building relationships with agencies and landowners who can harness communities to plant more trees.

Who We Are

Ken Jewett, Founder

Ken started in business with the Abitibi Paper Company in 1950. In 1958, he pursued an interest in cooking into a study of the frozen prepared food market. At age forty (in 1970), he left Abitibi and spent the next year arranging financing and equipping a plant for a new business called Marsan Foods. Marsan was chosen in competition across Canada as one of “The 50 Best Managed Companies“ in 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010 and produces frozen meals for supermarket chains, restaurant chains and the health care field.

Jewett started community work as an Assistant Scoutmaster. He had a farm in the Brooklin area where he planted thousands of trees and opened the property for Scout camping. He was a former Director of the Toronto Advertising and Sales Club. Ken was a Big Brother and is an Honorary Life Director of Big Brothers. This was a ten-year involvement. Ken was Past President of the Canadian Food Service Executives Association. He served as Chairman of the Committee of Convocation at Trinity College School in Port Hope as well as serving on the Board of Governors. He owned East Bay Marina on Lake Muskoka and served as a Director of the Muskoka Lakes Ratepayers Association and is also a member of “The American Association of Therapeutic Humor”.

Ken is a Certified Seed Collector (No.195) and was a Trustee of the Trees Ontario Foundation from 2002 until 2007.Ken is the founder of Maple Leaves Forever and formalized its establishment in 2000. He is married to Edith Jewett. They have two sons and one daughter.

Edith O. Jewett, R.N., Member of the Board

Edie graduated in nursing from the Toronto General Hospital and worked at the Princess Margaret Hospital for 25 years. She has been a member of the Garden Club of Toronto for the past 10 years which included a 4 year involvement with Canada Blooms specifically on the committee responsible for Flower Arranging. For the past 5 years she has been a member of the Board of Belmont House, a not- for-profit home for the elderly. Edith is married to Ken Jewett and the grandmother of six children.

James C Jewett, Member of the Board, Secretary

James attended Trinity College School in Port Hope and Bishops University in Lennoxville. He had a successful career in commercial real estate prior to joining Marsan Foods Limited. At Marsan, he pioneered the healthcare division that is now recognized as Canada’s leader in convenience feeding for long-term care and acute-care facilities.

Today, James manages several key accounts for Marsan, earning awards including Supplier of the Year for Loblaws. As well, he is Secretary and a Director of Marsan Foods. Apart from Marsan, James’ interests include skiing, squash, and golf. James is a Sick Kids Leader and is active as a fundraiser for the Yellow Bus Foundation. James is married and has two children.

Winfield C McKay, Member of the Board

Win attended Upper Canada College and Jarvis Collegiate. He was President of W.G.McKay, Customs Brokers for 37 years. He served on the Boards of Levitt-Safety Ltd. and Besser Canada Ltd. He was a member of the Metro Toronto Police Commission from 1972 to 1982 and sat on the Ontario Police Commission from 1985 to 1988.

Other involvements — Past President of the Downtown Kiwanis Club—former Director of the Arthritis Society, the Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada, the Salvation Army and the Canadian Automobile Association. Throughout his life Win has been a keen naturalist.

Robert Keen, RPF, Member of the Board

Rob holds an honours degree in forestry from the University of Toronto. Shortly after graduation, he started a forestry consultancy business, FORMAC Forest Management Consultants, which he continues to operate today.

Over the years, Rob has provided forestry services and advice to the Ministry of Natural Resources, local municipalities, woodlot owners, the forest industry and First Nations. In his work, he has also assessed regional wood supply, lectured at Sir Sandford Fleming College and participated in independent forest audits of northern Ontario’s forests. Today, he continues to provide consulting services in the government and private sectors.

In addition, as a silvicultural contractor, Rob has conducted tree planting and tending operations on thousands of hectares of forest land. He has worked with the forest industry and Ministry of Natural Resources in developing long-term forest management plans in central Ontario.  He was Muskoka’s Forestry By-Law Officer from 1999 to 2006 and is an accredited lead auditor for the Forest Stewardship Council’s certification program.

In 2003, Rob joined Trees Ontario as Program Manager and is now the Director of Operations. He is responsible for the planning and implementation of Trees Ontario’s tree planting programs and the organization’s financial planning. With its partners, Trees Ontario administers the planting of close to 3 million trees per year on private land across southern Ontario. This is the largest not-for-profit tree planting partnership in North America. Rob led the development of this partnership, which includes over 65 planting partners, including conservation authorities, local Ontario stewardship agencies, silvicultural contractors, volunteer groups, forestry consultants, associations and municipalities.

Rob has been a member of the Ontario Professional Foresters Association since 1985 and served as Vice President for two terms. He was a Director and the Chair of the Algonquin Forestry Authority. Rob was also a Director on the Board of the Ontario Forestry Association for 10 years and has recently assumed the role of President for the organization.

Rob’s interests, when he is not working, include coaching basketball, instructing martial arts, cottaging in Algonquin Park, kayaking and canoeing in remote areas across the country.

Tony DiGiovanni, Member of the Board

Tony DiGiovanni is the Executive Director of Landscape Ontario Horticultural Trades Association, one of the world’s largest and most active Horticultural Associations.   The organization enjoys a membership of over 2,400 companies, publishes 2 magazines, coordinates 3 trade shows and hosts over 250 seminars and workshops.

In addition to his role as Executive Director of Landscape Ontario he also serves as the Executive Director of the Ontario Horticultural Trades Foundation. The Foundation has distributed over $200,000 in scholarships and millions of dollars worth of research support since its inception.   In 2004 the Foundation started a scholarship in his honour and raised over $80,000 for the Tony DiGiovanni Scholarship Fund. This is one of Tony’s proudest achievements

Tony has been active in many facets of horticulture industry development. He participated in the founding of the following organizations:

  • Canada Blooms, Canada’s premier flower and Garden Festival. Canada Blooms is one of the largest indoor events in North America attracting over 200,000 people in a 10 day period.
  • Integrated Pest Management Council (served as Executive Director)
  • Pesticide Technicians Advisory Council – (dedicated to pesticide safety training)
  • Ontario Horticultural Human Resource Council (Served as Chair for 10 years)
  • The Smart about Salt Council – (An alliance of associations dedicated to reducing the impact of road salt on the environment and raising the professional stature of the Snow and Ice Management industry)
  • The Green Infrastructure Coalition – An alliance of associations dedicated to raising awareness for the economic, environmental and social benefits of gardens, landscapes, green space and green infrastructure
  • Trees for Life (This coalition of tree advocacy groups was founded by Mark Cullen.       Its aim is to promote 40% urban tree cover)

Tony has also been a board member of the Toronto Botanical Garden and held advisory board positions at the University of Guelph, Seneca College, Ryerson University, Humber College and the Industry Advisory Committee of the Ministry of Colleges Training and Universities.

He has participated in numerous committees and received many awards including the Humber Alumnus of Distinction in 2002 and an Honorary Degree in 2011.

Tony has a passion for growing a prosperous, professional, ethical, recognized, valued and contribution-oriented horticultural industry.

John Cary, RPF, Member of the Foundation and Chief Executive Officer

John graduated from Trinity College Dublin in 1969 with a B.A and came to Canada to take forestry at Lakehead University. He graduated from there in 1973 and worked as a Unit Forester for the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources in Dryden and then in Thunder Bay. In 1978 he went to work in Guyana on a two year Canadian International Development Agency assignment. Shortly after his return to Thunder Bay, John transferred to MNR’s Queen’s Park Head Office.

There he held managerial positions in the provincial silviculture and nursery production programs. John then participated in Ontario’s Environmental Assessment Hearings as an expert witness on Forest Management.

In the mid 1990′s he did a great deal of forest policy and legislation work during a time of huge change in how the province managed crown forests. He was deeply involved in the development of the Crown Forest Sustainability Act, Sustainable Forest Licenses and the establishment of the Forest Renewal and Forestry Futures Trust Funds. He went on to provide advice to the central agencies of government including Management Board and Cabinet Office and to Ministers and Deputy Ministers on forestry policy.

Since 1998, John has been consulting, mainly in forestry. His work has involved forest policy matters, legislation, managing forest research programs, environmental assessment and independent forest audits of Crown land licencee performance. Also, he has been an independent facilitator of focus groups and public meetings with regard to large scale infrastructural changes in the GTA over the last four years.

Wildlife Habitat Canada gave him its Forest Stewardship Award for 2006. In 2007, the Ontario Professional Foresters named him as the year’s Honoured Professional. He has been a Director of the Ontario Forestry Association and is past President of the Ontario Professional Foresters Association. He is a  former  co-chair of the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority’s Etobicoke-Mimico Watersheds Coalition and is Chair Emeritas  and a member of the Board of Trustees of Trees Ontario.

Outside his professional life, John has been involved in rowing for some 40 years and is still active. He is Past President of the Don Rowing Club of Mississauga and has coxed in Ireland, the UK and Canada at the international, national, provincial and local levels. In 2005, he won a gold medal at a Masters IV event at the Head of the Charles Regatta in Boston. In 2012, he competed in the Masters VIII race at Henley-on-Thames.   

Mary Bella – Communications, Webmaster and Social Media

Mary Bella runs her own company – Maestra Web Design – which specializes in creating and maintaining websites for artists, arts organizations and non profits.  She has created more than 50 websites for clients ranging from musicians, ensembles and artist agencies, to community organizations and registered charities.

An accomplished musician in her own right, Mary completed her Graduate Opera Diploma and Masters in Music Performance at the University of Toronto. She still sings regularly with the Canadian Opera Company chorus.  Mary also volunteers with a variety of community organizations and Boards including the Mimico Children’s Choir, Mimico Residents Association and the John English School Council.