While the City of Whitehorse in the Yukon Territories does not have a pesticide bylaw, the City staff agreed many years ago (at least 10 years ago) to avoid using unnecessary pesticides. The staff were concerned for their own health in applying pesticides and for the environment.

According to Gilles Lapre, the Parks Supervisor, the residents of Whitehorse are generally conscious of the environment and are in favour of this move. Residents also seem to like the cost savings the City has achieved through changing its landscaping practices. (1)

The City is phasing out high-maintenance grass areas by allowing them to naturalize, or return to natural plants, especially near the river. City staff sometimes seed wildflower mixes in these areas.

There are very few high-profile, high public use areas and maintenance staff spend more time on these areas. The City is using lower maintenance grass mixes and cutting back on fertilizer so that less water and less mowing are required. Sometimes these areas are not as green as they used to be and the public is accepting of that, according to  Gilles Lapre.

Dave Muir, the former Parks Manager said that the public also has “the idea that ‘this is a Northern area; it shouldn’t look like a golf course everywhere you go.’ So far, they have found the naturalized look to be aesthetically pleasing.” (1)

The City is also using less annual flowers in its ornamental plantings of beds and using more perennials, especially native varieties of flowers, trees, and shrubs that do well in the dry, cool conditions of the North. Lots of wood chip mulch is used on beds and planters to keep moisture in.

The City has its own compost piles and uses it mostly to develop new planting areas or grass areas.


1) The Ontario Parks Association and Go for Green, “Northern Exposure: Activity in the Park” , http://www.goforgreen.ca/gardening/Factsheets/Yukon.htm, 1998

Click here for actions you can take to support a pesticide bylaw in Calgary.

Click here for how to use natural landscaping practices in your yard.