Depave Paradise | Fanshawe College
Recognizing that the Arts Courtyard was being underused, Fanshawe College set out to revitalize the neglected space by transforming it into a naturalized green environment with a Depave Paradise event.
As part of the Depave Paradise team at Fanshawe College, our staff spent two days working with London Environmental Network to remove approximately 118 square metres of asphalt and plant native species in its place.
The original paved surface interrupted the natural water cycle, preventing rain from soaking into the ground and creating runoff that would collect pollutants and compromise water sources such as the Thames River. The asphalt was cut into manageable-sized pieces and transported by hand into a recycling bin. The recycled asphalt was then sent to Try Recycle, an organization that keeps old asphalt out of landfills by finding new uses for it. With help from Porous Pave Ontario, the asphalt was replaced with a permeable surface made from recycled tires, allowing stormwater to penetrate the soil and re-enter the water table.
A rain and pollinator garden was added to the courtyard featuring 150 native plants and two trees including a tulip tree native to the Carolinian zone which London is located within. Other plant species found in the garden include shrubs such as Canadian redbud, witch hazel and dogwood, with Pennsylvania sedge as an understory to the shrubs.
After only a couple days of hard work, the site was transformed into a naturalized space that can be enjoyed by the community. Not only does the courtyard create habitats for native pollinators and wildlife, but it also improves stormwater drainage and prevents runoff from being contaminated on asphalt surfaces and flowing into our water sources.