What happens to a tree in downtown Toronto that needs to come down?
Usually, it is ground up into wood chips for landscaping mulch. But in 2016, Robert Jarvis and Sinéad Wills saw the opportunity to both reduce the CO2 emissions of that process and celebrate the beauty of urban trees by transforming them into functional furniture and beautiful objects.
After winning a bid with the City of Toronto to salvage trees downtown, Jarvis and Wills connected with us at TAS to set up shop at our 2 Tecumseth Street site. For five years, their company Just Be Woodsy milled, kiln-dried and handcrafted these felled trees at the former abattoir.
“We are incredibly grateful for our time at 2 Tecumseth. We felt part of a historical place and did our best to honour it by making use of the old infrastructure, salvaging useful resources and re-animating it for the community. Our favourite saying was Hogtown to Logtown. It truly provided us a foundation to build a company,” said Robert Jarvis, co-founder of Just Be Woodsy.
Today, Just Be Woodsy has a 7-person team. Its furniture can be found all over Toronto and it has major contracts with the 1 Hotel and the University of Toronto. A signature of its work is the engraved coordinates of the tree’s place of origin, connecting buyers to the urban forest around us.
Beyond giving these trees a second life, this process also sequesters carbon. Wood is about 50% carbon and when that wood becomes a table or tray, the carbon is secure. According to Just Be Woodsy, the team has salvaged over a million kilograms of CO2, which is the equivalent to planting over 15,000 seedlings and watching them grow for 10 years.
At TAS, we are determined to activate our sites while we work through the research, engagement, design and municipal approval processes. Our partnership with Just Be Woodsy is a perfect match. Our two companies are aligned in our mission to create beautiful designs while reducing emissions and harm to the planet. We’ve been proud to incubate and watch their business grow over the past 7 years.
In late-2022, Just Be Woodsy moved to a new home at 772 Warden Avenue, a building in TAS’s Commercial Community Hub portfolio. Learn more about their impact story at justbewoodsy.com and come visit their new showroom to see the projects for yourself!