People removing sod to plan a rain garden


Join us for a work party where you will learn how to build a rain garden that soaks up water and a swale to channel excess water off of your landscape. Come to observe or better still, pitch in to help us create a beautiful and natural solution to manage the water at Avenue Road Baptist Church. Natural features such as rain gardens and swales work together to soak up run-off and channel it safely away from danger zones to avoid overflow to neighbouring properties.

Click Here to Register

Join us anytime between 10am – 4pm, remember to wear closed toed shoes and dress for the weather! No requirements to join the party, everyone is welcome to help out! Nothing is required for participation except an appetite as our host will be providing food and refreshments for volunteers.


(times are approximate)

  • 10:00 am – 10:05 am: Introduction by Reep Green Solutions’ Patrick Gilbride
  • 10:05 am – 10:20 am: Presentation about rain gardens and swales
  • 10:20 am – 12:15 pm: Pitch in to construct the swale
  • 12:15 pm – 1:00 pm: Break for lunch (will be provided)
  • 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm: Fine tuning of landscaping, planting, and watering
  • 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm: Cleaning up


Presenter Michael AlbaneseMichael Albanese, Certified RAIN Home Visit Guide, Reep Green Solutions

Michael Albanese is an experienced landscaper and master rain gardener who has worked with homeowners to address drainage problems and educate them about green infrastructure on topics such as rain gardens, permeable paving and rainwater harvesting. Michael graduated from University of Waterloo in the Geography and Environmental Management program.


We encourage you to use a sustainable form of transportation such as walking, cycling or carpool.


Logo for Avenue Road Baptist Church

City of Cambridge


2015 Stormwater Management Improvement Award Winner

Here’s the story of one of the 2015 Celebrating Community Action award recipients. Learn about all nine recipients.

Given their commitment to continuous improvement, Maintenance Manager Joe Adam turned his eye to the property outside. When he walks out of their Waterloo factory into the open field next to their parking lot he sees more than just grass. “I’d love to see this field turned into a tall-grass prairie, a self-sustaining ecosystem.” So when he heard about the grants available for creating a RAIN Demonstration Project he jumped at the opportunity. The project evolved out of a desire to capture and clean runoff from the Johnsonite parking lot.
Johnsonite Canada Inc. is a commercial flooring company with facilities across North America. Their parent company Tarkett aspires to make all of their products using circular design principles. All stages of their products’ life cycles are examined for opportunities to reduce environmental impacts and create ‘circles’ where waste is eliminated or re-integrated into new products. As part of this philosophy their Waterloo factory has put in place processes to improve their energy and water efficiency on an ongoing basis.
At the outflow point for their parking lot a ‘treatment train’ system was designed to remove pollutants and soak up water from a large storm (25mm). The treatment train involves mimicking natural processes so that water quality improves as it flows through each stage of the ‘train’.
A_buttonForebay (5,000 L): consisting of a biologically active mixture of compost, sand and topsoil with medium to large stones on the surface to armour against erosion. The system helps to trap debris and filter out oil and grit before the water passes through to the bioswale.
B_button Bioswale (17,000L): a long, dug out trench filled with a similar biologically-active mixture is chosen for its capacity to absorb and retain water. The plants in the bioswale have root systems that maintain the infiltration of stormwater while supporting a diversity of micro-organisms which help to further clean the water before it percolates into the ground. Any water not infiltrated by the bioswale overflows into a rain garden.
Rain Garden (8,000L) captures excess water and allows it to infiltrate and recharge groundwater. In the event of a storm larger than 25mm, water progresses into a swale. A swale meanders around the edge of the property and permits infiltration, evaporation and transpiration of the rainwater by vegetation. Any excess water flows into the storm sewer system where it is channeled towards the Grand River.

30,000 Litre capacity

Project Details:
Location: 560 Weber Street North, Waterloo
Maximum Capacity: 30,000L
Estimated Diversion Per Year: 2,617,000L
Stormwater Credit: 23%
Awards and Certifications:

  • ISO 9001
  • ISO 140001
  • OHSAS 18001
  • 2015 RAIN Improvement Award

Diagram of the Johnsonite Demo Project

RAIN Partners & Funders

City of Cambridge logo

Upcoming Events

  1. Finding a Perfect Match: Right Tree for the Right Place

    July 25 | 6:30 pm - 7:30 pm
  2. Fruit Trees for Beginners

    August 20 | 6:30 pm - 8:00 pm
  3. FRESH AIR FEAST: 20th Anniversary Community Celebration

    September 14 | 11:00 am - 2:00 pm