The #TrashTag Challenge is sweeping the internet, and now it’s officially coming to St. Thomas.

The original post on Facebook challenging ‘bored teens’ to make a difference in their area.

On Saturday, April 6 at 2pm, a group of citizens will meet at Balaclava Street Adult Learning Centre and head north and west to rid the area’s streets and sidewalks of trash.

The event is inspired by the newest (and most admirable) challenge trending on social media, the #TrashTag Challenge. The idea is to tidy up an area that needs cleaning or maintenance, posting a before and after photo. Not only has the original post been shared on Facebook more than 330 000 times, if you search “trashtag,” you will find thousands of photos of people from all over the world who have accepted the challenge.

“I like to think that we all have the power to influence our own little corner of the world for good.” –Amanda Stark

The initiative to clean up St. Thomas through the #TrashTag Challenge is headed up by Amanda Stark, who lives in what she calls the “Old North” area of the city. After moving to St. Thomas from London last summer, she noticed her neighbourhood could use some sprucing up. “When I saw the #TrashTag Challenge online recently, I thought it was a great idea and that it would help tidy up our community,” Amanda explains.

She initially only planned to go with her partner and his son, but decided to see if others wanted to join and posted an event on Facebook. Soon, several others responded as “going,” including Mayor Joe Preston, who is planning to go to “participate and congratulate all those who try to make St. Thomas more beautiful.”

Talbot Street, St. Thomas. | Photo by Grayden Laing, Laing Studios/Establish Media

Mayor Preston is a great supporter of community initiatives such as these, as he says, “Great communities have both a civic pride and participation approach along with the taxpayers.” Though city employees are paid to react to winter debris every spring, “it takes a long time and much effort to even clean the most obvious litter and debris problem. Everyone pitching in and picking up makes much lighter work, and some fun too!” The City will be putting on a similar event called the Mayor’s Clean Up Challenge around Earth Day in April.

Amanda says she is thrilled with the response to the event and would love to see other areas of the city take up the challenge. “It’s important that we all take pride in our space, working together to maintain it. I’m pretty sure no one likes the look of garbage everywhere, but it’s also easy to look around and think that it’s someone else’s responsibility. As an environmental and heritage advocate, I think if we all do our part to keep our city looking great, then everyone benefits!”


If you are planning on taking the #TrashTag Challenge on April 6 or another day, let us know! The Establish Media team will be taking care of Talbot Street in St. Thomas between our two home bases, Laing Studios and The Atrium (on Princess Ave) and the surrounding area. If your neighbourhood is up for the challenge, we’d love to hear about it!