Doors Open Toronto is a wonderful program where once a year, buildings normally closed to the public swing open their doors and let citizens see what is normally hidden. In its ninth year, it is bigger than ever; we took the opportunity to have a look at some of the green roofs that were accessible for the occasion. Our first stop was the Horse Palace at the Canadian National Exhibition, a 1931 Art Deco gem designed by J. J. Woolnough and still redolent of horse manure. The green roof, a demonstration project dating back to 2004, was a bit of a disappointment considering the scale of what has been built since, but also on the roof was Canada's largest photovoltaic installation, where the CNE is testing different manufacturers, angles and methods of installation for a much larger two thousand kilowatt plan.
Steve, who conducted the tour, gives a short explanation.
Here is the lame green roof we climbed three flights for.
We then biked over to the Robertson Building, where Margie Zeidler has built a beautiful, lush and effective green roof and a terrace for tenants to have lunch and enjoy it, a public resource rather than an hidden secret. That is the way to do a green roof. (see also Margie Zeidler: Building Green Incubators)
We have been on the Mountain Equipment Coop roof before and written about it here.
Conclusion: We need to have an Open Roofs Toronto because the pickings here were thin. New green roofs are being planted every day, we should have a tour of them all! There are probably some interesting solar power and water installations worth looking at.