Green Roofs at Toronto Public Library
Did you know there are three Toronto Public Library branches with green roofs? According to library blogger Zoe, in 2009 Toronto was the first city in North America to require all new buildings to incorporate a green roof.
The photos below show two green roofs at the Toronto Reference Library (TRL) which make up approximately 20% of the total roof surface area. They are part of the multi-year revitalization that is finishing up this Fall 2014. The first photo was taken from the 5th floor Arts Department looking down to Yonge and Asquith.
Green roofs are beneficial as they help manage storm water runoff and as well they contribute to reducing the urban heat island effect (the temperature is cities is significantly hotter due to human activities). The photo below shows the green roof parallel to Yonge Street.
The growing medium is a special light weight mix about 150 mm deep. The vegetation is a meadow mix as follows: 15% Buffalo Grass (Buchloe dactyloides); 5% Creeping Red Fescue (Festuca Rubra); 20% Chewings Fescue (Festuca rubra commutata); 25% Tall Fescue (Festuca arundinacea); 5% Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta); 5% New England Aster (Aster novae-angliae); 5% Dwarf Plains Coreopsis (Coreopsis Tinctoria); 5% White Yarrow (Achilea millifolium); 5% Prairie Blazing Star (Liatris pycnostachya); 5% Evening Scented Primrose (Oenothera lamarackiana); and 5% Rocky Mountain Penstemon (Penstemon strictus).
TRL was designed by Raymond Moriyama with an awe inspiring five-storey atrium open space and many hanging plants from the various floors giving it a "Garden of Babylon" feel as you can see from the vintage 1977 photo and the more current one below it.
The recently renovated and award winning Bloor Gladstone Library Branch (which celebrated 100 years in 2013) has a wonderful green roof and an outdoor reading garden (see the two photos below). We have a pinterest board that shows the history of the branch in photos.
The Scarborough Civic Centre Branch Library, under construction and expected to be open in Spring 2015, will also have a green roof. Lastly the Albion Branch, which will start its renovation in 2015, will feature a green roof.
Fort York Branch Toronto Public Library Green Roof November 2013
I was inspired to blog about green roofs and gardens when I saw the cover of a new book New York Rooftop Gardens.
This was not the only book we had on this subject - who knew there was a mini publishing bonanza on the rooftops of NYC?