Earth Day is this Friday, April 22, 2022. In celebration of our beautiful earth, we have compiled some inspiration to help people and organizations reduce their environmental impact. Businesses in Toronto’s Downtown West have led by example, establishing beautiful rooftop gardens that bring together employees, guests and partners to drive sustainable growth.
Gorgeous Rooftop Gardens in Toronto’s Downtown West
HIGH-RISE HERBARIUM – Fairmont Royal York
Located 14 stories high – 200 feet above ground, lies an outdoor urban oasis, where Fairmont Royal York’s garden grows. On any summer’s day, Chef jW Foster and the Planet 21 Team can be seen nurturing and tending to the vast variety of organic produce and herbs that are cared for without the use of herbicides and pesticides, on the rooftop. With over 45 different types of herbs and vegetables, one is sure to enhance your plate or garnish your cocktail at their dining venues.
In 2008 the Fairmont Royal York rooftop beehives were introduced, becoming the first in the world to install an apiary atop a city centre hotel roof. Last year’s annual honey harvest yielded 600 lbs of golden honey, produced by the six queen bees and 600,000 worker bees on the Fairmont rooftop!
The rooftop gardens at 401 Richmond began in an informal way, back in 1995, and has evolved into a 6,500 square foot cedar deck, resplendent with flowers, vines and pollinator shrubs — many of which have been grown from seed and organic herbs and vegetables grow in recycled planter boxes. A lush blanket of sedum extends beyond the patios covering an additional 3,000 square feet of roof space. There are also a number of large planters that hold trees and perennial shrubs that winter over on the roof. This fabulous outdoor space offers spectacular views of the downtown skyline.
In the fall of 2000, a 40 foot greenhouse was installed to provide winter shelter for large tropical plants and to act as a nursery to start spring/summer annuals from seed. The greenhouse provides an early start to the growing season and a stunning collection of blooms in early spring. With over 10,000 square feet of green space including rooftop patio, gardens and greenhouse, extensive greenroof and pollinator plantings, edible raised beds and quiet inner courtyard — the many gardens at 401 Richmond are grown with great pride and care, creating an oasis amidst the concrete jungle.
The Rooftop Garden is excited to be selling seedlings on the rooftop at Doors Open this year, May 28th! Lots of varieties of tomatoes (dwarf & indeterminate), hot peppers, basils, and cut flowers, as well as mini dried flower arrangements. Go for a visit – this is the only day the roof is open to the general public.
Other Inspiring Ideas
It is possible to celebrate Earth Day at home, alone, or with your family! Need some inspiration? Here are some ideas of practical, creative, and fun ideas for all tastes and ages. Some examples include, eating local, organic, plant-based foods, and reducing waste and energy consumption! Every little bit helps!
Green roofs and cool roofs – known collectively as ‘eco-roofs’ – help make Toronto more resilient and better adapted to climate change. Green roofs, also known as living roofs or vegetated roofs, support the growth of vegetation. The City of Toronto’s Eco-Roof Incentive Program provides grants to support the installation of green roofs and cool roofs on buildings in Toronto. To learn more and apply, click here.
Through this portal, the City provides information and resources to help Toronto residents and businesses assess the rooftop solar potential of their properties and proceed through the steps to installation.
The easiest and most effective way to help native pollinators is to plant native plants. By planting native plants, you will be providing much-needed habitat that native bees need to survive.
Green Teams are self-organized, grassroots and cross-functional groups of employees who voluntarily come together to identify and implement specific solutions to help their organization operate in environmentally sustainable ways. Click here to find information to help you get started.