../Morning Post
Posted May 27 , 2010
Going Green

Celebration of completion of Phase 2 of Canada's Largest Residential Green Roof

Toronto - Last night, residents of the 8-story Hugh Garner Co-op building were joined by Deputy Mayor Joe Pantalone, Ward 28 Councillor Pam McConnell, Architect Monica Kuhn and other guests to mark the completion of Phase 2 of Canada's largest residential green roof and the beginning of its third phase.

Located at 550 Ontario Street in Toronto's Cabbagetown neigbourhood, the 350 member residents of the Co-op have created an urban oasis in the heart of downtown Toronto

The green roof, currently two-thirds completed, has roofing membrane material and electro-mechanical technology for preserving rain water. The customized green roof design also features pergolas and a gazebo for shade, seating and decking, planted beds, accessible raised planters and barrier-free paths.

Architect Monica Kuhn, who lead the planning and design process, hopes the Hugh Garner Co-op green roof will inspire other developers, co-ops and apartment residents to consider creating their own green spaces. "This is a wonderful example of a community working together to improve their neighbourhood," says Kuhn.

The Hugh Garner Co-op anticipated Toronto City Council's Green Roof Strategy by three years when members voted to build a complete green roof and appointed a Green Committee. The Committee applied for and won an Ontario Trillium Foundation grant of $100,000, in 2004, to initiate the project. Eleanor McDonald, a member of the Co-op's Green Committee, says, "We wanted to create a relaxing and diverse green space where residents and members of our community can have a quick escape from fast-paced city life."

$150,000 from the City's Live Green Toronto Grant Program enabled the Co-op to proceed with Phase 2 of the project and access the latest green roof technology. Generous donations from corporations, private citizens and the community were used to employ local 'green' suppliers and contractors. "We couldn't have completed the first and second phases without the generous support from all our donors," says McDonald.

Cabbagetown residents and community organizations such as Rose Avenue Daycare, Winchester Park Residents Association and the Prospect Street Enrichment Group all supported the Hugh Garner green roof, and they will reap the benefits: cleaner air, knowledge of energy and resource efficiency, biodiversity and barrier-free gardening.

Kuhn notes that there is still much work to do in Phase 3 of Canada's largest residential green roof. Residents are planning a variety of fund-raisers to help complete the project.

"By working together, we are showing that large, residential green roofs are possible," says McDonald.

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