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February 1, 2006
City Council committed to greening of Toronto’s roofs
Toronto City Council today approved a Green Roofs strategy to promote the use of city rooftops to grow gardens and other vegetation. The City of Toronto has thoroughly researched the benefits, established demonstration Green Roofs projects on two municipal buildings, and conducted extensive consultation with the public, environmental groups and industry. Hundreds of people have encouraged the City to do more to encourage Green Roofs.

The recommendations that Council approved today include a commitment to install green roofs on new and existing buildings owned by the City, whenever practical to do so. For example, green roofs are to be considered for existing municipal buildings when roofs are due to be replaced. For new City-owned buildings, the Green Roofs strategy sets a target of green roofs covering 50 to 75 per cent of a building’s footprint.

Council also recommended that a pilot program of financial incentives be initiated this year for the construction of green roofs. City officials will also work with Toronto Hydro and the Toronto Atmospheric Fund on the possibility of offering building owners additional financial incentives for retrofits. From a planning perspective, green roofs will be achieved through zoning bylaw amendments and site plan controls.

Mayor David Miller said, “This is a perfect example of how we expect the new City of Toronto Act will help us govern in the best interests of Torontonians. Given the power to regulate green roofs in our city, we can work with residents to implement major initiatives that will make our city cleaner, healthier and more beautiful.”

Deputy Mayor Joe Pantalone chairs the City’s Roundtable on the Environment, which recommended the “Making Green Roofs Happen” policy. He said, “Torontonians have told us that they want the city to do more to promote Green Roofs. In response, City Council has approved a comprehensive approach - from establishing standards and building our capacity to support Green Roofs at the City level, to offering education, funding, expert advice and promotion.”

Green roofs mitigate the effects of stormwater in the city, improve buildings’ energy efficiency, reduce the urban heat island effect, improve air quality, beautify the city, provide locations for gardening and food production, and provide passive recreational space in densely populated neighbourhoods. If eight per cent of Toronto’s area were converted to Green Roofs, summer temperatures could be reduced by as much as 2 degrees Celsius. More information is available on the Green Roofs website at

Media contacts:

Jane Welsh
Project Manager
City Planning

Deputy Mayor Joe Pantalone
Roundtable on the Environment



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