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May 31, 2010
Toronto City Hall’s Podium Green Roof is now officially open
The City issued this news release to the media on Saturday.

Today, Mayor David Miller, together with Deputy Mayor Joe Pantalone (Ward 19 Trinity-Spadina) and Councillor Kyle Rae (Ward 27 Toronto Centre-Rosedale) officially opened the City Hall Podium Green Roof on the first day of Doors Open Toronto 2010.

To commemorate the official opening, the event attended by thousands of visitors featured live bands, busker entertainment and a poetic reading from the City of Toronto's Poet Laureate, Dionne Brand. The event was emceed by celebrity gardener and author, Marjorie Harris, and included remarks by Scott Mullin, Chair of the City’s Nathan Phillips Square Revitalization Public Advisory Group.

“I'm tremendously pleased that we have been able to re-open and re-invent the podium for public use," said Mayor David Miller. "The landscaped gardens, a courtyard framing the Council Chamber, a podium terrace and new walkways and furnishings are a spectacular testament to Torontonians' passion for green spaces and their commitment to environmental sustainability.”

“This is a proud day in the history of City Hall,” said Deputy Mayor Joe Pantalone. “We now have a new park for walks, talks and escapes in the middle of downtown Toronto. Not only is this place a park, but it also helps to reduce our carbon footprint, and it’s just stunning.”

Additional environmental benefits of the new green roof on City Hall include a reduction in stormwater runoff, improvements in thermal and sound insulation at City Hall, improvements in air quality and reduction in the building’s contribution to the urban heat island effect and its associated cooling costs, and an increased lifespan of the roof’s membrane by reducing thermal contraction and expansion.

“Toronto City Hall and Nathan Phillips Square continue to inspire and captivate the world with unique and modern design, and green architecture,” said Councillor Kyle Rae. “People who work nearby can escape during lunch on the podium green roof and take in unique views of the city. We are very fortunate to live in a city that preserves its heritage and improves its environment.”

Approximately 3,250 square metres (35,000 square feet) of concrete on the podium roof has been transformed into living vegetation to reduce the building’s environmental impact and for residents and visitors to enjoy all year ‘round.

The podium roof was planted using a pre-vegetated, modular green roof system. Modular systems are essentially trays of vegetation in a growing medium, which are grown off-site and seamlessly installed on rooftops. A diversity of plant species, grown regionally, has been selected for the City Hall podium roof for their seasonal colour and ability to withstand difficult rooftop conditions.

“As an avid gardener, I am proud to be a green enthusiast living in Toronto,” said Marjorie Harris. “Today is an amazing day and it has been an honour to be part of the City Hall podium green roof’s official opening.”

“As the poet laureate, I know that words help us to recover the beauty of the planet,” said Dionne Brand. “I am happy to be part of that communal vision so wonderfully realised by this magnificent new rooftop garden.”

The City Hall Podium Green Roof continues to be featured as part of Doors Open weekend on May 29 and 30 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The greening of the City Hall podium roof is the first completed component of the City’s Nathan Phillips Square Revitalization project, which will reinvigorate Nathan Phillips Square to restore its beauty and dignity, preserve and enhance its unique heritage qualities and reintroduce it as a more functional and environmentally sustainable public meeting place. The revitalization project will be complete in 2012.

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Toronto is Canada's largest city and sixth largest government, and home to a diverse population of about 2.6 million people. It is the economic engine of Canada and one of the greenest and most creative cities in North America. Toronto has won numerous awards for quality, innovation and efficiency in delivering public services. Toronto's government is dedicated to prosperity, opportunity and liveability for all its residents. For information about non-emergency City services and programs, Toronto residents, businesses and visitors can dial 311, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Media contacts:
Cindy Bromley, Finance and Administration Communications Manager, 416-392-4993,
Alex Mozo, Communications and Marketing Consultant, 416-397-5226,



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