Did you know: Toronto was ranked one of the most livable cities in the world and it is also one of the most sustainable cities in Canada?
Toronto is Canada’s largest city with a rapidly growing population. But despite its population growth, the city is determined to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2050.
So, how are they doing it?
Office buildings in Toronto, like the TD Centre, Royal Bank Plaza, and George Brown College Waterfront Campus are just a few examples of buildings that meet specific green standards. LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design and they offer one of the most popular green certified programs in the world. Their designs are meant to improve buildings and homes with as much environmentally friendly resources as possible.
A new Green Roof Bylaw was introduced to the city in 2009 and requires both new construction, and older buildings, to have a green roof for vegetation to grow. The size of the building will depend on how large the green space has to be and applies to residential, commercial and institutional buildings.
Canada’s First “Bee City”
In 2016, Toronto became the first “Bee City” in Canada. Toronto is dedicated to helping raise awareness of declining bee populations and has been building/planting pollinator friendly gardens across the city. The Toronto Pollinator Protection Strategy>> fully outlines the importance of pollinators like bees, wasps, birds, butterflies, etc., and not only wants to encourage Torontonians to appreciate their role, but people all over the world as well.
Deep Lake Water Cooling
Instead of using electricity for air conditioning in large city buildings like Police Headquarters, City Hall, Metro Hall, etc., they are using a system called Deep Lake Water Cooling to pull cool water from Lake Ontario. The water is not pulled from the lake and then spit back into it, but rather just using the coolness from the bottom of the lake. It has reduced 12million kWh (kilowatts an hour) each year.
Queensway Sustainable Sidewalk Project
This project introduced the very first “Silva Cell” system in the world. Silva Cells are filled with high-quality soil to help grow trees and manage stormwater along sidewalks. They allow the tree’s roots to continue to grow easily and healthily below. Trees growing in the city along the sidewalks are just as important as larger green spaces. They allow for shade, building protection, and help absorb stormwaters that could otherwise flood buildings or homes.
With Lake Ontario being so close, and rainfall activity in the Spring, flooding risks have been increasing. The Fairford parkette was built promote biodiversity and an overall luscious green space for pedestrians to sit down and relax. Pollination plants and flowers surround the parkette as well as tall trees to provide shade. Rainwater, or stormwater, is collected through the deep, rich soil to help the plants remain healthy rather than the water flowing down the street and into Lake Ontario. Main residents around Toronto are starting to build their own rain gardens too.
Toronto is setting a great example for cities across Canada. With their Green Roof Bylaw rule, to installing Silva Cells under the sidewalks, to encouraging people to learn more about pollination, they are striving to be one of the most sustainable cities in the world.
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