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Everything on top of one roof

July 12th, 2012 · No Comments

The Annex is home to a new form of green roof

The greenery of CSI Annex (720 Bathurst St.) will slowly extend up, to even the roof. Photo: Innis O’Grady/Gleaner News

By Innis O’Grady

It is said that a roof is often a source of untapped potential. They might be large, flat spaces but remain completely unused by its residents.

The City of Toronto took note of this about two years ago when they transformed the roof of City Hall (100 Queen St. W.) into a green roof, with diverse local species of plants. Completely covering the roof with bins of growing, green plants, the roof of city hall essentially became a new city park overnight.

The Annex is getting its own little piece of green roof at CSI Annex (720 Bathurst St.), where slowly the Everything Roof is beginning to take shape.

“We came to CSI with a proposal, and we were looking for a great location for a new rooftop project,” says Everything Roof co-founder Lauren Pirie, who collaborated with Natalie Boustead of The About Face Collective on the project.

“This project is focused on growing an urban farm,” says Pirie. According to Pirie, there are proposed plans to create community events that bring together the local eco-activist and artist communities to present clean, innovative and most sustainable lifestyles. Ideas for including these two distinct groups coming together are “including leading artist workshops but with recycling elements!”

“The idea is that we want to focus on is community workshops and half day programming for schools and community groups,” adds Pirie. The Everything Roof is pushing to be an education on ecology even in the heart of the city. Details on these workshops go into teaching about how everyone can make their own home more eco-friendly and sustainable.

The urban farm concept has stemmed off of the green roof, what on its own increases a building’s heat and sound insulation, and protects the roof from water erosion.

“We have had great support from the community, from both the area and the city” Says Lauren when asked about support for the urban farm, “we have had Councillor [Mike] Layton out for our events, and we’ve traded a lot of ideas with him.”

The Everything Roof has indeed its own share of community support. It’s page on, a website dedicated to interested contributors to donate money towards niche projects, generated over $10,000 in donations for the Everything Roof. This money is going to cover initial costs of the project.

“We hope to engage the community through the process of building, we have been continuing to find funding, as well as spreading the word about our fundraising,” said Pirie. The project is currently in production and is not looking to open until next year.

The About Face Collective is seeking funding support, particularly for the urban farm. Current sources of funding for the farm comes from ecological and artistic grants, and support from the community itself for this dual-purpose project.

“The city has been supportive, we applied for a green Toronto grant and working toward applying next year.” Currently the City of Toronto has been supporting the growth of green roofs and the similar solar reflective “cool roofs” through grants given to large industrial or commercial buildings that stand equipped.

Making the Everything Roof a reality is a fair bit away, but its founders are excited about the urban farm coming together. “We are constantly changing plans, new ideas are moving in and out depending on funding, components may come in phases, but we are aiming for next year!” said Pirin.

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