After a long Winter and a very wet Spring, Torontonians are flocking to enjoy the outdoors. Toronto, the GTA and the entire country of Canada has something to offer everyone, no matter what you enjoy. This year, in celebration of Canada’s 150th birthday, more and more people are taking advantage of promotions and appreciating our natural resources; our parks and waters. Even if your plans keep you local, there is much to enjoy within the GTA, including festivals, concerts, nature walks and conservation areas. This season, as you enjoy summer in the city, take a moment to appreciate the city we live in.
Focus on green alternatives
Toronto is one of the “greenest” cities in Canada. The increasing focus on green infrastructure, LID alternatives, reducing the effects of climate change and managing storm water effectively, is apparent throughout the city. Even before the new storm water management guidelines have been approved, LID alternatives and techniques such as bioswales, green roofs, porous paving and rain gardens are becoming much more popular, both for residential and commercial areas. Green roofs have changed the view of the city from up high, increasing green space while cooling the area and managing storm water. Bioswales, rain gardens and permeable paving are changing the landscape of the city on the ground level in a very impactful manner. Public areas, municipalities and even schools are embracing the movement towards LID alternatives and rain gardens. The building industry is focusing on achieving LEED and green building status. Schools are motivated to become Eco Schools, focusing on reducing their carbon footprint and incorporating green practices.
LID alternatives are becoming more and more popular. There are installations of “green” storm water management areas throughout the city. Rain gardens, some of which have been designed as butterfly or bee friendly areas, can be seen even on busy street corners and boulevard areas. Permeable paving is also becoming more popular and affordable systems such as Ecoraster, are being installed for both residential and commercial applications.
Ecoraster in action
There is a good chance that you have seen Ecoraster “in action” as you have been enjoying your summer activities. Where you may ask? Ecoraster is installed at the Aga Khan Park. The Ecoraster areas, installed to reinforce the gravel sections, ensure that the surface remains fully accessible, while keeping it puddle free. The Aga Khan Museum and facility is visited by thousands of people every week, all of whom can enjoy the outdoor gardens.
Perhaps your summer plans have taken you to Casa Loma or to the Tarragon Theater. Maybe you had to park in the parking lots managed by Unit Park just south of George Brown College. If so, you had the opportunity to park on one of the largest Ecoraster parking lots in Canada to this date. The Ecoraster parking surface was a welcome change from the original dusty gravel parking lots. These lots have already been through one Winter season, where they were only salted once, and through a very wet spring, during which the parking surface remained puddle-free. The Ecoraster system, even when it is filled with gravel, is fully accessible by high heels, strollers, and those with mobility challenges.
If you have children, your summer plans may have included a trip to the Metro Toronto Zoo. If you stopped for lunch at the African restaurant chances are you walked on beautiful paving stones that are being supported, beneath the ground, by Ecoraster. The Ecoraster grid system was used as a permeable base stabilizer to ensure the finished surface remains level and stable for an extended period of time, even with heavy traffic and the freeze-thaw cycle that is well known in Ontario.
Ecoraster has been installed in other similar projects throughout the GTA, including projects for the city of Toronto and TDSB. Ecoraster can also be found installed as grass-filled access roads, often hidden in parks such as Bennington Heights and Kew Gardens. These areas, which can be used for heavy vehicle access, blend in with the park setting keeping the area green and cool while ensuring vehicles can be supported without damaging the ground beneath.
If you enjoy museums, perhaps you had the opportunity to visit the King City Cultural Museum which is home to one of the largest Ecoraster Bloxx parking lots, a fully permeable surface which ensures storm water stays on site, reducing run off and keeping the area cool. There are other installations around the GTA including pathways, soft shoulder reinforcement, driveways sidewalk extensions and boulevard reinforcement.
As you are enjoying all this beautiful city and what the surrounding areas have to offer, take a moment to look down. Perhaps the surface you are walking on or driving on is already permeable. If it isn’t, ask yourself what you can do to help promote permeable alternatives and the many benefits systems such as Ecoraster offer.