The first project completed at Nathan Phillips Square transforms the three-storey podium at Toronto City Hall into the largest publicly accessible green-roof garden in Canada. It fulfils the original potential of Viljo Revell’s iconic 1965 design by creating a lush metropolitan haven that supports lingering, strolling, gathering, and ceremony and panoramic views of the city. The new green roof consists of three distinct areas: A sweeping carpet of sedum mosaic surrounded by a perimeter walk, a granite paved courtyard that frames the curved council chamber, and the plaza that occupies the prow.
Inspired by Paul Klee’s Polyphony (1932), the garden features a complex mosaic of sedum species inter-planted with grasses, alliums and bulbs that respond to shade and wind conditions created by the surrounding towers. The colours of the plantings progress from bright yellows and oranges in the SW to deep reds and purples in the NE. Although the initial garden layout was designed to appear rigidly geometric, the plants were carefully selected to grow over time into a more Fauvist set of drifts.
Connected to the square by the ceremonial ramp at the south, by stairs at the north and east, this upper level garden is signalled by new trees at the podium level, and lit wooden handrails that lead up from the square.
The Podium Roof Garden opened officially on 29 May 2010 as part of Doors Open Toronto.