Read Green Infrastructure Ontario Coalition’s Report of the Urban Forest in the Greater Toronto Area

June 22, 2016 at 3:55 pm

Green Infrastructure Ontario Coalition Report Urban Forest in GTA

We recently returned from our first Grey to Green Conference in Toronto at Ryerson University, presented by Green Roofs for Healthy Cities (GRHC), where Green Infrastructure Ontario Coalition‘s Report of the Urban Forest in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) was released.

The Green Infrastructure Ontario Coalition (GIO) is a collaborative alliance of not-for-profits organizations, community groups, businesses and local governments, including GIO steering committee member Green Roofs for Healthy Cities, working to sustain green infrastructure across Ontario.  Their mission is to bring organizations together to share information and collaborate for improved green infrastructure policies and programs across the province.

“We’re thrilled to release this report, which represents the collective efforts of 17 local and regional governments. Together, they have established baseline data which will be critical to managing the urban forest into the future. Most importantly, they all used the same protocol, which allowed us to compile it into this GTA-wide report.” ~  Janet McKay, Chair of Green Infrastructure Ontario Coalition


Green Infrastructure Ontario Coalition Report Urban Forest in GTA

85% of trees in the GTA are small compared to only 40% in a healthy urban forest.

Summary of main findings:

  • 34.2 million trees provide 26% canopy cover in the GTA;
  • Replacement cost of these trees and shrubs is $14.2 billion;
  • $70 million is the estimated value of the 2.7 million tons of carbon stored;
  • $36.5 million is the estimate annual value of air quality improvements;
  • $20 million is the estimated annual value of energy savings;
  • 113,000 tons of carbon is removed every year – this is equivalent to the emissions of 23,000 passenger vehicles;
  • 4,000 tons of pollution removed from the air annually (including 2,300 tons of ground level ozone);
  • 10% of tree population is Ash (3.2 million trees). We have already lost a large number of them to EAB;
  • 54% of trees are made up of four species (Maple, Cedar, Ash, and Buckthorn);
  • 85% of trees are small (diameter less than 22.9 cm);
  • 37% of trees are on residential property, 18% on commercial industrial, 25% on open space, agriculture and natural area, and 20% on institutional, transportation and other;
  • The underlying studies were conducted between 2005 and 2014.

Read the Executive Summary and the Full Report.

Green Infrastructure Ontario Coalition Report Urban Forest in GTA

It’s an important landmark tool for folks committed to improving green infrastructure in the Ontario area, and certainly serves as a wonderful resource for the rest of us.

Getting back to the 4th Annual Grey to Green, in addition to seeing great presentations and panels on green infrastructure and climate change and visiting the Trade Show, we had a fantastic time and must give kudos to everyone at GRHC and their collaborators who put together another impressive conference!

Green Infrastructure Ontario Coalition Report Urban Forest in GTA

We mingled with old friends and acquaintances such as the ever-lovely: Virginia Russell from the University of Cincinnati (and her lively mother!), Tracy Jackson from GRHC, Hamid Karimi with the DC Department of Energy and Environment, David Yocca of Conservation Design Forum, Kirtin Weeks of Arup, Sara Loveland and Ashleigh Uiska (whom we hadn’t seen in years because she has been in the UK having some beautiful babies!) of Annette Environmental, and of course Steven Peck and his better half, the wonderful Joyce McLean – among many, many, more.  We also met some great new ones, too, including Kara Orr, the new Marketing Coordinator with GRHC and Chaoyue Zhao, GRHC’s Conference & Training Coordinator, whom we finally got to meet face to face.

Green Infrastructure Ontario Coalition Report Urban Forest in GTA

Green Infrastructure Ontario Coalition Report Urban Forest in GTA

Green Infrastructure Ontario Coalition Report Urban Forest in GTA

Green Infrastructure Ontario Coalition Report Urban Forest in GTA

Hopefully, we’ll get to see more of our living architecture colleagues at future green infrastructure conferences and catch up on what’s happening in your neck of the woods!

~ Happy reading,

Linda S. Velazquez, ASLA, LEEP AP, GRP Publisher

Grey to Green Early Bird Discount Ends on April 7

April 1, 2016 at 1:17 pm

By Linda S. Velazquez Publisher

We are 2 months away from the 4th Annual Grey to Green Conference on Green Infrastructure and Climate Change presented by Green Roofs for Healthy Cities (GRHC) and just under 1 week away from their Early Bird Registration!


Held in Toronto, ON on June 1 – 4 at Ryerson University’s Department of Architectural Science, Grey to Green 2016 is about helping us understand the value of green infrastructure (bioswales, green roofs and walls, urban forests, etc.) as an important tool in the fight to both mitigate against and adapt to climate change.

As a Media Partner once again of the 2016 Grey to Green Conference, is pleased to share more info with you from GRHC:




June 1: Training courses including rooftop agriculture, green wall design, advanced green roof maintenance, low impact development course, and an introduction to green infrastructure.

June 2, 7:00 pm – 10:00 pm: Networking on the Lake at the Amsterdam BrewHouse Evening Reception – sure to be lots of fun!

June 2-3: Experience more than 60 expert speakers – see the full agenda online at  By the way, I’ll also be speaking this year at Grey to Green where I’ll be presenting the “Top 10 Green Infrastructure Eco-Agents in a Climate-Changing World.”

June 4: Tour Toronto’s fantastic green infrastructure projects.

And, the Green Infrastructure Ontario Coalition is going to release a ground breaking, first time study on the status of the urban forest in the Greater Toronto Area during the event, and the Canadian Minister of Energy and Climate Change, Glen Murray, has confirmed his participation as a keynote speaker.


Most importantly for now is for you to take advantage of the Early Bird Discount which ends on April 7 to save up to $100 off on the Delegate Pass!  With the Canadian/American exchange rate, Americans can expect a savings of 30%.  (Of course, the exchange rate is subject to change.)


“The 4th Annual Grey to Green Conference is about living green infrastructure and its ability to provide tangible, scientifically proven solutions to the challenges of climate change, particularly in cities. We are in the solutions business! Green roofs, green walls, bioswales and urban forests can help us mitigate greenhouse gas emissions by reducing energy consumption directly in buildings and indirectly by reducing the urban heat island effect. Green infrastructure can also be designed to capture and retain huge volumes of stormwater in a ‘treatment train’ from the roofs, to the walls to the streets and so on. This helps us reduce the risk of flooding, which is costing billions in insurance claims. Green infrastructure also provides new opportunities for us to produce food, in and around buildings.

“Living green infrastructure has so much to offer us in terms of mitigating and adapting to climate change, and it is all but ignored by provincial and federal policy makers who are poised to spend billions and billions of public dollars on grey infrastructure alone in the coming months, and little to nothing on green infrastructure. Together we need to work to change that.” ~ Steven Peck, GRHC

If you haven’t already, make sure to read the Sky Gardens Blog post “Living Green Infrastructure is at the Heart of Grey to Green 2016” by Steven Peck.

Investment in living green infrastructure within our communities will help us mitigate and adapt to climate change and to stimulate much needed employment for a broad range of professionals, and Grey to Green 2016 highlights this goal.

For more information visit their website at

~ Linda V.’s “This Week in Review” on GreenroofsTV: March 30, 2012

March 31, 2012 at 10:05 pm

Each week you can expect to learn What’s New here on through our “This Week in Review” video.  Here is the transcript from March 30th, 2012 from our daughter, Anjuli – click on the photo below to see the video, or here.  Enjoy!

– Hello, I’m Anjuli Velázquez and welcome to “This Week in Review” for March 30th, 2012 on GreenroofsTV.

Project of the Week

–  Our project of the week is the Mary Catherine Bunting Center at Mercy built in 2010, in Baltimore, Maryland.  This 18-story 688,000 square foot hospital offers spacious, beautifully appointed private rooms, convenient front door drop-off, an expansive 2-story atrium lobby, three eco-friendly rooftop meditation gardens, and operating rooms equipped with advanced technology including robotics.

Mercy installed 17,500 square feet of greenroofs, totaling about $1 million, in three different locations.  The gardens provide rest and recovery for the hospital’s patients, families and staff and they reduce the amount of energy needed to heat and cool the interior of the building.  The rooftop gardens feature recycled furnishing materials, native plantings and a water feature.  Clinically proven, experts say that even a view of nature from a hospital window can improve patient recovery.

– To learn more about the Mary Catherine Bunting Center at Mercy,  click on our project of the week photo on our homepage (or on the above photos).

What’s New

–  The eNewsletter

– Our March 2012 eNewsletter is out, so be sure to check it out all the highlights for this month!  To  subscribe to our newsletter just click the envelope icon on our homepage.

Greenroofs & Walls of the World™ Virtual Summit 2011 Video

– Watch our Greenroofs & Walls of the World™ Virtual Summit 2011 Episode 16: “Vertical Agriculture: A Global Movement Starts Locally, from Wall to Table“ with George Irwin, Tom Ferraro and U.S. Congressman Tom Reed.

And find the rest of the videos in this series on our GreenroofsTV page and/or our greenroofsTV YouTube channel.

Contributing Editor

– Also read Kevin Songer’s first contributing blog post as our new Tropical Green Roof Editor.

Industry News

– A new report released by the Green Infrastructure Ontario Coalition identifies green infrastructure as a cost solution policy makers should be considering on the eve of the Ontario Budget and in subsequent political discussions centered on doing more with less.  Health, Prosperity and Sustainability: The Case for Green Infrastructure in Ontario argues taxpayer dollars spent on green infrastructure offer a greater return on investment because of the multiple economic, health and environmental benefits.

–  Sky Gardens Blog

– Over at Sky Gardens, check out Linda’s latest posts: “Greenroofs & Walls of the World™ Virtual Summit 2011 Episode 16: Vertical Agriculture: A Global Movement Starts Locally, from Wall to Table,” “Welcome to Kevin Songer,’s Tropical Green Roofs Editor!,” “’s “˜This Week in Review’ on GreenroofsTV: March 23, 2012,” and “Less than a Week to go for Earth Hour 2012!”

– “Upcoming Events“

–  Tomorrow, Saturday, March 31st: is Earth Hour at 8:30pm local time, Worldwide!

–  And April 5th-6th: is the ASLA Texas Chapter – Regional Conference & Expo, in Grapevine, TX.

– “In the News“

–  Dean Johnson of the USDA Blog says, “USDA Works to Reduce Its Environmental Footprint – Here’s How.”  He asks, “did you know that USDA manages 193 million acres of land; occupies approximately 89 million square feet of office and laboratory space and operates over 23,000 buildings?  And if this isn’t enough, USDA also operates a fleet of over 40,000 motor vehicles and equipment.”  It’s reducing its reliance on nonrenewable energy by improving energy conservation, increasing efficiency and promoting renewable energy projects and programs, supporting green transportation and travel practices that reduce harmful emissions, increasing operational and fuel efficiency, and reducing nonrenewable fuel use.

The Department created the USDA Sustainable Operations Council to help keep this effort going.  For example, the USDA greenroof on Court 5 of the South Building saves energy and reduces excessive stormwater runoff, which in turn supports their efforts to restore the Chesapeake Bay.  USDA’s future plans include reducing GHG emissions from USDA operations by 21% by 2020, increase use of energy performance-based contracting investments by $5 million over the next 2 years, complete energy evaluations of USDA’s most energy-intensive facilities by July 1st, 2012, and increase alternative-fuel use in fleet vehicles by 10% by 2014.

– Jim Motavalli of the Mother Nature Network talks about “Paving paradise: It’s time to reinvent the parking lot.”  Some great ideas are getting realized when it comes to parking lots and multi-story garages, like having music festivals on garage roofs, green gardens and solar canopies.  One person helping the cause is Eran Ben-Joseph, an MIT professor who has a new book, “Rethinking a Lot: The Design and Culture of Parking.”  Ben-Joseph’s happy parking lot has “a forest of solar canopies to “˜produce energy while lowering heat,’ porous asphalt to stop stormwater runoff and trees “˜planted in rows like an apple orchard, so [the park] could sequester carbon and clean contaminated runoff,’ and has regular activities, including farmers markets, games of street hockey, tailgate parties, and the aforementioned concerts and film screenings.”

Motavalli says he loves the greenroof idea.  The 12-story parking garage at 900 North Michigan in Chicago has a 16,866 square foot greenroof, and the new Yankee Stadium has a unique garage rooftop park that covers seven acres and a full city block, with trees and plants, a soccer/football field, a 400-meter running track, eight handball courts, four basketball courts and a workout place.

– To learn more about these stories and new ones posted daily, go to our In the News or Newslinks section of our website.

– Send us your green articles, videos and images to and share your greenroof or greenwall info with the world!

– Make sure to keep up with everything by following us on Twitter, liking us on Facebook, being a member of our network on LinkedIn, and subscribing to our greenroofsTV channel on YouTube!

– This has been This Week in Review for March 30th, 2012 on GreenroofsTV. I’m Anjuli Velázquez and I’ll see you next week!

*This week’s episode is sponsored by The Greenroof Directory, brought to you by*

Did we miss something?  We’d love to hear from you!

~ Linda V.