Visit the Fairmont Royal York Hotel website. Click here to download a PDF of the herb layout from ICanGarden.com. Read the National Post article of July 2, 2008 by Vanessa Farquharson entitled “The latest buzz on the green scene” here, and the Enn.com article of July 27, 2006 by Stefanie Kranjec, Reuters, entitled “Toronto Buildings Going Green on Top, But Very Slowly” here.
The luxury Fairmont Royal York hotel grows herbs in a 4,000 sq. ft. rooftop garden on the 14th floor roof. The garden, which began with an initial investment of $4,000 (Canadian), produces mainly herbs, tomatoes and edible flowers in raised wooden beds. Executive Chef David Garcelon grows many herbs and vegetables in 17 beds, including organic basil, parsley, sage, tarragon, chocolate mint, peppermint, spearmint, chives, and lemon balm, two pear trees, five cherry trees and a single green apple tree, marjoram hot peppers and cayenne pepper plants.Referring to why, Executive Chef David Garcelon quoted in a July 2006 ENN.com article saying, “There’s a lot of different reasons that we do it. It’s a pleasure growing herbs, but really we could buy herbs for a lot cheaper than we can grow them. That’s not really the motivating factor. Certainly because it’s good for the environment. Fairmont is a strong supporter of green programs. This has been here for many years and we’re actually considering expanding and adding some more green space up here.”
Couples who come for tea can request a tour of the Fairmont Royal York’s rooftop garden, where the chef cultivates herbs 18 stories above the city. Reportedly, the fresh-picked herbs from the hotel roof are used on approximately 6000 meals a day served at Toronto’s Fairmont Royal York hotel during the summer months. Maintenance costs about $3,000 Canadian per year. New for 2008 is the addition of honeybees, “who live in three designer hives called The Royal Sweet, the Honey Moon Suite and the V.I.Bee Suite, complete with the official hotel logo” which “are a new addition to the rooftop garden, managed by Garcelon, his apprentices and members of the Toronto Beekeepers Cooperative,” (National Post, 2008, see below).Located in the heart of downtown Toronto, The Fairmont Royal York is within walking distance to business and theatre districts, and the city?s best shopping and dining. Nearby attractions include the CN Tower, Rogers Centre, Hockey Hall of Fame, Chinatown, St. Lawrence Market, Habourfront and Air Canada Centre. Union Station, the subway and three kilometers of shops and services are connected to the hotel by the city?s extensive underground system.