Building Magazine


Largest green roof of its kind tops Sherway Gardens

The ongoing expansion of Sherway Gardens Shopping Centre in Toronto’s west end has been topped by a new green roof installation that makes it, according to its manufacturer, the largest vegetated roof on a single, free standing commercial structure in the GTA. Not only is the expansion making way for new stores, the 9,500-sq.-m. Xeroflor vegetated roof puts Sherway on the cutting edge environmentally and makes it a living example of “being green.”

“We chose the XF301 green roof system as part of the Sherway Gardens expansion because of the key benefits it offers,” said Andy Traynor, general manager at Sherway Gardens. “Our new 102,000-sq.-ft. green roof will help slow stormwater runoff from the roof, benefitting both the city and the environment. The green roof also played a role in ensuring that our expansion was LEED certified.”

The XF301 Sedum Standard is one of the lightest green roof systems available with a high “water retention-to-weight ratio.” Sherway’s green roof is 12 pounds per square foot (59 kg/M2) fully saturated and retains 1.5″ inch of rainfall (36L/M2). Optional stone mulch was added to the green roof adding to this weight and helping to further protect the plants and promote their growth. The new roofscape is also aesthetically pleasing year round – green in spring, flowering in the summer, turning reddish purple in autumn and going dormant in winter.

One impetus for Toronto becoming greener has been the successful partnership between building owners and the City.  In addition to the city’s Green Roof Bylaw, the Eco Roof Incentive Program offers grants to install a green roof.  For a building to qualify, among the things the City asks for is an engineering report to ensure the green roof meets construction requirements, specifically, wind uplift.  As a German innovation, Xeroflor technology has proven itself under various conditions over the past four decades and complies with the necessary wind uplift requirement — getting the stamp of approval from engineers and municipal authorities alike.

Because of its size and impact, Sherway’s vegetated roof is being featured in a television series, Made to Renovate, on iChannel in 2015 (

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