CN Tower - GreenBlue Urban

CN Tower


The main goal for the revitalization project of Toronto’s CN Tower was to redo the space and clarify pedestrian movement patterns to the tower’s main entrance from Front Street and Bremner Boulevard. Trevor McIntyre, Director of Landscape Architecture and Urban Design, for IBI Group lead the design, with Chris Calabrese as the design/construction coordinator. “This is a critical destination for tourists and visitors to Toronto, and has been neglected for several decades,” Trevor said. Construction began in May 2012 and substantial completion was met by May 2013.

Although GreenBlue’s RootCells® were not used in this case for street trees, our 98mm load-bearing structural RootCells were used in conjuction with our 25mm GrassRings as spacers in the renovation of the CN Tower lower plaza.

“The GreenBlue system provided the flexibility and functionality necessary in order to work within the confines of the existing site conditions without exceeding the structural roof slab loading capacity,” said Chris. He added that since the RootCell module is smaller than most premanufactured soil structure systems on the market, it offered the required height in order to fill in the gap from the structural roof slab below and the ‘fixed’ paver finished grade height necessary to tie into adjacent elevations and utilize existing drainage structures.

The resulting public space is a more dramatic gathering area oriented around the base of the tower, with a series of paving rings designed to appear as “ripples in the water” when viewed from the glass floor at the top of the tower. With its competitive pricing compared to other manufacturers and ease of installation, the GreenBlue system helped control construction costs. “The installation was straightforward and the product’s flexibility minimized any potential unknown issues to arise during construction. There were several ‘surprises’ when uncovering the materials and identifying the construction methods that were used over the years at the base of the tower through previous renovation efforts. All along, the solution was simple. GreenBlue’s RootCell system replaced the previous renovation materials/methods and has proven to be effective,” Chris says.

"On-site construction mobilization for GreenBlue’s materials did not require extensive equipment in this very busy public area. As a result, access to the tourist attraction was not hampered by the lower plaza RootCell system installation." The most challenging issue during the project was maintaining site accessibility and allowing an open door to Canada’s greatest attraction through strategic hoarding placement and a detailed construction schedule.

After the project was completed, the system was a "perfect fit given the existing site conditions, drainage objectives and high-level aesthetic qualities of the site”. Because of the product and construction experience, Chris says they would recommend the GreenBlue system to other design consultants and contractors. There have been no issues since the project was completed. After a recent visit by Jeremy, he confirmed that the location “looks like the day it went in”.