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The Toronto Green Wall Challenge!

The Toronto Green Wall Challenge!

Yesterday I blogged whimsically about growing plants up the walls of city buildings. Today I finally get around to reading yesterday’s Globe, which features this story by Wendy Stueck about “green wall” entrepreneurs. From this coincidence I draw two conclusions: one, my inner news cycle is still experiencing a vacation delay; and two, the time has come for a Green Walls movement in Toronto.

To expand briefly on yesterday’s post: the crazy Montreal vine lover’s name is Gilles Lepage, and the brief story I wrote about him nine years ago for the Montreal Mirror is, amazingly, still on-line. More amazing still is the public works official with the city of Montreal, quoted in the story, who essentially thought the idea was silly. Now the idea of growing plants up walls is so de rigueur, green entrepreneurs are making a profitable business of it.

I’m starting to think Lepage was a visionary. As he told me then, vines make more sense than trees. “They’ve adapted to a hostile, cramped urban environment. Climbing the walls keeps them out of harm’s way—trees have a much harder time surviving in the city.” They filter the air. They insulate buildings. They require the tiniest footprint, which matters a lot in an already-cramped and intensifying city.

So this morning I renew the Preville on Politics Green Walls Challenge: Name the prominent wall or structure in Toronto that would most benefit from being covered in leafy green. Just to get your imagination going, I nominate the pillars of the Gardiner and the back side of the city hall towers. Write me at previlleonpolitics@sympatico.ca with your ideas. The best one (as judged by me) wins a prize (as yet undetermined, but chosen and paid for by me).

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