Fairmont Royal York Hotel Toronto with roof garden

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Toronto Harbor Center

The Fairmont Royal York Hotel Toronto with roof garden

Beds filled with zucchini, sage, rosemary, lavender, flowering nasturtiums, eggplant, wild strawberries and other fresh ingredients that make every cook's heart beat faster are right in the center of Toronto. We discover them on the roof garden of the Fairmont Royal York Hotel Toronto, a luxury hotel that is part of the Fairmont Hotels. Hundreds of bees buzz around among the herbs and vegetables. These have also found a home on the roof of the hotel and are now busy producing fresh honey, which is served in the hotel's fine restaurants.


David Garcelon in the roof garden of the Royal York Hotel Toronto
David Garcelon in the roof garden of the Royal York Hotel Toronto

Sustainability is a top priority at the Royal York Hotel Toronto

Chef David Garcelon takes the principles of environmentally friendly business very seriously. In 1996, the traditional luxury hotel in the center of Toronto set up an in-house herb garden on the roof of the hotel amidst high-rise buildings and just a few hundred meters from the CN Tower. David Garcelon says: "You can't find a closer supplier than your own roof," and he points to the six beehives lined up on the edge of the roof. “Our bee colonies provide excellent honey for our guests. And they also help to fulfill the hotel's ecological obligation. ”


In the roof garden of the Royal York Hotel Toronto
In the roof garden of the Royal York Hotel Toronto

Vegetables, berries, herbs, honey and spices from the herb garden at Fairmont Royal York

The beds in which he plants fresh and exotic herbs, vegetables and berries, some of which are otherwise unavailable in Canada, are located in specially made wooden boxes. These include tiny but sweet-tasting wild strawberries or lavender flowers, which chefs use to decorate desserts. David Garcelon also uses it to produce lavender sugar by placing the strongly scented flowers in bowls with granulated sugar, which after a while gives it a fine lavender aroma.



It is the job of the hotel's teaching chefs to look after the beds. "We can often harvest fresh herbs and vegetables from our garden until the end of October," says David Garcelon, who looks imposing in his chef's hat against the backdrop of the CN Tower. An unusual sight too, this vegetable and herb garden is framed by the skyscrapers of the Royal Bank and other glass palaces in downtown Toronto.

Head chef David Garcelon and his crew conjure up sensational salads from these ingredients: a vinaigrette with fresh herbs or delicious fruit salads with edible flowers are served to the guests. Lemongrass, edible pansies and red basil are just a few of the plants that grow in the Royal York Hotel's 17 wooden beds.

David Garcelon also pays attention to ecological principles when growing the plants: they are fertilized with fresh sheep manure. The hotel's young chefs have to help a lot with growing the plants. The young trainee chefs are responsible for weeding and planting new varieties. And they come to the roof garden every day to water the plants and harvest their fruits. In this way, the herbs grow lushly and are available to the hotel kitchen throughout the summer season.


Beehives in the roof garden of the Royal York Hotel in Toronto
Beehives in the roof garden of the Royal York Hotel in Toronto

Six bee colonies produce the honey at the Royal York Hotel in Toronto

In order to pollinate his plants naturally, David Garcelon brought three queen bees and a colony onto his roof in 2008. They live in beehives that have names like the Honeymoon Suite, the Royal Sweet and the VI Bee Suite. In 2009, three more bee colonies were added, which have since lived in the Bee Bee Suite, the Stay-in-a-Hive Suite and the Comb Suite Comb.

They thank the chef by buzzing over the herb and vegetable beds and pollinating the young plants. But they also use the lush parks in the area around the hotel, in the Don River Valley and on the islands off Toronto with their large green spaces to collect nectar. The honey we produce ourselves is collected and served at the breakfast buffet in the Epic Restaurant or presented to guests in glass bowls at the à la carte breakfast.

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Source: own research on site. We would definitely like to thank Tourism Ontario for inviting us to Royal York Hotel Toronto. However, our opinions remain our own.

Photos © Copyright Monika and Petar Fuchs and TravelWorldOnline
Text: © Monika Fuchs and TravelWorldOnline

Fairmont Royal York Hotel Toronto with roof garden

Monika Fuchs

Monika Fuchs and Petar Fuchs are the authors and publishers of the Slow Travel and Enjoyment travel blog TravelWorldOnline Traveller. You have been publishing this blog since 2005. TravelWorldOnline has been online since 2001. Your topics are Trips to Savor and wine tourism worldwide and Slow Travel. During her studies, Monika Fuchs spent some time in North America, where she traveled to the USA and Canada - sometimes together with Petar Fuchs - and spent a research year in British Columbia. This strengthened her thirst for knowledge, which she pursued for 6 years Adventure Guide for Rotel Tours and then for 11 years as Study tour guide for Studiosus Reisen tried to breastfeed all over the world. She constantly expanded her travel regions, but curiosity still gnawed at her: “What is beyond the horizon? What else is there to discover in this city? Which people are interesting here? What do you eat in this region?” These are the questions she is now trying to answer as a freelance travel journalist (her articles have appeared in DIE ZEIT, 360° Canada, 360° USA, etc.), among others. travel writer and travel blogger answers in many countries around the world. Petar Fuchs produces the videos on this blog as well as on YouTube. Monika Fuchs from TravelWorldOnline is below Germany's top 50 bloggers in 2021 Other Information about Monika and Petar Fuchs. Recommendations on LinkedIn from tourism experts Further recommendations from cooperation partners and tourism experts Professional experience Monika