Scarborough Centre Library Makes It Right

This article is courtesy of the Fatal Light Awareness Program (FLAP) issued in their Touching Down newsletter, published in spring 2017

Posted by on 08/10/2017

Scarborough Centre Library Makes It Right

Sometimes, even with the best of intentions, one doesn’t get it quite right the first time around. The large windows of the new Scarborough Centre Library in Toronto were installed two years ago with the intention of preventing bird collisions with the reflective glass. A frit pattern was used on the inside surface of the glass and the dots, which were spaced 10 cm x 10 cm apart, were a light grey.

The library complied with the existing Toronto Green Standard under Bird Friendly, which allows for second surface applications (between the two thermal panes), but, as FLAP advocated, this would not be enough to deter birds from hitting. The visual markers (the pattern of dots) needed to be on the outside surface of the glass and they needed to provide a stronger contrast to alert birds to the danger of an immoveable surface.

Photograph by FLAP Canada

Photograph by FLAP Canada

FLAP worked closely with Councillor Glenn De Baeremaeker and the architects of the library to resolve this issue. Late last fall, the city gave the go-ahead to start a retrofit of a white dotted window treatment to the outer surface of the glass, also 10 cm x 10 cm apart, with these dots evenly spaced between the existing grey dots on the inner surface.

This installation should be complete by late spring (as weather allows). The white dots on the outside surface are clearly visible and, combined with the grey dots, they cut the spacing of visual markers in half. This new installation should make this beautifully designed piece of architecture much safer for migrating birds.

It just goes to prove that trial and error can yield great results.


About Fatal Light Awareness (FLAP)

The Fatal Light Awareness Program (FLAP) is a non-profit organization governed by a Board of Directors, and sustained by the tremendous efforts of approximately 100 dedicated volunteers.

FLAP is the first organization in the world to address the issue of birds in collisions with buildings. Since 1993, our volunteers have picked up tens of thousands of injured or dead birds from 167 species in the Toronto region.

Emergency bird rescue response is only one aspect of their work. Over the years they have developed close, working partnerships across all sectors of corporate and residential society, and instituted leading-edge programs and policies that begin to address the issue at the source: the buildings themselves.

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