Archive for the ‘Environment’ Category

Force of Nature

I had the pleasure of seeing one of the opening screenings of Force of Nature: The David Suzuki Movie at the Cumberland 4. A true bonus, director Sturla Gunnarsson and David Suzuki were on hand for a question and answer after the screening. This a must see film and it earned a well deserved People’s Choice Documentary Award this year at TIFF.

David Suzuki’s contribution to science, the environment and Canada are well documented and respected. His legacy continues. The question of what additional things he hopes to do for the planet before he dies is not important. We should be asking ourselves what legacy we wish to leave future generations.

Force of Nature: The David Suzuki Movie
Opened this weekend in Toronto
at Cumberland Four
159 Cumberland Ave.
Toronto, ON,
M5R 1A2

Rated PG

Jane’s Walk Day – A Great Way To Meet Your Neighbours

Toronto owes so much to Jane Jacobs. This weekend she’s celebrated with over 120 walks across the city. She is also being honoured around the world with Jane’s Walks in 68 cities worldwide (29 in Canada, 32 in the U.S, 7 internationally). That’s over 400 walking tours around the world! What a wonderful way to rediscover one’s neighbourhood (and neighbours).

Jane’s Walk Day
May 1st and 2nd
see for details on Toronto events

Human River – This Sunday


This Sunday is the 5th Annual Human River. A free event explores the natural history of our city incorporating art and education. Human River is a project of the Toronto Public Spacing Committee in partnership with Coach House Books, LEAF, Lost Rivers of the Toronto Green Community, RiverSides, and wade.

Put on some blue clothing and join the volunteers as they explore the history of the Garrison Creek, a creek that still flows beneath our homes and roads. The walk begins on Sunday at 1:00 pm, leaving from the Pavilion at Christie Pits Park and finishes at Historic Fort York Blue Barracks with a closing reception at 5:30 pm.

One need not walk the whole downhill route, but those who do will be rewarded with different perspectives of Toronto. You will learn how the city continues to be shaped by Garrison Creek even today. Organizers can let you know points along the route to catch up with the “blue parade” if you can’t make it to Christie Pits for 1pm. Just email them at You can also go to Fort York at 5:30pm. All are welcome at the closing reception.

This a great family event put on by some excellent volunteers (donations are welcome). This year blue Human River T-shirts will be available for a $15 donation, 2 Human River buttons will be available with a $5 donation.

Human River – Sunday October 25th
Donations are welcome ($5 will buy 2 commemorative buttons, $15 at T-Shirt)
Starts at Christie Pits Pavillion at 1pm
Closing Reception at Fort York, Blue Barricks at 5:30pm

Another Day In The Urban Jungle


The city has its beasts; rats, pigeons, squirrels, and gulls. Looks like a turkey flew the coop and decided to hit the rooftop patios of the downtown core. (Thanks to sdv for the pics!)

Ah well, another day and another creature in the urban jungle.

Pedal The Don

Beautiful weather, barbecue, and bikes? This Sunday’s Pedal The Don looks to be a great cap to the weekend. From about 1pm to 3pm all are welcome to make the 17km journey along paved trails from Yonge and Lawrence down to the mouth of the Don River. (People are urged to register for this free event). It’s also a family friendly and the suggested participating age is 7 and up.

Pedal The Don
Sunday May 3rd

1pm until approximately 3pm

Ride starts on the South East corner of Yonge St and Lawrence Ave @ Public Library (3083 Yonge Street)
Note: Library will be closed

The 17km ride will be leisurely and informative, with 4 rest stops (approx 10 min each) where you can view the valley and learn about this important area. John Wilson, Chairperson of the Task Force to Bring Back the Don, will provide commentary at each rest stop.

At the end of the ride there will be a cash BBQ to help support the Toronto and Region Conservational Authority.

Bombardier vs. Siemens Canada – Who Won?

The TTC announced today that Bombardier beat out Siemens Canada for a bid to replace Toronto’s aging streetcar fleet. The estimated billion-plus-dollar contract will provide the TTC with new streetcars and replace nearly all of the 30 year old streetcar fleet. There will also be an option to build another 364 cars as light rail service expands.

Siemens Canada had tried to sweeten their deal by pledging to build their streetcars at a local plant. Bombardier, though based in Montreal, already have a factory Thunder Bay (though most if not all of their light rail manufacturing is in Europe).

In the end Toronto really won. By focusing on best practices and the needs of its Toronto riders, the TTC has done the right thing. We may soon have greener, cleaner and more accessible streetcars. A move in the right direction and at a fraction of the cost of a subway.

Porter Air Looking To Push For More Expansion

The battle for the Island continues as Porter Airlines pushes to grow. Robert Deluce, the founder and CEO of Porter Airlines will likely reveal Porter’s expansion plans Monday as federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty and other top officials visit Toronto.

Community AIR and other advocacy groups are upset that efforts are being made to double capacity at the island airport. Porters current fleet of 8 planes is due to be increased by at least 10 aircraft. Groups sight noise and environmental concerns with the airport as short haul flights are of the most polluting form of travel.

With billions of both public and private sector money in waterfront development at stake you can bet that Toronto’s fight for the Toronto Island is far from over.

The Beginning Of The End For Cometic Pesticides?

Public health will trump the need for the perfect front lawn. Starting today Ontario is banning the sale and use of about 250 pesticides and ingredients, including 2,4-D and malathion.

The health risks and environmental impacts of these toxins are well documented (even blogged here). The science behind limiting widespread use of synthetic chemicals is mounting. For once it appears that Ontario is doing its citizens a good service.

Pondering The Shape Of The Green Energy Act

Hoping for the best as the Liberal government unveils their Green Energy Act. Their efforts to start dismantling coal fired power in the province do more than clean the air and improve the health of residents. The flight from socially costly sources of fuel and energy should carry on. Renewables like wind are not “always on” but can definitely minimize the demands placed on other sources of power.

The real challenge is updating our antiquated policies and bylaws that discourage residents and farmers from becoming part of the green energy solution. Better city and rural planning would also minimize waste and maximize our ability to deliver power where and when it is needed.

The concern. Worse than the bailouts for auto dinosaurs, nuclear power, especially talk of refurbishing antiquated (dangerous??) power plants will cost taxpayers billions and for little benefit. If real gains are to be made from investing in our energy infrastructure renewables will be the key. Some groups like Renewable is Doable have long outlined a prudent phase out of Ontario’s current structure and building a real future in Ontario. The abundance of Uranium in Canada is but a small consolation. Uranium is correlated to Oil and yes that means that the cost of going nuclear power has skyrocketed in much the same way as natural gas and gasoline.

Ontario doesn’t need to go big to go far. Reduce demands on the grid and provide incentives for the little guy (businesses and individuals that sell back to the grid) and you’ll see that green, from hydro, wind or solar, can improve or trump our current energy mix. Investing in infrastructure that reaps benefits of “free” sources of energy is simply investing in Ontario’s future.

The Nature Of Cities

Toronto Star columnist Christopher Hume is featured on the Nature of Things tonight. Tonight’s episode, The Living City, will focus on what is wrong and going right in Canada’s urban centres.

Taxpayers and politicians should take note. This show is timely and tack on. City planning seems too often to be in the hands get rich quick developers. This kind of thinking/debate could improve our city, economy and standard of living. The talk of Infrastructure is everywhere. With 80% of the population living urban areas planning how and where we spend millions is the key to maximizing effectiveness and benefit to residents.

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