Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Sun Sets on 2nd Annual Solar & Conservation Fair

As mentioned in an earlier post, Wakulat|Law Principal Rob Wakulat teamed up with local Business Improvement Areas in the Etobicoke Lakeshore community and volunteers from the Environmental Planning Committee of the LAMP Community Health Centre to put on a one-day Solar & Conservation Fair dedicated to showcasing sustainability initiatives. A key theme was empowering local communities to explore taking on their own sustainability projects and, in particular, the opportunity presented by community power.

On Saturday September 10, 2011, the Assembly Hall played host to over 20 exhibitors, 13 speakers and over 200 attendees. Event highlights included:

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Chocosol Solar Roaster
  • Welcome speech by local MPP Laurel Broten who travelled the province as Minister of the Environment (2005-2007) in support of the legislative and committee process that introduced the Green Energy and Green Economy Act to Ontario;
  • A prototype solar roaster built by Lorin Symington and the Chocosol team used to roast cacao beans for onsite sampling;
  • The University of Waterloo's Midnight Sun Solar Race Team with last year's solar car used for competing in international solar car competitions;
  • Local business owner Jim McNeil explaining why he decided to make Canclone Services the first solar-powered printer in Toronto; 
  • Information from speaker Matthew Zipchen about the recently launched SolarShare initiative which allows any Ontarian to invest in $1,000 community solar bonds, with a 5-year term and 5% annual return;
  • Samples of generously donated organic and locally-sourced refreshments from Front Door Organics, The Village Butcher, Fresh City Farms and Social Coffee & Tea Company
  • Book signing by author, columnist and Cleanbreak blogger Tyler Hamilton for his new book Mad Like Tesla; and
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     University of Waterloo Midnight Sun Solar Race Team
  • Environmental author and speaker Jim Harris delivering the end-of-day keynote speech that explained how going green is good for business.
The Fair encouraged people who not only care about reducing their environmental footprint to gather and discuss ideas, but also those people interested in learning about how to benefit financially from taking on green initiatives. Attendees were able to check out seminars on topics such as rooftop solar technology, community power, green careers and energy conservation through landscaping. Exhibitors provided insight into their sustainable food options, solar technology, and community capacity building.

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The donated delectables.

Even though Ontario has implemented the Green Energy and Green Economy Act, not all communities have easy access to the knowledge and tools required to participate in this emerging sustainable economy. The event was designed to bring useful information to businesses, residents and community groups who are normally quite busy and don’t necessarily have the time to research how they can participate in the province’s emerging green economy.

The Fair was an example of community spirit, created and planned with the participation of local business associations, dedicated volunteers and non-profit community groups who share a passion for a cleaner, healthier and prosperous future.

Key support for the event was provided from the local BIAs, TABIA, Bullfrog Power and Toronto Hydro.
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Event sponsor Toronto Hydro with materials promoting energy efficiency.

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