Toronto's Entertainment District Powers Down During WWF's ANNUAL EARTH HOUR

TORONTO, March 27, 2015 /CNW/ - Businesses in Toronto's Entertainment District are turning their lights down low and lighting up candles in support of the World Wildlife Fund's (WWF) ninth annual Earth Hour. When this year's Earth Hour begins at 8:30 p.m. on March 28, 2015, lights will go out for one hour at several of the Entertainment District's most notable landmarks.

Earth Hour is a global event created by the WWF to help raise awareness and assemble hundreds of millions of people to share the opportunities and challenges of creating a sustainable world http://www.wwf.ca/events/earthhour/. In 2008, several members of the Entertainment District were early adopters of the concept and among the first to register their participation.

Visitors to the District will once again have an opportunity to partake in this global event by witnessing a variety of Earth Hour initiatives taking place at some of Toronto's most iconic buildings.

The CN Tower, one of the District's founding Earth Hour participants, defines the Toronto skyline, at a height of 553.33m (1,815 feet, 5 inches). It is Canada's National Tower, an engineering wonder and Toronto's must see attraction visited by over 1.5 million people annually. The Tower's famous exterior lighting (with the exception of aircraft safety lights) will be turned off for Earth Hour, and the management will also utilize other ways to decrease consumption inside the Tower by reducing or turning off non-life safety interior lights, signage and monitors on all levels. The Upper Observation Level lighting is currently lowered as much as safely possible to provide best views.

Roy Thomson Hall at 60 Simcoe Street will turn off all exterior lighting (roof and bollards) for the duration of Earth Hour; the lights of the Simcoe Street marquee and all interior bar lighting will be turned off for 30 minutes to accommodate the conclusion of that night's concert.

The Metro Toronto Convention Centre (MTCC) will be turning off all non-essential lighting, signage, LCD screens and escalators during Earth Hour. MTCC will also provide suggestions for activities that employees can enjoy at home with their families to increase participation and awareness.

Nearby Rogers Centre, one of the world's premiere sports venues and stadiums, is showing its support for Earth Hour by turning off its signs on the building's exterior, roof lights and most exterior canopy lighting.

South of Front Street, at Air Canada Centre, all exterior advertising and search lights will be turned off and the lights dimmed on the concourses for the entire evening of the Earth Hour observations. The neighbouring Steam Whistle Brewing company will also have its lights dimmed and will support the observances with a candlelight glow over the course of Earth Hour.

Oxford Properties will once again participate in Earth Hour by turning off their lights in all of their buildings. Emergency lighting will remain on during the hour and security systems and elevators will also remain in operation to ensure an acceptable level of safety and convenience.  Every year, following the event, the buildings continue their joint landlord-tenant initiative in going beyond Earth Hour by ensuring lighting schedules are aligned with people's core working hours. Why are they doing this? Utility costs represent the largest portion of the operating costs tenants pay after taxes. Electricity is approximately 70 per cent of a tenant's utility costs, and up to 40 per cent of this can be after hours. The main driver of this ongoing initiative is to reduce after-hours lighting throughout tenant spaces. By scaling back the light schedules by one extra hour each day, Oxford office tenants could save enough electricity to power over 200,000 homes for a year. Oxford Properties also expands its observation of Earth Hour in the District across all of their office buildings, shopping centres, hotels, industrial and residential buildings in Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, Vancouver, Edmonton and Calgary.

Further north, all non-essential lights at Bell Media's iconic Queen Street West building will be shut off, and all signage will go dark for the sixty-minute period.

Four District hotels will participate in Earth Hour observances. The longest standing hotel participant, with nine years of Earth Hour participation to its credit, is The Fairmont Royal York.  Its Sustainability Team will turn off all exterior lights and reduce the lobby's lighting.  In addition, Epic Restaurant, Benihana Japanese Steakhouse and Library Bar---and the hotel's newly renovated Health Club will be illuminated by candlelight while all other lighting is turned off.  Guests will also be encouraged to participate in this movement by turning off their guest room lights. Further down Front Street West, the InterContinental Toronto Centre Hotel will advise guests about the event and encourage them to participate. The hotel will also have lights turned off in some public areas such as elevator landings on guest floors and will also dim the lobby lights. On Wellington Street The Ritz-Carlton, Toronto will also be dimming lights of the lobby and surrounding public areas.  The TOCA Restaurant will also feature organic wine and the DEQ Lounge will serve special Earth Hour organic cocktails.  The newest Earth Hour hotel participant is the recently opened Delta Toronto.  It joins the Earth Hour sustainable hospitality line-up with its lobby lights dimmed, a guestroom lights-out program and specialty themed hors d'oeuvres, created by Executive Chef Dan Craig, to be served in the lobby over Earth Hour.

According to Janice Solomon, Executive Director of the Toronto Entertainment District Business Improvement Area, "On Saturday, March 28, 2015 the District joins the participation of six continents, 1200 countries in 24 time zones. Our District members will show their support for WWF's Earth Hour with reduced lighting on many landmarks. By turning the power down during this symbolic hour, our members are proactively engaging in greater awareness surrounding climate change. We are proud to participate along with the hundreds of millions of people worldwide."

About the Toronto Entertainment District Business Improvement Area:

Established in 2008, TOED's mandate is to promote, improve and preserve a dynamic area of Toronto. Benefitting from economic, environmental and social factors driving downtown growth, the Entertainment District is in the midst of a renaissance, firmly establishing itself as a thriving and vibrant district for living, creating, working and entertainment. From Air Canada Centre to the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts, the Entertainment District includes many of Toronto's most iconic buildings. In the heart of the District is the CN Tower, Steam Whistle Brewing, Ripley's Aquarium of Canada, Metro Toronto Convention Centre, MetroCentre, Rogers Centre, Roy Thomson Hall, Princess of Wales Theatre, Royal Alexandra Theatre and TIFF Bell Lightbox (www.torontoed.com).

SOURCE Toronto Entertainment District Business Improvement Area

For further information: Janice Solomon, Executive Director, Toronto Entertainment District BIA, 416-926-1337, jsolomon@torontoed.com; torontoed.com; facebook.com/torontoed; twitter: @toronto_ed

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