TORONTO, April 13, 2012 /CNW/ - This evening, the City of Toronto in partnership with Green Living Enterprises announced the winners of the 2012 Green Toronto Awards at a ceremony at Exhibition Place. The City's environmental awards of excellence recognize the individuals, organizations and companies helping to lead the way to a cleaner, greener Toronto.
Nine winners, one in each award category, were announced from the Main Stage of the Green Living Show, as friends and family of the 27 finalists and the public looked on. "We are inspired by your leadership and dedication to our environment," said Councillor Shelley Carroll (Ward 33 Don Valley East), Vice Chair of the City's Economic Development Committee, who gave the opening remarks and presented the Green Business Award. "On behalf of the City and residents of Toronto, I thank you." For their outstanding contribution to the greening of Toronto, each winner received a prestigious Green Toronto Award and $5,000 courtesy of award sponsors to further their work on the environment or donate to a registered charity of their choice.
2012 Green Toronto Award Winners
Community Projects Award: Friends of the Rouge Watershed, Youth and Community Greening Rouge Park
Friends of the Rouge Watershed and partners worked tirelessly for nearly two decades to have the Carolinian Forests and rare species of Rouge Park protected. In 2011, their hard work paid off: a decision was made to create a federally protected Rouge National Park. In the meantime, Friends of the Rouge Watershed persisted in their efforts to increase watershed awareness and community environmental stewardship. In 2011, they involved more than 3,000 community volunteers in planting 89,000 native trees, shrubs and wildflowers, and restored 28 hectares of Rouge watershed sites to support 10 national species at risk.
Energy Conservation Award: ecobee Inc.
The mission of ecobee is to help consumers conserve energy, save money and reduce their environmental impact through innovative automated HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) controls. Thanks to ecobee's innovative, customer-friendly technology such as Wi-Fi-enabled thermostats, more than 80 per cent of ecobee customers run an energy saving program on their thermostat, in contrast to the North American average of 23 per cent, and the average ecobee customer achieves annual energy savings of 26 per cent. In addition, ecobee makes an impact in the utility market, with various projects that leverage its user-friendly innovations.
Green Business Award: Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre
Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre is a steward of the environment, committed to reducing its dependence on non-renewable energy and reducing waste within the hospital. It achieved the reductions through a number of programs, including a $28-million energy and facility renewal program, which resulted in a savings of $1.6 million. Initiatives included the installation of a "cool roof," a partnership with Smart Commute, and a new waste management program. Sunnybrook's annual Earth Matters showcase event also raises the environmental awareness of its employees and the community.
Environmental Awareness Award: Ocean Wise, Toronto Office
Ocean Wise is a conservation program that educates and empowers consumers to choose sustainable seafood through innovative, proactive networking. Ocean Wise works with restaurants, markets, food services and suppliers, ensuring that they have the most current scientific information required to make ocean-friendly buying decisions. In turn, these options are highlighted on their menus and display cases with the Ocean Wise symbol, making it easier for consumers to choose environmentally friendly seafood. In 2011, Ocean Wise expanded its Toronto partner base by 65 per cent. Each year, all GTA partners combined have eliminated 10,000 pounds of unsustainable seafood from their menus.
Youth Leadership Award: Natalie Rizzo
Natalie Rizzo spearheaded a series of grassroots projects to create a bottled-water-free culture in the Toronto Catholic District School Board (TCDSB) - the largest of its kind in Canada. The initiatives included letters to 201 school principals, as well as school newspaper articles and a 2,000-plus signed petition. Rizzo also organized the TCDSB's national bottled-water-free day student rally, which grew into a nation-wide event that encourages people to take a stand in support of the planet and against the privatization of water resources. By September 2012, the TCDSB will be bottled-water free.
Green Design Award: The Centre for Green Cities at Evergreen Brick Works,
Diamond Schmitt Architects
The Centre for Green Cities is more than a green building that is targeting the first LEED Platinum heritage status in Canada. The building at Evergreen Brick Works is a testament to sustainable design and practice, embodying creative design to lower its carbon footprint. One example of innovation - which supports Evergreen's mission to bring together nature, culture and community - is the building's track system. It enables moveable screens, window boxes and large-scale art installations to be fastened to the building's exterior, providing a community canvas that also serves as solar shading. The Centre for Green Cities shows by example what can be accomplished to promote energy efficiency and historical preservation while designing a versatile, engaging space.
Water Efficiency Award: Water-on-Wheels
Water-on-Wheels (WOW) provides mobile water stations at events to allow guests to refill their re-usable water bottles on site. WOW helps festivals, athletic events, concerts and other public events keep guests hydrated where drinking fountains and other sustainable water sources do not exist. Since launching in 2010, WOW has significantly decreased the presence, waste and harmful environmental effects of commercial bottled water at events. Last year, WOW diverted more than 100,000 disposable water bottles from consumption by distributing more than 200,000 litres of municipal tap water to event patrons.
Leadership Award: Chris Winter
Chris Winter has been a catalyst for positive and creative change in Ontario's conservation movement since 1984, using an approach of low-cost networking and collaboration. Chris helped to organize several major action plans and campaigns, including Jane's Walk and the Doors Closed campaign. As Executive Director of the Conservation Council of Ontario, Winter assists more than 50 organizations, businesses, municipalities and individuals dedicated to conservation and a healthy environment. Winter also sets an example by practising conservation in his home life, including living in an EnerGuide-rated home.
Local Food Award: Not Far From the Tree
Toronto's own fruit-picking project, Not Far From the Tree, has proven itself to be a leader in the city's local food scene. This volunteer project, launched in 2008, has expanded its scope from seven city neighbourhoods to 14, and leverages nearly 1,000 volunteers. Not Far From the Tree ensures that fruit is picked from trees across the city before the fruit falls to the ground. The bounty is shared in the neighbourhoods and one-third of it goes to community food programs such as food banks, shelters and drop-in meal programs, using sustainable transportation. Not Far From the Tree addresses social and environmental issues, promotes food security and sustainability, and reawakens urban ecology.
More information about the Green Toronto Awards is available at http://www.toronto.ca/greentorontoawards.
More information about The Green Living Show, on now through April 15, is available at http://www.greenlivingonline.com.
Toronto is Canada's largest city and sixth largest government, and home to a diverse population of about 2.7 million people. Toronto's government is dedicated to delivering customer service excellence, creating a transparent and accountable government, reducing the size and cost of government and building a transportation city. For information on non-emergency City services and programs, Toronto residents, businesses and visitors can dial 311, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
For further information:
Media contact: Valerie Cassells, Senior Communication Coordinator, City of Toronto, 416-392-8306, [email protected]