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Jane Fonda among the 10,000 demonstrators at historical Toronto climate rally

Last weekend, more than 10,000 people marched for climate action in a Toronto rally that attracted the likes of Jane Fonda and David Suzuki. Its message was precedent-setting for one big reason, according to The Guardian: an emphasis on the notion that tackling climate change can make for a more fair and equitable society. 

“I’m here because I think that the coalition that is represented in today’s march and rally, and not just today but ongoing in Canada — First Nations, labour unions, working people, students — this is the kind of coalition that will make the difference,” said Fonda. 

Read the whole story here.
Source: The Guardian. 

Toronto ranks third in annual Scorecard on Prosperity

Toronto climbed to third place in the annual Scorecard on Prosperity rankings, reaching its highest score yet since the Toronto Region Board of Trade began measuring cities five years ago.
 
The report compares 24 cities on a number of detailed livability and economic performance indicators to determine global leaders in overall prosperity.  Toronto, like many of the cities benchmarked, has benefited from the poor performance of other cities, but still a number of dynamics have contributed to our rise in the rankings.  
 
"In third place, Toronto moves up from sixth in Scorecard 2013, again drawing on a strong performance in labour attractiveness, and boosted by some improved economic rankings. For the second consecutive year, Toronto ranks higher than all other U.S. metros. Overall, Toronto placed third on Labour Attractiveness and 12th on Economy. It is worth pointing out that Toronto's higher composite score on the Economy is the story of resilience and economic potential but not yet the story of continued growth and momentum in absolute terms," the report states.
 
Paris maintained its number one status in part thanks to its "labour attractiveness indicators" and its status as the "world leader on air quality and cultural occupations." Calgary followed at second overall, the report cites, as the city "continues to show strong income and employment growth, while maintaining a favourable Total Tax Index."
 
Although the city still has some work to do before we can be compared to Paris, Toronto showed great strides in several areas. 
 
"Toronto's scores and ranking improved on six of the indicators; most notably on teachers per 1,000 school-age population, population with Bachelor's degrees or higher, and homicides per 100,000 population," the report says. "Toronto has been among the world leaders in the Labour Attractiveness domain, because of the region's diversity, excellent student-teacher ratio, steady population growth, and overall solid results on water and air quality."
 
To read the full report, click here.
Original Source: Toronto Region Board of Trade

Oakville's Oliberté the world's first Fair Trade Certified shoe company

Tal Dehtiar was in Sarnia earlier this month to describe how his company, Oliberté, became the world's first shoe company to be Fair Trade Certified by Fair Trade USA.
 
It all started when Dehtiar, then in his twenties, met a shoe salesman at a market in Liberia. A passion for business and a penchant for curiosity, Dehtiar asked him how business was. "Not good, the man replied," as the Observer describes. Local shoe salesmen were losing out to free charity handouts and couldn't survive, not even on low prices. 
 
Dehtiar later launched Oliberté Footwear, which manufactures its shows in "leather shoes with rubber soles in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, providing its workers with more than double the country's typical minimum wage and helping lift native Ethiopians out of poverty," according to the article. 
 
"We build our shoes in one of the most difficult parts of the world," Dehtiar is quotes as saying to about 75 people at the keynote presentation as part of Sarnia-Lambton Business Week. 

The company's factory opened last year and currently employs 70 workers. It's now a multi-million-dollar company in "a part of the world that was largely foreign to him." However, "Owning the factory means the company determines how its workers are treated."
 
"We'll never be the biggest shoe company in the world, but we'll always be the most ethical and the best," Dehtiar says in the article. "Hopefully other companies will follow.
 
Read the full story here
Original Source: The Observer

Community-backed solar roof goes online

Toronto's first ever community-backed rooftop solar installation has begun generating clean and renewable energy. Known as the Goodmark Project, the 100 kW installation operates via a partnership between two of Canada's powerhouses: "Bullfrog Power – a 100% green energy provider; and SolarShare – who have installed 20 community-backed solar units in Ontario," an article that ran in PV Magazine reports. 
 
"Community participation is the crucial difference between Goodmark and the typical Ontario renewable energy project," said SolarShare president, Mike Brigham, in the article. "Citizens who are eager to promote green energy but may not have the means or the rooftop to install their own projects can pool their resources and finance community projects, earning a financial return from project revenue."
 
Community-backed power is becoming more common and in a variety of ways. Earlier this year we told you about the Toronto Zoo's new community-backed biofuel plant that will begin converting animal waste into energy by next summer.

"Seeing the Bullfrog Power and SolarShare communities come together is what we are all about – supporting the development of new renewable energy projects that people can see in their communities," said Josephine Coombe, Bullfrog Power’s Vp for sales and marketing, in the article.

Read the full story here
Original source: PV Magazine

Highlights from TEDxToronto

The fifth annual TEDxToronto conference took place October 26 at the Royal Conservatory of Music. It's one of the largest independently organized TEDx events in the world and, according to a highlight report that ran in BlogTO, approximately 1,000 hand-chosen delegates attended. 
 
Among the highlights listed, a flash mob ukulele performance by the Ukulele Gangsters, which took place at the beginning of the conference.
 
Highlights that would be of particular interest to Yonge Street readers included Darrell Bricker, the former Director of Research for the Prime Ministers office. "Bricker has always tried to use numbers to tell the story behind the scenes. He spoke at length about the manner in which power is shifting from the 416 to the 905, which is redefining both our city and the GTA as a whole," BlogTO wrote. "Another key subject he discussed was the shrinking Canadian birth rate, which is going to make it extremely tough to support the aging population."
 
Also, Joel MacCharles, who has "been helping to foster the farmer's market movement in Toronto. By teaching people the benefits of preserving food and eating locally, Joel has altered kitchens around Toronto with some of his 1,700 articles on food-related topics," the article says. 
 
Also Steve Mann, considered the "father of wearable computers" for his Google Glass-like inventions dating back to the 1970s. "Mann is a believer in wearing personal cameras to ensure his own safety in what he calls sousveillance," BlogTO summarizes. "Mann combined his discussion on safety with the shooting of Sammy Yatim, stating that videos taken by people outside the streetcar were a strong factor leading to the officer being charged. He also believes everyone should be able to record their entire life, because if buildings and businesses are allowed to record us at all times, why aren't we allowed to record them in return?"
 
Not mentioned in the highlight reel was Gabrielle Scrimshaw's talk about how now, more than ever, is the time to pay attention to Aboriginal issues as more than half the Aboriginal population is under 25 and gearing up to enter the workforce. Background on Scrimshaw and her work can be found in this feature Yonge Street ran in Decemebr of last year.
 
The talks will be made available in the coming weeks. In the meantime, the introductory video explaining Toronto's history is a must watch.
 
 
Read the full story here
Source: BlogTO

An overview of Toronto as Canada's largest city

Toronto's population has grown more than 100,000 in the past year "equivalent of a new city on its own," says an article that ran in Daily Commercial News exploring Canada's six largest cities, the home of one in every two Canadians. 
 
"Toronto has the highest population, 5.9 million, followed by Montreal (4.0 million), Vancouver (2.5 million), Calgary and Ottawa-Gatineau (each 1.3 million) and Edmonton (1.2 million)," the article says. 
 
The two-part series based their findings on population figures from Statistics Canada's census metropolitan areas (CMAS) which including downtown cores and "surrounding highly-integrated suburbs."
 
The findings reveal some interesting trends. "One in six Canadians lives in the Toronto CMA. Toronto is a 'behemoth' on the national scene," the article says. "Toronto has a strong financial sector, excellent academic institutions, vibrant broadcasting, communications and entertainment companies and ongoing manufacturing activity, with a solid base of auto assembly plants."
 
The article notes a few things that threaten Toronto on an international level, pointing out potential problems with the adoption of Michigan's "right to work" legislation which may threaten our province's auto industry, the article says. It also notes Mayor Rob Ford's media spectacles and the heavy construction activity in the city.
 
"The city is gearing up to host the 2015 PanAm Games, which will see the participation of more athletes than gather in one place during the Olympics."
 
One more interesting thing, according to the Statistics Toronto is a "largely business-oriented" population, compared to the West Coat's chill environmental and "artistic slant on life."
 
Read the full profiles here and here
Original source: Daily Commercial News

Daniels Spectrum ArtScape's most successful capital fundraising campaign to date

A new report issued by ArtScape states that its $10-million capital fundraising campaign for Daniels Spectrum helped make 2012 the company's most successful fundraising year in its history. 
 
Daniels Spectrum, located in the Regent Park neighbourhood, was a $38-million development, making it a "major catalyst for the $1+ billion revitalization of Regent Park," the report states. Located at 585 Dundas St. East, the 60,000 sq. ft building opened last year to support seven non-profit arts and social-mission organizations as well as to become a central events space in the neighbourhood. 
 
The building helped Artscape, a non-profit that provides affordable studio and housing for artists and their families, increase revenue to more than $2-million, or 33 per cent in one year. The building is built to LEED silver standards. 
 
Beyond Daniels Spectrum, the report highlights the success of its many creative placemaking initiatives. Yonge Street highlighted some of this recently in a profile on creative placemaking, which is the intentional use of the arts to transform a neighbourhood or city. 
 
The report states that Artscape's 1,348 tenants held 1,720 events in Artscape buildings and around the city in 2012. 
 
"We learned that our spaces help to build Artscape tenants’ profiles and allow them to build their practices. Our research into market rents revealed that our 2012 subsidy to our tenants equalled close to $2.5-million. And with more staff and volunteers than ever before, we are better equipped to deliver greater impacts and to create the conditions in which artists can thrive," the report states.
 
Read the full report here
Original Source: Artscape

By Tyler. Chris Tyler from Toronto, Canada [CC-BY-SA-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons
 

Green roofs sprout up in Toronto in record numbers

The Daily Commercial News (DCN) has gathered the results of the Annual Green Roof Industry Survey and it's good news for Toronto. The city has, "experienced a 33 per cent growth in the installation of green roofs across the city," the article says.
 
The Toronto Metropolitan Region installed 338,310 square feet of green roofs in 2012, more than 100,000 more than the previous year. Toronto has more green roofs than anywhere else in Canada, but fourth overall in North America, falling behind Washington, Chicago and New York City. 
 
"Through the Green Roof Bylaw, the City of Toronto has required over 250 development applications to include green roofs, totalling 170,000 square metres of new green roof in Toronto,” Jane Welsh, project manager of environmental planning with the City of Toronto, says in the article. 
 
Read the full story here
Original source: Daily Commercial News

Waterfront makeover great for Canadian economy

A new study released by Waterfront Toronto provides deep insights into its role in the Canadian economy. "Toronto’s waterfront project has injected $3.2 billion into the Canadian economy and has created 16,200 full-time years of employment, according to economic research firm, urbanMetrics," says an article that appeared in the Daily Commercial News.
 
"The tri-government effort to revitalize our waterfront is an increasingly important driver for economic development in Toronto,"Toronto City Councillor Michael Thompson, Chair of Economic Development and Culture Committee, says in the article. "Ultimately it is helping Toronto compete with other leading global cities for investment, jobs and people."
 
The waterfront's revitalization prompted an additional $2.6 billion in development projects altogether, including the 2015 Pan/Parapan American Games Athlete's Village, River City Condominums and Monde Condominiums. The article reports these constructions will "put another $2.2 billion in to the Canadian economy and generate $1.17 billion in labour income." 

Once complete, "the revitalization project would add $12.9 billion to the economy and $4.9 billion in revenue to all three levels of government. The City of Toronto will receive an additional $252 million toward future infrastructure projects as well as $105 million annually in property tax revenue."
 
Additional reports say there are 44 recent or planned developments in the works. 
 
Read the full story here
Original Source: Daily Commercial News

Buzz over local artist's upcoming sewer tunnel photography exhibit

Michael Cook has been documenting Toronto's drain and sewage tunnels for almost a decade in an effort to raise "awareness about city sewage problems." His photography captures tunnels, rarely seen by the public eye, in a fascinating light, exposing their various constructions and materials. 
 
Though his work is beautiful from an art perspective, he tells the Atlantic Cities that the awareness facet is his biggest concern.
 
"In the city, people are very interested in getting involved in things like this," Cook told the publication. "But they need to be able to understand and see those systems to make substantive change on this issue. One of the reasons that it's been so difficult to get traction around the issues of water in the city is that the infrastructure is completely invisible."
 
In an extensive Q&A, 30-year-old Cook goes on to say, "My position on all that is to be able to have an honest and public conversation about all those issues, we really need to be able to see sewers and know them as real places. Residents need to be able to think of them as components in the places that they live. And for that they need to be able to know them visually and spatially. So putting these photographs out there has always been an important part of my practice."
 
His work will be featured as part of Toronto's annual Scotiabank CONTACT photography festival that runs May 1-31 at more than 175 venues throughout the GTA, including various subway stations. Cook's exhibit, Under this Ground, will feature 45 images viewable along St. Patrick Station's subway platform. 
 
Incidentally, Yonge Street's photography editor Tanja Tiziana will also be featuring her work as part of the CONTACT festival in the exhibit called Memory and Context, taking place at the MJG Gallery (555 Parliament St).
 
Read the full story here.
Original Source: The Atlantic Cities

David Suzuki grades Toronto's enviro standings

David Suzuki and his Foundation's communications specialist Jode Roberts wrote a piece for Post City this week grading Toronto on its environmental and sustainability efforts. The "report card" notes many of the things the city is doing well, placing a large emphasis on the city's various parks and park initiatives.
 
Toronto's Park People, a network of more than 80 parks groups from across the city, were credited with providing innovations in the use of public space. "From installing outdoor brick tandoori and pizza ovens to hosting farmers markets and a litany of cultural festivals, more and more neighbourhood parks are becoming dynamic, vibrant hubs. And the good news continued last month with the announcement that the Garfield Weston Foundation will be supporting innovative new projects with $5 million in funding over the next three years. Watch for exciting things to happen in a park near you," Suzuki and Roberts wrote in the report.
 
They also applauded one of their own efforts, a new project that aims to establish a "Homegrown National Park in the heart of the city by creating a vibrant green corridor following former path of Garrison Creek, one of Toronto's most important lost rivers." The project will involve the planting of native trees and shrubs, as well as "cultivating bird- and big-friendly gardens and growing food in backyards and balconies" between Dovercourt and Bathurst, stretching from Dupont to the waterfront. 
 
Toronto's "urban dwellers" also helped the city out, especially considering the City of Toronto released a Biodiversity in the City series of booklets exploring the various critters that live among us. These books are available at libraries and for download.
 
However, the city lots marks for the high number of bird deaths ("Toronto buildings are estimated to kill at least one million birds each year"), the advent of "fracking" as a home heating measure, and the possibility of potentially hazardous pipeline leaks that may come as a result of piping oil from Alberta's tar sands through Ontario's Line 9. 
 
Overall, Suzuki and Roberts are pleased. "Toronto is on track to have an unprecedented green boom this year."
 
Read the full report card here
Original source: Post City 

Green with envy over UoT Mississauga's Instructional Centre

The Univeristy of Toronto's Mississauga campus has caught the attention of sustainability publication Treehugger for its award winning Instructional Centre. 
 
Featuring a gallery that highlight's some of the building's greatest attributes, Treehugger pays homage to the Centre's many integrated photovoltaics, solar panels that convert light into energy, as well as its student lounges that overlook green roofs planted with indigenous meadow grasses. The solar panels are unique in that they also offer shading in the centre's main east west corridor and centre staircase while simultaneously providing clean energy throughout the building. An additional star attribute, the building's geothermal system that heats and cools the building, is hidden beneath a playing field. 
 
The Centre is the creation of architects Perkins + Wills, known for their green educational buildings, as well as design principal Andrew Frontini, a master at crafting breathtaking fixtures. He chose to "clad the building insides and out in copper," which Treehugger points out isn't the greenest of materials, but one that certainly lasts a long time "if it isn't stolen." 
 
"This is certainly not the greenest educational building that Perkins + Will has turned out; that would probably be Peter Busby's Centre for Interactive Research and Technology. But it is lovely to look at and combines such generosity of comfort, luxury and sustainable features. Leonard Shore would be proud," Treehugger says. 
 
View the gallery here
Original Source: Treehugger

A sneak peek at what goes on at the Ontario Food Terminal

More than one million tons of produce and horticultural products pass through the Ontario Food Terminal annually, making it "one of the largest wholesale produce distribution centres in Canada and the third-largest in North America," the Produce News reports. So when an opportunity came for the publication to get a sneak peak at what happens behind the scenes, they were eager to chronicle the tour.
 
The resulting story is one that accounts how the terminal, easily viewable when driving on the Gardiner Expressway, operates. The terminal consists of 21 warehouse tenants and a four-acre farmer's market comprised of Ontario growers, which is open to the 5,000 registered buyers but not to the public. It is open every day, but Sundays are the busiest, receiving "roughly 600-850 pallets and an average of 25 tractor-trailer loads in a 12-hour period."  
 
The terminal supports, "local farmers, local fruit and vegetable stores, independent and chain supermarkets, retailers, restauranteurs, foodservice, caterers, farmers’ markets, farm gate markets, florists, garden centres, landscapers, convenience stores and institutions," according to its website.
 
The Produce News provides an overview of the terminal's operations:
 
"Since 1954, the Ontario Food Terminal has been located in the Toronto district of Etobicoke. The distribution center boasts a central cold-storage area that includes 19 rooms with temperatures set from 32-45 degrees Fahrenheit. The rooms are set individually to meet the storage needs of a variety of commodities from carrots to tomatoes. There is approximately 100,000 square feet of storage available in the coolers. Some of the new portions of the building have racking systems available in the cold-storage rooms."
 
The terminal is closed to the public, but it does occasionally have open houses according to its website, though no upcoming dates are listed. 
 
Read the full story here
Original Source: The Produce News
 

NanoLight exceeds Kickstarter goals tenfold

In last week's innovation and job news, we told you about NanoLight, a new lightbulb spearheaded by three University of Toronto graduates. At the time of the article, the trio had recently launched their Kickstarter campaign with hopes of raising $20,000 to fund what they promise to be the most energy efficient light bulb ever made. Now, one week later and still with time to go, the group has raised more than $235,000 in pledges and counting.
 
An article in Inquisitr reports on the NanoLight's early success. At the time of the article, 4,700 people had backed the project (it has since grown closer to 5,000). Kickstarter works by allowing anyone to help fund a project, usually for an incentive. For $30, backers both support the project and will also receive one 10 watt NanoLight, equivalent to a 75 watt bulb. Many of the group's packages have already sold out. 
 
Gimmy Chu, one of the NanoLight's founders, told Yonge Street that each NanoLight provides 30,000 hours of illumination. 

The light bulbs are expected to begin shipping in May. Following this, the team will begin working on additional highly efficient light bulbs.
 
Read the full article here
Read the Yonge Street interview here.
Original Source: Inquisitr

Leaders in the 'locavore' movement

It may be cold and snowy in Toronto, but that's not stopping anyone from firing up pizzas in Dufferin Grove Park's outdoor oven, noticed the New York Times. The NYT identifies Toronto as a leader in the "locavore" movement; a sustainability initiative that involves eating locally produced food. With more than 30 markets in the city and 90 in the region, Toronto has become a bona fide hub for locally produced food all year round. 
 
"Toronto has embraced the trend with particular fervor," writes Sarah Wildman.
 
"Up until a few years ago we had hardly any markets in the city, but it has really exploded," John RichLeMonde, the director of Sorauren Park Farmers' Market, told the Times. He says markets inspire the growth of more markets, transforming neighbourhoods along the way. 
 
Wildman writes that Dufferin Grove Park, "was once a postage stamp of green in a rough neighborhood that has vastly improved, some say because of the market's success since its arrival a decade ago. Dufferin Grove is a tremendous draw: on Friday nights, large communal dinners are cooked on site. The park has two giant outdoor wood-fired ovens where bread is baked and sold. It is also the site of a free ice skating rink."
 
RichLeMonde continued: "People are interested in buying more locally, and that's starting to become mainstream... There's a sense that we are building the future economy."
 
The Dufferin Grove Park farmer's market runs every Thursday from 3 to 7 p.m. just south of Bloor and Dufferin.
 
Read the full story here.
Original source: The New York Times
58 sustainability Articles | Page: | Show All
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