Earth Hour events in Toronto are part of a worldwide celebration of community and environment that takes place on March 28 at 8:30pm, and this year the city seems poised to renew its efforts to ensure that the annual hour of darkness makes a real difference. Ever since 2009, when our city powered down the most -- bringing our energy consumption down by 15.5 percent -- we've been struggling to come anywhere close to that number.
Maybe this year will break the cycle. Whether you see it as an easy opportunity to go green, a rare chance to see the stars in the Toronto night sky or simply a great excuse to pass out early, Earth Hour is anything but a dull moment in our metropolis. Here's what's going down in the city on the night everything goes dark.
Lights Out with Mill Street
Beer lovers and tree huggers alike are flocking to their favourite local dives for this classic Earth Hour event hosted by Mill Street Brewery -- a series of candlelit parties held in bars across the city that celebrate community and the environment with craft beer and live acoustic performances by bands from Indie Week.
Free Astro Tour at U of T's Earth Science Centre
Earth Hour just got a bit nerdier. The University of Toronto is offering complimentary Astro Tours at its Earth Science Centre, an experience that will include planetarium shows, telescope observing, chances to chat one-on-one with astronomers and talks by Bryan Graensler, astronomer and author of Extreme Cosmos. Festivities start at 6:00 p.m.
Earth Hour Walk at Lambton House
Grab a flashlight, lantern or candle and head to the Lambton House on Old Dundas Street, for a walk along the valley and (if the ice permits) across the Humber River. The guided walk begins at 8:00 p.m. and will reconvene afterwards for hot spiced apple cider and some good, old-fashioned story-telling at the historic former inn.
The Beaches 3rd Annual Earth Hour Lights Out! Event
This one's for the romantics. From sunset to light-out, this annual gathering at Kew Gardens makes the most of the hour of darkness with live entertainment by the Muhtadi International Drummers and local artists AnimalKyngdom and Dale K. Kones, a guided drum circle, dancing, a Lights Out ceremony and draw prizes, all under the light of candles and paper lanterns.
Roncy Earth Hour Walk
Grab a torch of some kind and spend Earth Hour trekking from the Dundas & Roncesvalles Peace Garden to Grafton Park in honour of the businesses and homes who were good sports and snuffed out the lights.
A romantic candlelit meal is much less cliche when you're doing it for a good cause. The Royal York Hotel lights over a 1000 candles during Earth Hour, while Toula at the Westin Harbour Castle offers a three-course dinner 38 storeys high, where the view of an unlit Toronto is one of the best the best you'll find (especially while shovelling Ontario organic apple fritters into your mouth).
Writing by Amanda Storey.
Photo by Don Toye
by Staff via blogTO