Ward 21’s EcoFair Brings Eco-Friendly Causes to the Community | SAVE THE DATE

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Community EcoFair is Growing Along with Interest in Enviro Issues

The EcoFair is coming back to Wychwood Barns this November for its ninth consecutive year.

A joint effort from local groups Green Neighbours 21 and Transition Toronto, Ward 21’s EcoFair was originally conceived to serve a simple purpose: “To share with other people in the community what they can do right in their own homes to live sustainably,” according to Lee Adamson, co-chair of the event’s organizing committee.

Since its launch, the green event has grown each year, with attendance hitting a new high last year as more than 1,700 visitors filtered through Wychwood Barns—an improvement of more than 500 guests from 2015.

The ill effects of climate change that people are now seeing in their own backyards contributes to a growing interest in eco-friendly causes, Adamson suggests. “The flooding, the ice storms in Toronto, the fact you really can’t make a backyard skating rink hardly any more … I think that climate change is really starting to strike home,” she explains.

“And I think people are starting to wake up and say, ‘You know, we can’t take our environment for granted anymore, we really need to be looking after it better’—and that’s what the EcoFair is all about,” Adamson adds. She goes on to note that word of mouth and promotion from businesses that have been involved with the fair in the past have helped too.

The local EcoFair brings together sustainable businesses and non-profits alike to set up exhibits and educate attendees. The target of the event is to have an even split of exhibitors from the non-profit and private sectors, Adamson outlines. “We want to educate people about aspects about the environment and things that they can do,” she elaborates. “We really want to focus on what you can do so it’s a positive experience.”

This year, the list of scheduled exhibitors and vendors includes FLAP Canada, a non-profit that seeks to protect migratory birds, Revelo, a Toronto-based folding-bike manufacturer, and CoPower, an online service that helps users add green investments to their portfolio. And yes, there will be food too, though Adamson clarifies “it’s not like a farmer’s market or something like that.”

Some programming will be familiar to returning guests, but there are also new initiatives, such as a planned solar power system “group buy” arrangement, which Adamson credits to Ward 21 Councillor Joe Mihevc. “The idea is that we will sign up people interested in these purchases at the EcoFair and then work with vendors to get a special group purchase price,” Adamson explains. Not only can this make a solar power system more affordable, but with a group of people involved, it can quell some of the uncertainty associated with adopting new technology as well. “I think many people really want to help accelerate our shift to renewable energy.”

EcoFair organizers are also hoping to have City of Toronto officials on hand to present TransformTO: Climate action for a healthy, equitable, prosperous Toronto, the municipality’s plan to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 80 per cent as of 2050.

The main EcoFair programming will take place from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 5, followed by a movie screening. “It’ll be a family-friendly, inspiring movie about some aspect of the environment,” Adamson says.

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