First Ever EcoDistrict Race Takes Downtown Ottawa by Storm
June 9, 2016 Ottawa, ON – Today the Ottawa Centre EcoDistrict (OCED) hosted the first ever EcoDistrict Race with contestants completing 16 environmental ‘challenges’ at locations throughout the downtown core. These included identifying herbs grown for Beckta Dining & Wine in a rooftop garden and calculating the energy and financial savings from a Westin switch to LED lighting.
With the overall goal being to encourage Canadians to take action on the environment, the EcoDistrict reached out to a number of local groups to secure ideas and assistance for the Race.
For example local start up Lightenco designed the light bulb challenge. “We wanted to raise awareness of how quickly an investment in energy efficiency can pay off,” said Steve Hubbard of Lighteno, “And we didn’t want to go too easy on them. They are competing for prizes after all.”
“We really wanted to create a social event to show off the EcoDistrict downtown.” said OCED Executive Director Don Grant. “Our goal was for people to have fun and to learn about the environment at the same time. We are really happy with the results.”
Many of the EcoDistrict Race sites were located close to City Hall. For example Sustainable Prosperity featured a wheel of fortune that spoke to the importance of environmental economics, the Electric Vehicle Council of Ottawa were stationed shared tips on EVs by the City’s EV charging station and Friends of the Earth raised awareness about the plight of wild bees just beside the Ottawa courthouse. All of this visibility is a good fit with the City’s recent efforts to reduce climate change and develop a renewable energy strategy.
“One of the great things about our city is the incredible array of local organizations, businesses and community groups that are working to advance sustainability,” said Councillor Chernushenko, Chair of the City’s Environment Committee and a participant in some of the challenges around City Hall. “It’s great to see an organization like the Ottawa Centre EcoDistrict taking leadership to organize such a fun and engaging event, where residents have an opportunity to meet these various groups and learn about the important work they are doing in our community.”
Even though this was the first year for the EcoDistrict Race it was a tremendous success. This year’s winner was Minto with the University of Ottawa Sustainability Team finishing second and Morguard finishing third. The Ottawa Centre EcoDistrict and IKEA Ottawa have come together to create The IKEA People and Planet Positive Award, made to recognize the groups who are putting lots of effort into making this race possible and who are motivating people in our community to think more sustainably. By taking action and encouraging others to have a positive impact on people and the planet, we can inspire and enable a more sustainable and healthier life for the many people. The IKEA Ottawa People Planet Positive award recognizing effort and sustainable messaging was won by Ecology Ottawa for its Race challenge station.
Most importantly for organizers everyone had a great time and most vowed to come back next year to try and win the EcoDistrict Race.
For more information, please contact:
Executive Director, Ottawa Centre EcoDistrict