The diversity of the city was on full display Friday night as the Green Toronto awards were handed out at the Green Living trade show.
The winners represented a wide variety of communities and backgrounds, but they spoke to a common goal of Torontonians, according to mayor David Miller, who was on hand for the presentation.
“Torontonians have told us time and time again that they care about the environment and want to make a difference — and they are,” the mayor said. “The Green Toronto Awards allow us to acknowledge their tremendous efforts while inspiring others to make Toronto the greenest and most sustainable city in the world.”
Jane Finch Community and Family Centre assistant to the executive director Rosemarie Powell said that she was inspired by the unifying nature of environmental issues. The centre won the award for top community project for its Green Change Project
The project aims to educate residents of Jane Finch about environmental issues. Armed with that knowledge, Powell says that residents feel empowered to reach out to others in the community to share what they know. True change comes from that type of grassroots effort, Powell says.
She says her group has received support from a wide spectrum of the community, including organizations in the Jane Finch area that don’t typically get involved in community projects.
“We planted the seed,” she said. “It unifies a diverse group of people and organizations.”
Powell says that winning the award further legitimizes the centre’s efforts in the eyes of potential supporters and donors.
Earth Rangers executive director Peter Kendall backs up that contention. His organization, which educates school aged children about issues of biodiversity and habitat loss, won for environmental awareness. In addition, winning awards have another benefit to the organization.
“Out IT department won an international award last week for having the greenest IT systems,” he said. “They’ve been walking on cloud nine since.
“Winning awards tells our staff that what they do is valued and appreciated. That’s important.”