Earth Hour celebrations in Westmount highlight energy consumption

Morgan Lowrie
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Westmount joined communities across Canada and around the world in marking Earth Hour last week, with a well-attended celebration at Victoria Hall.

Westmount Ville-Marie Member of Parliament Marc Garneau, back in the riding after an aborted bid to become leader of the Liberal Party of Canada, used his opening remarks to highlight this year's theme of energy.

"We as parliamentarians must make the right decisions, because energy is something we all need, but we all know that there is a price associated with it, and that price is what happens to our environment," Garneau said.

"Unfortunately, we will have to depend on hydrocarbons as source of energy for some time, because the day when we are no longer using anything but clean and renewable energies is not there yet."

He also took the time to express his happiness at being home in Westmount Ville-Marie.

"I've been pretty busy on the campaign trail over the last four months, and it's nice to – if I can use the expression – come back down to earth," Garneau said. "It's great to be back in Westmount Ville-Marie and to reconnect with the riding that I very proudly represent."

Lots of activities to mark the event

Victoria Hall was packed with families who had come to enjoy the evening's activities.  Over 17 booths and tables were set up to provide both information and entertainment on topics as vast as stargazing, light pollution, Summit Woods, and urban farming. Movies, stories, music and crafts were all on the agenda as well.

At one table, McGill science outreach students delighted children by showing them how to make homemade paper.

"Our message to council is: don't be cautious. Be bold, be ambitious, and don't be left behind," Lambert said.

Next door, McGill Phd student Leron Vandsburger and neuroscience professor David Ragsdale manned the booth for the Westmount Science camp, which allows children ages 6-13 a real-world science experience in two-week summer camp sessions.

"We want to show kids how fun and cool science can really be," Vandsburger said.  The camp, which runs from July 8 to August 16, allows kids to learn hands-on from experts in the field.

Dan Lambert of the Westmount Walking and Cycling Association stood next to a model imagining Sherbrooke Street with a bicycle lane in each direction.  His goal of the evening was to speak to residents about the city's Master Traffic Plan, and to encourage them to write to City Council to ask for forward-thinking measures to enhance active transportation.

"Our message to council is: don't be cautious.  Be bold, be ambitious, and don't be left behind," Lambert said.

At 8:30 p.m. sharp, the lights went out, as Westmount joined thousands of other communities across the globe in an hour of darkness in order to highlight issues of energy consumption.

"We all have a part to play," Garneau told the audience. "How much greenhouse gas do you produce? I'm pretty sure that I personally can do better, and so can all of us."




Organizations: Liberal Party of Canada, Westmount Walking and Cycling Association

Geographic location: Westmount, Sherbrooke Street

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