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Turn off the light: Earth Hour takes centre stage this weekend

How many songs can you think of with the word “light” or “lights” in the title? There’s Bob Marley’s “Turn Your Lights Down Low,” CCR’s “Long as I Can See the Light,” “City of Blinding Lights” by U2, and “Harbour Lights” by The Platters, to name a few.

Light represents energy and hope, and that is exactly what Earth Hour on Saturday aims to achieve. Everyone around the world is encouraged to turn off their electricity from 8:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. local time, but that doesn’t diminish the power of light. In fact, that very act to conserve power may one day create a better future.

Members of SPLASH, the Etobicoke School of the Arts' show choir sing during a WWF-Canada lantern walk in Roncesvalles Village, celebrating Earth Hour, on March 23, 2013. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Galit Rodan
Members of SPLASH, the Etobicoke School of the Arts’ show choir, sing during a WWF-Canada lantern walk in Roncesvalles Village, celebrating Earth Hour, on March 23, 2013. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Galit Rodan


There are several events taking place in Toronto and the GTA to mark Earth Hour. Below are some events taking place in the city. Click here for a list of other events.

Aside from Earth Hour, there are also other activities around the city to keep you occupied.

Earth Hour events

Parkdale Roncesvalles Earth Hour
It takes two villages to raise awareness about climate change and the need for communities to band together to demand action.

This year, two groups of people will start the walk at different locations, both beginning at 8:30 a.m. One walk will begin at the Parkdale Library on Queen Street West at Cowan Avenue, and another at the Roncesvalles Dundas Peace Garden on Dundas Street West at Roncesvalles. One group will head along Queen while the other strolls along Roncesvalles, and will meet up where Queen, Roncesvalles, King Street West and The Queensway meet.

If you are attending the walk, make sure to bring your own candle or lantern. The walk will be cancelled if it rains.

Green 13 Earth Hour
Walking along the Humber River surrounded by candlelight offers much-needed serenity in this stressed-out world.

The walk starts at 8 p.m. on the front lawn of Lambton House on Old Dundas Street and ends at 9 p.m. Once the walk is over, there will be speakers, entertainment and refreshments.

Remember to bring your own lantern or a flashlight. If you don’t have a candle, bring a mason jar – tealights will be provided.

AstroTours Earth Hour
Spend the evening taking a trip to the stars and back at the University of Toronto in downtown Toronto.

Planetarium shows will be held at McLennan Physical Laboratories building from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. There will also be a lecture from professor Suresh Sivanandam at 7 p.m. at the Earth Sciences Centre, as well as astronomy exhibits, telescope observing and chats with astronomers.

Beaches Earth Hour Lights Out
Candlelight and paper lanterns will illuminate Kew Gardens in the Beach from 7:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. on Saturday. Live acoustic music will also be on tap for the night.

Acoustic music being played as people gather for Lights Out in the Beach during Earth Hour. Photo via beachesliving.ca.
Acoustic music being played as people gather for Lights Out in the Beach during Earth Hour. Photo via beachesliving.ca.


Lights Out with Mill St. Brewery
If you are more in the mood for a pint, then the Mill St. Brewery in the Distillery District is the place to be for Earth Hour. Relax with beer in hand as you listen to acoustic music by candlelight during the hour.

For each pint sold, Mill St. will donate 50 cents to Earth Day Canada. Since its inception three years ago, the event has raised more than $300,000.

Other events

Toronto Winter Brewfest
Lovers of craft beer will be flocking to Enercare Centre this weekend for the second annual Winter Brewfest. The event includes two sessions, one on Friday night and the other on Saturday night, from 6 p.m. to 1 a.m.

Guests can sample over 150 beers from brewers across Ontario and Quebec. There will also be gourmet food from the city’s best food trucks.

Toronto Banff Film Festival
Explore Banff this weekend without even leaving the city. The Banff Mountain Festival World Tour will be taking over the Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema on Bloor Street West this Friday through Saturday.

Each film festival program runs about three hours in length and features five to eight short films. The first screening goes Friday night at 7:30 p.m. and the last one goes Sunday at 2:30 p.m.

Urban Sugar Shack
Wear plaid and celebrate Canada 150 at the Urban Sugar Shack this Sunday.

The event is being held at the Humber Arboretum at Humber College’s North Campus. It includes a pancake breakfast, a guided nature walk along the Humber River, maple syrup tapping, hot chocolate and live music.

All funds raised will help give Ernestine’s Women’s Shelter the opportunity to participate in nature camps and programming. The Urban Sugar Shack runs from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Parent and Tot Program: Toronto Zoo
Learn about families this Saturday and Sunday at the Toronto Zoo. Parents and tots are invited to take part in an interactive program to discover how animal families survive in the wild, including how they share, play, stay safe and grow.

The “Friends and Family” themed event features educational playtime, crafts, activities, songs/poems and an animal encounter. It runs this weekend and next weekend from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.