B.C.'s biggest metropolis has been a hotbed of sustainability for decades, befit-ting the home of one of the world‟s largest urban parks and the historic spot where Greenpeace was founded. Already recognized as having the smallest carbon footprint of any major city in North America, Vancouver mayor Gregor Robertson recently committed to making this “the world‟s greenest city” by 2020. The initiative covers issues of sustainability, livability and urban planning for residents and businesses and aims to implement programs that will make Vancouver an Eco-pioneer and green beacon for communities around the world.
Vancouver is Canada’s greenest city, according to a 2011 report by the Economist Intelligence Unit. The study, which also placed the city second in North America after San Francisco, praised Vancouver’s low carbon emissions, high number of LEED-certified buildings and the city’s extensive “greenest city” action plan.
- OCEAN WISE: Seafood is a Vancouver dining specialty, but not all aquatic dishes are created equally. Pioneered by Stanley Park‟s Vancouver Aquarium and by innovative chefs across the region, the popular Ocean Wise (www.oceanwise.ca) initiative supports sustainable fishing practices, ensuring that the seafood on your restaurant table has been raised, sourced and supplied in an environmentally sound manner.
- GREEN TRANSPORTATION: Vancouver‟s commitment to green transportation is exemplified by the region‟s growing mass transit system. The original SkyTrain line opened in 1985, with a new line added in 2002. In 2009 – just in time for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games – the Canada Line was opened, linking the airport to down-town in a short, 25-minute trip. The next stage of this Eco-minded transit network will be the Evergreen Line, scheduled to open in 2016. But the city‟s green transport credentials are not just transit-related. Vancouver has one of the world‟s largest hybrid vehicle taxi fleets and has recently expand-ed its commitment to cyclists by creating popular new downtown bike lanes on city centre streets. Car drivers have not been forgotten, though: the city now re-quires electric vehicle charging stations for 20 percent of all parking stalls in new condo buildings.
- STAY GREEN: Vancouver has a host of hotels designated under the global Green Key Eco-Rating Program as exemplifying great environmental stewardship. Only a few dozen hotels around the world have the coveted top-level Five Green Keys rating and in Vancouver including the Symposium venue, the Fairmont Waterfront (www.fairmont.com/waterfront). As part of its commitment to environmentally sustainable practices, the Fairmont Waterfront sources herbs from its own rooftop garden, which also includes a honeybee apiary.