Across Canada this Earth Day (officially April 22) an estimated six million people will take part in everything from major events like Victoria's Earth Walk or Edmonton's Earth Day Festival, to smaller affairs like local shoreline clean ups and film screenings.
From the dozens of events taking place, coast-to-coast-to-coast, we culled the most explore worthy. For a full list of events visit EarthDay.ca. And to get geared up in a sustainable and earth conscious way check out our picks for Earth Day gear.
Party for the Planet
What better place to get inspired to change than at the Toronto Zoo, home to many species whose future remains uncertain due to climate change and human habits? On April 21 and 22, the zoo will host a variety of extra talks, presentations and programs for the whole family, collectively known as Party for the Planet. The Tundra Trek area, home to polar creatures most at risk by climate change, will be a focus with conservation and educational themed talks. Henry and Douale, the recycling mascots, will also be on hand. Rain Barrels will be on sale at the entrance.
More information: The Toronto Zoo
Eco speakers at the ROM
Want to join explore's Top 30 Under 30 as a leader of tomorrow in the environmental movement? Inspiring the next generation is the goal of Earth Day's EcoMentors program, which brings together accomplished and young environmentalists to speak to 15- to 24-year-olds. Hosted by the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto, the April 21 talk is themed "Life is at risk." The April 28 talk is a panel featuring speakers: Cameron Fenton, Canadian Youth Climate Coalition director and founding member of Climate Justice Montreal; Emily Hunter, author and co-host of MTV News Canada's IMPACT series; and Jasmeet Sidhu, a writer, producer and former Toronto Star journalist. Reserve your chair now.
Race to be green
The Green City Race is an urban adventure race taking place on Saturday April 21 that pits teams of two or three against a list of clues to check points across Vancouver. Once a clue is deciphered, teams can use the internet and a city map to figure out where they have to go and then race by foot or on public transit to get there. Along the way they complete physical or mental challenges (like remove an invasive species), hunt for scavenger items and keep an eye out for "green sightings." Organizers figure the race will take three hours and the winner is the team with the most points, awarded for speed, creativity and completion of challenges. All proceeds and any sponsorship dollars raised go to Evergreen, a national charity that works to bring green projects to schools, parks and communities. You can sign up for the $40 race here.
Hike 802 stairs
Almost as old as Canada's Earth Day festivities, the Climb and Run for Wilderness focuses on the Calgary Tower and a supreme sacrifice of comfort to raise money for wild places. All the events feature the 802 steps of the tower and can be raced solo or as a team. The three challenges are: fastest climb of the stairs, total number of laps in five hours and a one kilometre run followed by the stairs. You can pick one or do all three. The record speed to the top is 4:27, while the most laps in five hours is an quad crushing 31. Funds raised in all three events go to Alberta Wilderness Association. To sign up and read more, visit the Climb and Run for Wilderness.
Sure there are lots of litter cleanup events on the days surrounding Earth Day, but only one requires SCUBA gear. Montreal's Dive for Earth Day event, taking place on April 21, is organized by local dive shop Total Diving. After gearing up at the shop participants will head to the Kahnawake Quarry and jump into the clean up effort with both fins. The old quarry site on the Mohawk Reserve, 15 minutes from the shop, is no garbage heap - though there are a few old tires and empty bottles - and the site is considered one of the best places to learn to dive in eastern Canada. Find out more at Total Diving.