Highlights: Green Living Show

April 27th, 2009


An exhibit that helps to visualize carbon emissions.

I love the pretense of the Green Living Show but I was disappointed that it still hasn’t gone beyond my expectations. I guess I felt that there wasn’t enough “new” innovation. I mean, one of the exhibitors was Aveda.

These sorts of shows are full of content, some of which is of interest and much of it which is not.  So here is a sampling of the things that stood out the most to us:

Four of the great ideas seen in the green innovation area:


We saw the Cista rainwater harvesting concept at the Interior Design Show and it holds up as being a viable and innovative idea. Basically, it’s a fancy rain barrel, that you can hook a hose up to in order to water your garden.


With all the BPA frenzy, these stainless steel baby bottles are going to quickly become ubiquitous.


We loved the Triton’s Sawfish, a deepwater logging machine that is able to harvest perfectly preserved trees that stand beneath reservoirs floorded by hydroelectric dams. We are all for reclaimed wood!


Toronto based Lumolar‘s fish inspired LED chandelier is made of recycled felt and glass/acrylic and is fully recyclable. And if you ultimately choose to get rid of it, you can use the lamp shades as organic fertilizer.



If you are planning on ever building your own home, or are doing a green renovation, you may want to visit the Archetype Sustainable House at the Kortright Centre, just north of Toronto (ok ok, this one was really just an excuse to take a photo of the model).


Use dimmers!  Leviton even offers dimmers that have timers and have motion sensors. Now there is no excuse to leave the lights on when you aren’t in the room.


This Aerie Loft by Martin Liefhebber is made of FSC-wood, and makes for a nice little gettaway building that can be left open a la treehouse, or closed off with windows for added protection. Extra comforts include a composting toilet, a clean-burning EPA-certified wood stove, a rainwater catchment system and an outdoor passive solar shower (building priced at $20,000).


Outdoor bathroom includes  a sink, a shower (rain barrel sits on top of the building) and…


…compost toilet. Pretty cool for people who have cottages that don’t have running water (yes, they still exist).


John and I went crazy when we came across The Timeless Material Co. Based in Waterloo, they salvage wood and other interesting parts from old buildings, barns, churches etc to be repurposed in homes and as furniture.


You could definitely find some beautiful details to use in your home.


Michael Greenwood designs custom furniture out of salvaged and reclaimed materials. Read more about him on styleNorth. He also designs AMAZING tree houses. Seriously! It’s like the Swiss Family Robinson.


I first heard about Eco-Lawn the other day because fellow Toronto blogger/stylist Arren Williams is using it in his backyard. Visit his site to see how it turns out! The cool thing about Eco-Lawn is that it grows slowly, is drought resistant, does well in the sun or shade and is naturally insect and weed resistant. You don’t even really need to maintain it much because after it gets to a certain height, it lays down. So low maintenance = yay! But if you need to maintain a lawn, the solution is below:


This German made push-mower by Brill is as innovative as the Germans can be. Light-weight, non-polluting, super quiet and doesn’t need to be sharpened (will last 8-10 years before needing replacement). You can buy it through Carbon Free Cutters or if you don’t have time to maintain your lawn, you can hire them to do so for you–they hire college students that come to your house on bike.


If you don’t have a lawn and are wondering what to do with all of your old recycling bins, take a cue from the Toronto Botanical Garden and repurpose them into edible gardens. Grow lettuce, tomatoes, edible flowers and herbs on your balcony! Bonus: the Toronto Botanical Garden is having a plant sale open to the public May 6-9 from 10am to 5pm (777 Lawrence Ave East).  There will be plant-savvy people available to help you choose the best greenery for your space and lifestyle (me = shady front yard & lazy).


And if you don’t have the space or patience for a garden, then you can always have fresh organic produce delivered right to your door weekly or biweekly. I’ve used Front Door Organics in the past but had to stop because I couldn’t eat it all by myself. I think we may give it another go this summer… [another organic delivery company is Green Earth Organics, for comparison].


BC based Greenware Products makes biodegradable wooden disposable cutlery that can cut through a well done steak (they tested it out at The Keg)! They aren’t yet available for the consumer market, but you should start to see them in cafeterias etc soon!

Dream purchase:


It is nearly impossible to find small-scale appliances in North America. We managed to secure an undercounter fridge for the cottage, but now our eyes are set on a stove such as the 24″ AEG one above, imported by Euro-Line Appliances. Of course the price tag is what keeps us at bay, but if we could, we would.

We ended up in the food area last, and the samples were plentiful and consistently delicious.

Of note: Natura Glace maple/chocolate lactose and peanut free frozen dessert – aka soy ice cream – was excellent (surprise surprise).

I love Quebec-based Stoneyfield Farm yogurt (they sell it at Sobey’s) but BC-based Olympic Organic could give it a run for its money. All I know is that most grocery store yogurt tastes like chemicals and has aspartame but these yogurts are the antithesis to that. The more the merrier. Also, though I am not huge on soy, Yoso makes its product in Cambridge, Ontario, where they also sow soy beans (so none of that import stuff).Their soy cream cheese was actually very tasty!

Cascades paper products have improved to the point where I am willing to give their toilet paper a chance.

Homestead House Paint Co. Inc. makes zero-emission  paints in a wide variety of colours and finishes. We recently bought “low-VOC” paint from Home Depot and didn’t notice much difference in its ability to make us feel deathly ill – apparently all paint has to be “low-VOC” nowadays, so remember that when you are buying paint, thinking you’re getting the good stuff, you’re not. Homestead is sourced and made in Ontario!

So there you have it, our highlights from the show! I guess we did come away with some interesting products after all.

– Juli –

Photos by Juli Daoust

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