Say good-bye to plastic and hello to stylish eco-friendly totes from Vancouver company Me & You. A bag from the new Vancouver Island–inspired collection makes an ideal souvenir. Available at www.meandyou.ca and Body Politic.—Sheri Radford
Get back to nature and learn about Whistler’s flora and fauna as you paddle down the River of Golden Dreams with Whistler Eco Tours (pictured). This earth-friendly company has been working with the Whistler Blackcomb resort to clean up the riverbanks—just one of the ways the resort is going green. Since 2000, Whistler Blackcomb has reduced waste by 60 per cent and, this year, it was named one of Canada’s greenest employers for the fourth year in a row. —Kristina Urquhart
From the top of its green roof to the depths of its geothermal energy system, the new visitor centre at VanDusen Botanical Garden is blazing a path in sustainable design. The building, with its eye-catching undulating roofline that resembles an orchid, uses green strategies such as rammed-earth walls, reclaimed lumber, on-site water capture and treatment, a photovoltaic system to generate electricity, and a giant skylight/solar chimney (pictured) that functions as a natural air conditioner. Designed to exceed LEED Platinum certification, the centre is also on track to be the fourth building in the world (and first in Canada) to meet the stringent Living Building Challenge (www.ilbi.org), which analyzes seven key components: site, water, energy, health, materials, equity and beauty. Even for those who don’t know anything about eco-friendly design, there’s no denying the building’s beauty. See it for yourself this month, and be sure to stop by on Plant Sale Day (Apr. 29), when admission to the garden is free. —Sheri Radford
Kermit the Frog said it’s not easy being green, but Trafalgars Bistro and its bakery sibling Sweet Obsession would disagree. Thanks to their new GreenGood Composter (pictured), they no longer send any organic waste to the landfill. Instead, the high-tech composter converts food waste into garden-ready compost in just 24 hours. Of the businesses’ remaining garbage, 98 per cent is recycled. Going green, indeed.—Sheri Radford
Socially conscious diners find no shortage of eco-friendly options.
1 Laidback Trafalgars (pictured), a tasteful West Side bistro, along with its bakery sibling, Sweet Obsession, has almost completely eliminated garbage with a revolutionary in-house composter that makes garden-ready compost in just 24 hours.
2 More than just a pretty place, the upbeat Cactus Club Cafe chain employs sustainable policies across the board, from sourcing local ingredients to waste-water reduction.
3 The Observatory and more casual Altitudes Bistro, atop Grouse Mountain, use power from the resort’s own wind turbine and observation tower, the Eye of the Wind.
4 O’Doul’s Restaurant & Bar adheres to Green Table, Ocean Wise and Get Local programs that put ethically raised local ingredients and carbon-neutral practices first.
5 The grandfather of regional seasonal cuisine for 27 years, Bishop’s continues to offer almost all organic, understated plates, delivered in an intimate, art-filled setting.—Tim Pawsey
Every savvy media star knows when it’s time for a facelift, and Science World at Telus World of Science is no exception. The iconic geodesic dome has been an integral part of Vancouver’s skyline since 1986, when it housed Expo Centre for the 1986 World Exposition on Transportation and Communication, and over the years it has appeared in TV series such as The X-Files and MacGyver. But the building’s age was starting to show, so two years ago a $35 million renovation project began.
Now the rejuvenated building is ready to enter the limelight again, showing off its 2,790-sq-m (30,000-sq-ft) expansion, new lobby and new green roof with a deck overlooking False Creek. Its improved ecological footprint includes solar-thermal installations to heat the hot-water supply, solar-thermal rejection technology to reduce the need for air conditioning, and solar panels to provide shade and electricity.
Ready for a close-up? Absolutely.—Sheri Radford
Achieving a zero operating footprint may be a lofty goal, but we’d say the Whistler Blackcomb resort is well on its way. Efficient lighting and a hydro project that produces the equivalent of the resort’s annual energy demand are just some of the ways Whistler Blackcomb is going green. Since 2000, the resort has reduced waste by 60 per cent and, in 2011, it was named one of Canada’s greenest employers for the third year in a row. Visit www.whistlerblackcomb.com for more information.—Kristina Urquhart
If earth-friendly products are hard to come by in your neck of the woods, stock up on local favourites from Sapadilla Soap Company. The plant-based, biodegradable dish soap, cleaners (pictured) and laundry liquid are made with enticing essential oil combinations including grapefruit and bergamot, rosemary and peppermint. Fill your suitcase with these handy—albeit unconventional—souvenirs at Whole Foods and Cookworks.—Jennifer Patterson
WHOLE FOODS MARKET This legendary worldwide chain specializes in natural and organic food. A great spot for ready-to-eat meals and smartly packaged organic foods that look almost too good to eat.
510 W. 8th Ave. 778-370-4210.
925 Main St., West Vancouver. 604-678-0500.
COOKWORKS This Canadian-owned store offers the latest in high-quality cooking accessories from around the world. Full bridal and gift registry services. Shipping anywhere.
1548 W. Broadway. 604-731-1148.
377 Howe St. 604-662-4918.