• By: Katie Hartai

Eat, Drink and Be Sustainable

Ecology Ottawa has done it again. For the eighth consecutive year, the local environmental organization completely sold out the annual Eco Gala on Oct. 9.

Just over 565 attendees gathered at the St. Elias Banquet Centre to celebrate the bountiful autumn harvest and the city’s active environmental community. It featured live music entertainment, a silent auction and gourmet dinner. David Miller also gave a speech about city sustainability. Miller is the former Mayor of Toronto and was Chair of the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group from 2008-2010. Currently he is president and CEO of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Canada.

“The Eco Gala is a great opportunity for the city’s leading environmentalists to get together, connect and discuss the progress Ottawa has made environmentally and where it needs to go in the future,” said Graham Saul, executive director of Ecology Ottawa.

The amount of money raised for Ecology Ottawa is yet to be determined.

Catering this year’s meal was the Green Door Restaurant— – Ottawa’s oldest vegetarian restaurant since 1988. They prepared a four-course supper that was both vegan and gluten-free.  Seasonal, local and organic ingredients were used whenever possible. Many farmers donated produce to the Eco Gala including Luxy Farm, Acorn Creek Garden Farm and Veggie Trail Farms.

76af9c41-3019-4daa-9e26-614668ab8c4f_500Guests were first served a warm bowl of squash soup along with a marinated beet, caesar and antipasto salad. The main dish was wild rice pilau, grilled brussel sprouts, lemon-dill potatoes, mung dal, cauliflower with red pepper sauce and roasted parsnip with a side of hot sauce. Disappearing quickly from dessert glasses, the pumpkin mousse with cashew/cardamom creme appeared to be a crowd-pleaser.

While the food was being served, keynote speaker David Miller took to the stage.

The ecologically of cities was Miller’s main focus. He discussed the influential role urban areas have in nature conservation and fighting climate change.

“In cities we have the opportunity to act because that is where 80 per cent of greenhouse gasses originate from,” said Miller.

Describing transportation to be a central contributor of fossil fuel emissions, he emphasized the need to implement accessible and sustainable transit in all Canadian cities.

“It is more than just an environmental issue,” Miller said. “It is also about social inclusion and jobs.”

Miller rode an OC Transpo bus to the banquet hall that evening.

Noteworthy guests who attended the gala include MP and Leader of the Green Party of Canada Elizabeth May, MP Paul Dewar, MPP Marie-France Lalonde, MPP Hon. Madeleine Meilleur, MPP Hon. Yasir Naqvi and Mayor of Ottawa Jim Watson. In consequence of the upcoming municipal election, there were also tables of City Councillor and School Board Trustee candidates.

To learn more about Ecology Ottawa visit their website. The organization is also active on Twitter and Facebook.

Feature photo courtesy of Ben Powless.