Greenest City Leadership

Garden on a Vancouver rooftop

The Greenest City Leadership Award recognizes individuals or groups who enhance or advance the City's Greenest City Action Plan goals.

2018 recipients

Maggie Fong

Individual youth category

Windermere High School student Maggie Fong is a force to be reckoned with when it comes to advocating and educating the community about food security and sustainability, gardening, local food, and food justice. She is active in her school community and in the Renfrew-Collingwood community as an avid and dedicated volunteer at Collingwood Neighbourhood House. 

Her involvement at school includes leading the student run garden program (which she was inspired to do after learning about climate change and food security in grade eight) and being a member of the organizing committee for Windermere’s Climate Change Conference and Earth Day Parade. At Collingwood Neighbourhood House she is a member of the organization’s Food Security Institute, and has been a student leader, organizer, and speaker for many educational events and has also played a key role in the strategic work of the BC Food Systems Network. 

Maggie is a proponent of getting more youth involved in the food movement, and has brought a valuable youth perspective to several panels and gatherings around this topic. She recently played a key role in developing a book called “Renfrew-Collingwood Food Stories” with other youth which she was invited to present at the BC Food Systems Network Gathering.

George Patrick Richard Benson

Individual category

As a passionate advocate of climate change adaptation and mitigation, George Benson’s work as a planner and non-profit leader in Greater Vancouver focuses on engaging unlikely allies to take on climate action. 

George is involved in climate and environmental work as a speaker, researcher, writer, and advocate in roles related to the City of Vancouver, Vancouver Economic Commission, the Planning Institute of BC’s Climate Action Task Force, and the Vancouver Hub of the World Economic Forum Global Shapers Community. 

This past year his focus has turned to the threats and opportunities posed to the city by climate-induced population movements through a non-profit he co-founded, the Climate Migrants and Refugees Project. George and his colleagues look at ways that Vancouver and cities around the world can anticipate influxes of climate-displaced people, and plan for them in a way that further builds resilience, diversity, and prosperity.

London Drugs

Organization category

London Drugs’ What’s the Green Deal Program is a four-pillared approach to encouraging and fostering a more sustainable world by working with customers, staff, vendors, government, and communities to create opportunities for recycling, waste reduction, and environmentally conscious decision-making.

One of the key aspects of the project is a recycling program that provides consumers with the opportunity to reduce household waste and keep dangerous components out of landfills by returning post-consumer waste of all kinds to their local London Drugs store. Small electronics, light bulbs, product packaging, used printer ink cartridges, and batteries are among the items acceptable for drop-off. This resulted in the diversion of over one and a half million pounds of post-consumer materials in 2017 alone.

In addition to recycling, the What’s the Green Deal program incorporates the sourcing and promotion of local products in stores, integrating sustainability criteria in purchasing decisions for the company, an active recycling program in the London Drugs warehouse and working alongside vendors, customers, employees, government, and the communities in which they operate to promote and reward sustainable practices and concern for the environment.

2017 recipients

Alvin Chan, individual youth category

Alvin Chan is a Grade 12 student at Gladstone Secondary School who has dedicated an impressive 3,500 hours volunteering in Vancouver. Alvin has been involved in a variety of initiatives that work towards keeping the city green including the Trout Lake Youth Council, the Citywide Youth Council, and the 2020 Youth Ambassador Committee, whose goal is to promote the City of Vancouver’s Greenesst City 2020 Action Plan.

Volunteering with Gladstone’s Community School Team, Alvin helped children aged 6-12 in a “rec and read” program, educating them on the importance of proper recycling and waste management. He says that Vancouver’s Greenest City goals are something that he truly values, and is looking forward to continuing to support and advocate for a cleaner, greener Vancouver. 

Dr. Tara Moreau, individual category

For Dr. Moreau, leading green initiatives begins with what you practice at home. Since she made the decision to go car-free more than a decade ago, she has added to her sustainability and environmentalism portfolio, which includes her role as associate director at the University of British Columbia’s Botanical Gardens and countless volunteer duties.

From hosting water-wise gardening workshops to managing complex research projects measuring the behavioral impact of ecological education, Dr. Moreau has widely shared her wealth of knowledge which started taking shape when as a child she visited indigenous communities in Central America and Northern Ontario. She is one of Vancouver’s prominent green scene influencers, and lives by what she teaches. She will happily volunteer to lead climate change Earth Day tours for neighbourhood associations, or even sort waste at public events.

Too long to list, Dr. Moreau’s contributions to a greener city and leading by example include:

  • Inviting City of Vancouver staff to present on World Water Day
  • Ssupporting a measured waste audit and research project at UBC’s annual Apple Festival
  • Developing and managing a Farmer Field School for school garden programs which reach more than 5,000 people

Dr. Moreau holds a PhD in plant science from UBC’s Faculty of Land and Food Systems, an MSc in agriculture from Dalhousie University, and a BSc in biology and environmental science from Bishop's University. Besides being a champion of Vancouver’s Greenest City Action Plan, she is a co-chair of the Food Policy Council, a member of the Vancouver School Food Network, and a long-standing board member of Society Promoting Environmental Conservation (SPEC).

Binners’ Project – Tides Canada, organization category

At its core, the Binners’ Project provides enhanced legitimacy and safety of the binner community, who are defined as individuals who pick from waste streams, often to collect refundable and otherwise still-useful materials.

This initiative, a project of Tides Canada, sensitizes the public to the opportunities and challenges faced by binners, and provides mechanisms for binners to earn income. The project allows the community to feel an enhanced understanding as well as an increase in empathy towards these marginalized communities within Vancouver. 

Not only does the Binners’ Project bridge the gap between Vancouver’s residents and binners, it also reduces the amount of recyclable materials that end up in our landfills. The project has evolved into an innovative social and economic initiative dedicated to working with and for binners. Today, the Binners’ Project features a core group of binners, a steering committee, and seven staff members and interns.

2016 recipients

Kimberley Wong, individual youth category

Kimberley is a climate action and social justice activist, currently studying Geography, as a major entry scholarship student at the University of British Columbia.

She prides herself on being a go-getter full of optimism, and compliments her many academic and extracurricular activities with jogging, road cycling, hiking, skiing, and rock climbing.

She currently enjoys working as a member of the Board of Directors with Co-Design Engage, a design process that assists people create spaces with the help of collaborative dialogue manifested in the form of drawings, as a core team member with Love Intersections, a group of queer people of colour who form solidarity through a language of love and a lens of intersectional feminism, and as a very proud co-founder of City Hub Initiative, a project dedicated to helping youth succeed in their sustainability and social justice projects by providing basic infrastructure and guidance to them.

In the past, Kimberley has worked as the co-director of Kids for Climate Action, as an organizer for the Vancouver School Board Sustainability Conference, as a project manager for a CityStudio partner course project on Ugly Food, as a guest lecturer at Langara College, and as a youth climate action analyst for the British Columbia Ministry of Environment.

Kimberley's accolades include winning her high school Sustainability Award and Fine Arts Award, the district Michael Shultz Performing Arts Award, and the Student Council Character Award.

Doug Wilson, individual category

For almost 25 years, Doug Wilson, the owner and President of the Peak Construction Group has been developing and building multi-family residential projects throughout Vancouver and the lower mainland.

In the last year, Peak has led the residential construction industry in the implementation of Passive House design and construction on three major projects in the City of Vancouver: an 85 unit building at 388 Skeena St. (with Peak as a development partner), a 56 unit building at 303 East Pender St., and a 95 unit building at 706 E. 57th Ave.  Working with City officials, designers and consultants on all three projects, Peak has been able to find cost effective solutions to ensure the Passive House requirements are achievable to create truly healthy and energy efficient homes for the residents of these buildings.

Peak has been instrumental in ensuring Passive House is a viable alternative to LEED certification and is working with industry research groups such as FP Innovations, BC Hydro and CMHC to perform research studies on the performance and sustainability of these projects.

With these first 256 residential Passive House units under construction, Peak Construction Group is certainly one of the leading contractors in North America driving the idea of clean, energy efficient, and healthy homes for Vancouverites.

Trout Lake Youth Council, Organization category

Trout Lake Youth Council which is a second family to over a few hundred youth in the last few years has participated in numerous events in an attempt to give back to both our own community and city. Some of the events include adopting John Hendry/Trout Lake Park in February 2014 and taking care of it by doing a community clean up every month totaling 22 times in the past two years and counting.

We also assisted and hosted some major and minor special events and programs held at Trout Lake Community Centres to celebrate diversity and bring our community closer, such as the King of the Lake Hockey event that brought youth around the city of Vancouver together. In the time that we collaborated with Keep Vancouver Spectacular, we have hosted 2 major Electronic Cleanups and collected over 13,000lbs of electronics.

As well we partnered up with Recyclefest last summer and are expecting to host another event with them on July 16 this summer. We have crossed over to Burnaby to help with the shoreline Still Creek Cleanup. Our remarkable effort has been recognized in a Statement Speech by the House of Common in 2015 for our excellent work, and also by the Mayor of Vancouver, Gregor Robertson in 2016.

We are in the process of planning for more future events with the intent to assist Vancouver's greenest city plan by hosting more cleanup and recycling projects as well hosting more events where we can celebrate youth and diversity.

2015 recipients

Tesicca Truong, individual youth category

Simon Fraser University student Tesicca Truong is a community engagement innovator and a passionate environmentalist. At the age of 15, she organized the Plan-it Earth conference on urban sustainability for youth. Today, she is the Environment Representative on the Simon Fraser Student Society Board and the youngest member of the Mayor’s Engaged City Task Force.

She has organized conferences, a dialogue with Kinder Morgan about the Enbridge Pipeline, and the Youth4Tap movement to replace bottled water with refill stations in Vancouver schools.

Tesicca has served on the Jane Goodall Institute’s National Youth Leadership Council and given keynote addresses at sustainability conferences. This year, the Environmental Studies student received the Simon Fraser University President’s Award for Leadership and Sustainability.

The Greenest City Leadership Award (Youth) recognizes Tesicca Truong for creating opportunities that encourage youth to address sustainability issues.

Allen Garr, individual category

Master beekeeper Allen Garr has made Vancouverites more eco-system aware. The former CBC journalist and founder of Co-op Radio has been a dedicated advocate for bees and a greener city for more than 20 years. He has increased public understanding of the threats facing honeybees in the city, and the opportunities city dwellers have to support healthy honeybee populations.

In 2005, Allen successfully lobbied City Council to amend a 1927 bylaw banning beekeeping in urban areas. As a result, hobby beekeeping is now allowed in Vancouver, North Vancouver, Delta, Burnaby, and Richmond. Today, there are prominent apiaries at the Vancouver Trade and Convention Centre, Science World, UBC Farm, and VanDusen Botanical Garden.

The Greenest City Award Leadership (Individual) acknowledges Allen Garr’s contribution to making Vancouver a greener city.

Vancouver-based Climate Smart Certified Businesses, organization category

More than 72 businesses and not-for-profit organizations throughout Vancouver have significantly reduced their greenhouse gas emissions through their association with Climate Smart. A social enterprise, Climate Smart consults with and provides training to assist small and medium-sized enterprises to reduce their carbon footprint in ways that lower emissions, and save money and resources.

In their first year of measurable results, Climate Smart's 72 sustainability trailblazers reduced their carbon footprint by a total of 2,900 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions – the equivalent of every car in Vancouver idling for two hours.

From reducing paper waste and reprogramming thermostats to right-sizing vehicle fleets and boiler retrofits, this diverse group of businesses and community organizations have moved six of the 10 goals and targets of the Greenest City Action Plan forward.

The Greenest City Leadership Award (Organization) recognizes Vancouver-based Climate Change Certified Businesses for their work in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

2014 recipients

Aaron Leung, individual youth category

Aaron Leung has played a key part in getting the Vancouver school district on track for its sustainability goals as part of the founding committee that planned the inaugural Vancouver School Board (VSB) Sustainability Conference.

Based on the success of the first conference, Leung was named chairperson of the 2014 VSB Sustainability Conference.

His passion for sustainability started in elementary school, when he and his friends started a battery recycling program at Captain James Cook Elementary. Now a Killarney Secondary student, Leung is involved with the Youth4Tap campaign and is chair of the Vancouver Youth Sustainability Network.

Louise Schwarz, individual category

Since starting Recycling Alternative in the late 1980s, founder Louise Schwarz used the successful company as a foundation to building other sustainable initiatives in Vancouver.

Schwarz's forward-looking projects include the city's first bio-diesel co-op, the Green Hub initiative through the City of Vancouver, and the food scraps pilot project in the West End.

Schwarz is dedicated to social sustainability, participating in Building Opportunities with Business and Tradeworks, and as a Board member of the Downtown Community Courts and the youth Action Job Committee.

Past honours include the Woman of Distinction Award in May 2012 and the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Medal in March 2013.

Fresh Roots Urban Farm Society, organization category

Fresh Roots Urban Farm Society is a not-for-profit society established to support community-engaged learning through urban agriculture.

Fresh Roots has a partnership with the Vancouver Board of Education. Its first school garden project was at Queen Alexandra Elementary. Produce was sold to Windermere Secondary's culinary arts program; food prepared by the program was served in Bruce Elementary's Farm to School hot lunch program.

Fresh Roots sells directly to school cafeterias and local neighbourhood houses' bulk buying programs, offers a weekly veggie box to East Vancouver families, and runs weekly market stands.

How we are making our city greener

Couple at dusk on False Creek Habitat Island in Vancouver

Greenest City Action Plan

Greenest City is a bold initiative that addresses Vancouver's environmental challenges.