Canada’s 10 Greenest Cities
We’ve searched country-wide to bring you 10 of the greenest cities in Canada. Focused on sustainability and environmental consciousness, these 10 cities get top marks for their green initiatives and commitment to lessening their overall environmental impact. Did your hometown make the cut? Read on to find out.
Moncton, New BrunswickDedicated in its efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 20% by the year 2020, the city of Moncton is also a member of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities’ Partners for Climate Protection Program – a committee of municipal governments focused on the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and climate change initiatives. From waste and recycling programs, their Integrated Community Sustainability Plan and their efforts in addressing climate change, the city of Moncton is committed to prioritizing citywide environmental consciousness.
While Moncton’s Green Score sits at only 128 (taken from their most recent study), the city gets major points for their creative recycling initiatives, like this past summer’s Festival Inspire, where residents were challenged to go “plastic-free” for a month. While the city is still on the come-up of major green city players, we’re tagging this one as “one to watch”!
Kelowna, British ColumbiaMaking Expedia’s list of the 17 greenest cities in Canada is Kelowna, who also takes one of the top spots on the AirGenius list of Canadian cities with the “cleanest air”. The city also ranks in with a respectable and high-ranking Green Score of 157.
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Burnaby, British ColumbiaBoasting over 130 parks which occupy a quarter of the city, Burnaby is the North American city with the highest percentage of green park space. The green city also ranks amongst top-scoring cities with a Green Score of 180.
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Burlington, OntarioBig or small, every bit of effort makes a difference. Out to prove that even the smallest of cities can make their mark in the green city movement is Burlington, with an impressive Green Score of 180 coming as no surprise. With engaging non-profit initiatives like Burlington Green, which offers educational resources, events and community projects geared at bringing awareness and eco-conscious change to the city, the city of Burlington is committed to going green. Still not convinced? Check out Take Action Burlington for a breakdown of the city’s many green initiatives, educational blog posts, community events and more.
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Surrey, British ColumbiaGreen Building certification, which includes incentives and rebates, is one of the ways Surrey is ensuring eco-conscious future development; with green and energy-efficient homes and buildings, which result in more affordable and healthy dwellings for residents as well as less pollution and environmental impact over time. With the city’s unique and innovative Sustainability Dashboard, residents can track progress on the city’s 50-year vision project, the Sustainability Charter. With so much emphasis on community engagement in their efforts for a greener city, it’s no wonder Surrey gets bragging rights with a Green Score of 174.
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Toronto, OntarioAs the most populous city in Canada, you might think it would be that much harder to make the same kind of eco-friendly impact as those cities with a smaller population, but Toronto’s impressive Green Score of 179 would beg to differ. One of the major action plans currently in place for this green city is the TransformTO Climate Action Strategy, which aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2050, improve the health of social equity amongst our community, as well as grow our economy.
Vancouver, British ColumbiaVancouver’s smaller population may have something to do with its high Green Score of 190, but we’ve got to give this city its due. With the city’s Greenest City Action Plan in place as of 2015, Vancouver has its sights on becoming the world’s greenest city by 2020. But that’s not the only green-goal Vancouver is working towards: with it’s Zero Waste 2040, the city has set the wheels in motion to be waste-free by, you guessed it, 2040. Factor in their Climate Change Adaptation Strategy, Neighbourhood Energy Strategy, and countless other active initiatives, and it’s easy to see why Vancouver consistently finds itself in the top 5 of Canada’s greenest cities.
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Montreal, QuebecThere is eco-friendly gardening, non-profit organizations like Soverdi - which have planted over a million and a half trees since 1992, and city funding for community-based agencies contributing to their local environment enhancement (via the Éco Quartier program). These are just a few of the ways Montreal is prioritizing green-based initiatives in the city. When you consider the larger population and size of a major city like Montreal, which presents the obvious challenges in making as much of an impact as smaller cities, their Green Score of 132 is definitely something to be proud of.
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Ottawa, OntarioDon’t let Ottawa’s Green Score of 144 fool you; this major city is serious about leading the pack when it comes to going green. From the city’s annual Cleaning the Capital initiative, where residents come together for a citywide cleanup in the spring and fall, to their many community projects and activities aimed at maintaining a “clean, green and litter- and graffiti-free city”.
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Calgary, AlbertaWhile Calgary may not have bragging rights when it comes to their modest Green Score of 123, the city is consistently ranked in the top of the greenest cities in Canada. FirstPowerCanada.ca notes, with over 7,500 hectares of green spaces and parks, the city of Calgary is considered one of the cleanest cities in the world. The city’s very own Green Calgary, an organization aimed at providing information and resources on environmental issues, is Canada’s oldest broad-audience environmental charity.
For a global perspective, check out our list of the 10 greenest cities in the world.