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One of North America's Largest Solar Powered Pontoon Boat Makes a Splash at Naming and Launch Ceremony Honouring Kathleen Wynne

Oct 01, 2009

On October 2, Toronto and Region Conservation (TRCA) is hosting a Naming and Launch Ceremony for its new solar pontoon boat. The boat will be named the "Kathleen Wynne" in recognition of the leadership and vision that Minister of Education Kathleen Wynne has brought to reintegrating the environment back into the Ontario curriculum and student learning. TRCA recently acquired North America's largest commercial solar powered electric pontoon boat for use at its Lake St. George Field Centre, an outdoor educational facility located in Richmond Hill. At 32 feet by 11 feet, this zero emission pontoon boat will serve as a floating classroom for up to 25 students visiting Lake St. George Field Centre.

"I'm delighted that TRCA has acquired this boat to help teach Ontario students about the environment," said Education Minister Kathleen Wynne.  "This boat represents the best of both worlds; kids are both learning about how to be better environmental citizens, and they are seeing that in action with a zero-emissions vehicle."

Custom built for TRCA by Buffalo Solar Boats, in Brechin, Ontario, their new Osprey model of solar boats features solar panels on the roof that power a bank of batteries, which power two electric motors.  The technology makes the boat extremely quiet which allows for an unparalleled learning experience for the students who come to learn about the ecology and chemistry of kettle lakes.

"The solar boat is a key component of a new initiative that TRCA is undertaking to achieve carbon neutrality for its five education centres through renewable energy retrofits, energy efficiency programs, student occupancy behaviour and carbon offsets," said Darryl Gray, Acting Manager, Education, TRCA. "Environmental education centres need to reflect the values we are trying to teach, as well as provide leadership to the entire learning community."

What: Lake St. George Solar Pontoon Boat Naming and Launch Ceremony

When: Friday, October 2, 2009. 9:00 AM - 10:15 AM; registration and reception at 8:30 AM

Who: Honourable Kathleen Wynne, Minister of Education, Gerri Lynn O'Connor, Chair TRCA;
Brian Denney, CAO TRCA; Adele Freeman, Director Watershed Management, TRCA; Darryl Gray,  Acting Manager, Education, TRCA; students from St. Francis de Sales Catholic School and St. Martha Catholic School; Diane Giangrande, Chair York Region District School Board and invited public officials, representatives from school boards and partners.

Where: Lake St. George Field Centre, 950 Bethesda Side Road, Richmond Hill, ON M3N 1S4

About Lake St. George Field Centre
Opened in 1979, Lake St. George Field Centre is located on a 120- hectare site on the ecologically significant Oak Ridges Moraine, just east of Bayview Avenue in the Town of Richmond Hill. The educational facility offers a wide range of programs designed to provide students with hands-on experiences in a safe and supportive outdoor setting. It is also the home of the Weston Environmental Leaders of Tomorrow Program.

About Toronto and Region Conservation
With over 50 years of experience, Toronto and Region Conservation (TRCA) helps people understand, enjoy and look-after the natural environment. Our vision is for The Living City®, where human settlement can flourish forever as part of nature's beauty and diversity. For more information, call 416-661-6600 or visit us at

To register for the event please contact:
Rowena Calpito, Supervisor, Media Management, Toronto and Region Conservation
Tel: 416-661-6600 ext 5632, E-mail:

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Media contact:

Elizabeth Oakley
Tel: 416-661-6600 ext 5856

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