Toronto marks Earth Hour but more lights on than last year

Toronto marks Earth Hour but more lights on than last year

Many Toronto residents turned off the lights for Earth Hour on Saturday but fewer homes powered down during the event this year as compared to last year, Toronto Hydro says.

Tori Gass, spokesperson for Toronto Hydro, said electricity use in the city dipped by 2.8 per cent, or 77 megawatts.

Gass said the amount is equivalent to removing 31,000 homes from Toronto Hydro's grid.

In 2016, however, electricity use in the city dropped by 3.2 per cent.

"We're happy with the results of this year's Earth Hour and want to thank everyone that took part," Gass said in a news release.

"But we also want to recognize everyone out there that makes an effort to reduce their electricity use each and every day of the year."

Earth Hour, which ran from 8:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. local time in all time zones, began in Australia in 2007 as a grass roots gesture by the World Wildlife Fund.

Electrical utilities across Canada actively promoted Earth Hour this year, but activists say power usage numbers are not a measure of the event's success.

Earth Hour designed to raise awareness

According to the WWF-Canada, the event is not about reducing electricity consumption, it is about shining a light on what it calls climate action.

"Earth Hour is a visual signal that ordinary people the world over want to change climate change," the organization said in an emailed statement.

"It's a sign we haven't forgotten about the Paris Agreement, and our determination to halt the degradation climate change causes to our environment.

"When you see a candle in through neighbour's window, when you see your community go dark, when you see that these small, symbolic actions are visible from outer space the world over, you see you're not alone on this issue."

On Saturday, Toronto residents took to Twitter to show snapshots of the city during Earth Hour.