Story and photos by Cayley James
Out for its 11th year, The Green Living Show aims to "connect conscientious consumers to brands that stand for more than maximizing profits, who understand the importance of sustainability and who strive to spread this message." I knew I was in the right place by the plethora of cargo bikes out front of the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.
And yet once I checked in at the media desk I was met with the winners of the "Canadian Green Car Award," signs that announced IKEA, and mountains of taster cups being pushed around by maintenance staff in garbage bins.
The breadth of programming was impressive with a focus on food and sustainable building supplies, natural health options and cars. They even had documentaries showing throughout the weekend programmed by Planet in Focus.
The Green Living Show has never really been about cycling but this year had noticeably less to offer than in years. If you were a cyclist looking for the best and brightest in the future of cycling you you were at the wrong trade show. If you were a cyclist looking to move into "e-bike" territory than you were in luck!
Shimano were on deck to promote their "Steps" e-bike that they have developed over a number of years working in conjunction with a handful of manufacturers around the world. Essentially it's a battery pack and speedometer that you can flick on and get up to 32 km/h on a regular bike. The battery pack, that lasts for 100 hours, is attached to the frame of the bike and is rechargeable. Mike, the Shimano rep, confirms that it is a "whole lot of fun". I hop on for a test drive and it doesn't quite feel like you're in the bat mobile but I can definitely see the appeal. But with a price tag between $1800-$2000 I'll be sticking to the power of my own two legs. Another interested patron noted how unlikely he was to drive one out of fear it being stolen off the street.
The only bike manufacturer on the showroom floor was the Toronto based Revelo company. They're no stranger to the Green Living Show, having shown for the past two years, and were chosen as one of this year's Top 10 innovators. Revelo are makers of premium folding bikes and the booth was packed every time I went by. The crowd thinned for a moment and I could speak to an enthusiastic staffer who ran me through the features (PATENTED Z-FOLD, 9.5 KGS LIGHT, 5-SECOND FOLD!) and emphasized the urban friendly aspects like a hidden USB charger.
Ikea had a whole pavilion dedicated to their sustainable designs. Which is commendable considering the amount of wood they go through producing all of our cheap home furnishings. They proudly displayed the award winning Sladaa bike. People were flocking to enter and win the bike in a give away.
But other than that - bicycles weren't really represented. I mean the organic banana stand were making smoothies via bike power (there's an Arrested Development jokes in there somewhere). But if you were keen to pick up some tea, soaps and learn a little bit more about Ontario Wood than the Green Living show would have been a blast!
Maybe they'll be more two wheel friendly in the future. One can only hope.
A surprising number of people flocked indoors to celebrate the outdoors on a stunning Spring day.
Steps is featured on devinci frames.
The Steps System on an Evo frame.
The battery powered Flex e-bike
The Revelo Lift - the cheaper of the two non motorized bikes offered.
Look how easily it folds!
Bike blended smoothies!
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