Intentionally left in the dark at Earth Hour

- Although the Earth Hour spotlight (or more appropriately, the lack of one) was pointed in the direction of the world's major energy-gobbling cities the night of March 28, smaller centres were also in the dark, and happy to be there.

Sylvia Seeley, of Whitby, said her family made sure every light was turned off in the house and lit candles in their den.

"I believe in this...

I know it's more of an awareness project, but it still works,'' she said. "It was nice. We sat and talked – something we haven't done in a long time – and even discussed the environment.''

She said her 19-year-old son, Luke, was skeptical at first, saying his family was likely the only one "sitting around in the dark."

But when he ventured outside, he was surprised to see rows and rows of darkened homes in his neighbourhood.

Not every candlelit Earth Hour was a good one, though. Peel police say part of a townhouse on Stardust Dr. in Mississauga's Meadowvale area burned after the residents put a candle on the mantel as part of Earth Hour celebrations and then left for 45 minutes.

Tara Wood, a spokesperson for Earth Hour Canada, said it's true that the larger centres may get all the media attention with photos of darkened skylines and towers, but the event is a joint effort involving planning and events in small towns, villages and even hamlets across the country.

Ontario demand for power dropped more than 6 per cent during Earth Hour, the Independent Electricity Systems Operator announced. Toronto recorded a record 15.1 per cent drop.

B.C., Newfoundland and Labrador and Nova Scotia all reported about a 1 per cent drop in consumption. Calgary, which saw power increase during Earth Hour last year, also saw a small drop this year.

Manitoba, however, saw a small surge in Earth Hour power use, which Manitoba Hydro blamed on furnace use during chilly -8C temperatures with a -13C wind chill.



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