Past Events

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Panel: Internationally Trained Water Professionals

Date: September 24, 2019

Blue Drinks Toronto and the Canadian Water Resources Association (CWRA) presented an informative panel discussion about the challenges and opportunities for internationally trained professionals in the water sector in Canada. Multiple perspectives contributed to an engaging discussion. Indra Maharjan, Lauren Heuser, Adriana Gomez and Jalal Attari shared their journeys.


Water-Themed Trivia Night

Date: September 5, 2019

Join Blue Drinks Toronto for a fun evening of water-themed trivia! Don’t sweat it, bring your SmartWater and drown the competition!


Networking Event: International Young Water Professionals Conference

Date: June 26, 2019

Blue Drinks Toronto partnered with the International Young Water Professionals Conference to host an evening of casual networking and presentations at the Yonge St Warehouse for conference participants and members of Toronto’s water community. Speakers included Stephanie Gora (Dalhousie University), Nick Reid (Ryerson Urban Water), and Kerry Freek (Water for People – Canada).


Blue Drinks Cocktail Reception: Canadian Water Summit Conference

Date: May 30, 2019
Blue Drinks Toronto was the promotional partner for the Blue Drinks Cocktail Reception during the Canadian Water Summit Conference at the Blue Mountain Resort in Georgian Bay, Ontario.


Networking Event: Blue Cities Conference

Date: May 7, 2019

Blue Drinks Toronto partnered with the Canadian Water Network to host conference delegates of Blue Cities 2019 and members of the Toronto water community for casual networking at Kelly’s Landing. 


Dr. Mathew Wells: Thermal Layering in the Waters of Lake Ontario

Date: April 24, 2019

Mathew Wells, Associate Professor from the Department of Physical and
Environmental Science at the University of Toronto Scarborough presented on his group’s research. Mathew’s group studies environmental fluid dynamics, and focuses on how fundamental fluid dynamic processes influence the transport and mixing of
sediment and chemicals in rivers, lakes and the coastal ocean. Currently
his group studies the impact environmental fluid dynamics on the transport
of microplastics and invasive species dispersion and the role of internal
waves in modifying fish habitat and dissolved oxygen levels.


Water For All: World Water Day Panel Discussion

Date: April 4, 2019

Organized by the Canadian Water Resources Association Ontario Branch and supported by Blue Drinks Toronto, this panel discussion focused on the theme Water for All, put forward by UN-Water for World Water Day 2019. Topics of discussion involved water as a human right, in the context of water security and access to our shared water resources.


Energy Recovery at Wastewater Treatment Plants

Date: February 7, 2019

Indra Maharjan, Program Manager, Engineering, Capital and Support Services at the Ontario Clean Water Agency, spoke to us about his projects in resource and energy recovery at wastewater treatment plants across Ontario.


Port Lands Project: Presentations & Model Viewing

Date: November 1, 2018

Blue Drinks Toronto hosted an exclusive evening of presentations and an opportunity to view the Port Lands project model, with speakers from Waterfront Toronto and Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA). Following presentations and discussion at the Port Lands Project Drop-In Centre, the group gathered at a neighboring pub for networking over beverages.

Speakers included:

  • Robert Chan from the TRCA, who spoke about the project flood protection strategy and 2D hydraulic modelling
  • Don Forbes from Waterfront Toronto, who shared technical information on how they plan to dig a kilometre-long new river
  • Ken Dion from Waterfront Toronto, who spoke about plans for the ecological restoration of the site once construction will be completed

Blue Drinks Talks Job: Panel discussion

Date: October 22, 2018

As part of the Ontario Water Innovation Week, WaterTAP and Blue Drinks Toronto co-hosted Blue Drinks Talks Jobs, a fun, informal speaker panel talking all about working in the water sector. The panel included speakers with diverse backgrounds and stories as to how they got to where they are in their current careers.

Panel speakers included:

  • Anne-Pascale Richardson, AquaHacking
  • Michele Grenier, Ontario Water Works Association
  • Natasha Jansen, Toronto Water
  • Rick Esselment, ESSE Canada

Victoria Hinojosa & Fryderyk Paczkowski (Parakata)

Date: September 27, 2018

Fryderyk Paczkowski and Victoria Hinojosa work at Parakata, an organization that works with Mexican entrepreneurs on innovative environmental and biological engineering projects. Their talk covered the evolution of Tenochtilán to present-day Mexico City, an archetypal 21st-century megacity, in the context of the Water-Energy-Food Nexus (WEF Nexus). They showcased Mesoamerican sustainable and resilient approaches to the WEF Nexus. They also spoke about the current state of the City’s water infrastructure and its challenges regarding climate change, accelerated urbanization, as well as privatization and politicization of water.


Lost Rivers Walk: Port Lands Project

Date: August 19, 2018

Blue Drinks Toronto partnered with the Latornell Mentorship Program and Toronto Green Community to offer a Lost Rivers Walk to learn about Waterfront Toronto’s exciting Port Lands project. This is one of the largest infrastructure projects in Toronto’s history that will renaturalize the mouth of the Don River, create 40 hectares of green space, and reduce flooding risks. We walked approximately 3 km from the mouth of the Don, past future Villiers Island to Corktown Common.  Afterwards, we enjoyed refreshments and the opportunity to network at Betty’s restaurant (240 King St. East).


Sabrina Bowman (GreenPAC)

Date:  May 16, 2018

Canadians care about the natural environment, but we don’t always see politicians getting elected that reflect those values. GreenPAC is working to address that challenge. GreenPAC identified strong, winnable environmental candidates from all major parties running in the upcoming Ontario election, then created a Candidate Matching Tool so you can find the candidate that shares your environmental and political values.

Sabrina graduated from Environmental Studies from the University of Waterloo and has spent over a decade working in the not-for-profit sector on environment, politics, and international health in Ottawa, San Francisco, and Toronto. She started with GreenPAC in the fall of 2015 and was named Executive Director in December 2016. Sabrina is a trainer at the Institute for Change Leaders and she co-organized the 2014 and 2017 Canroots organizing conferences in Toronto.


CWN SYPC Blue Networking Event

Date: May 1, 2018

Hosted by CWN’s Student and Young Professional Committee, this event followed the first day of the Blue Cities 2018 Conference. It was open to the Toronto water community.


Water Docs Festival

Date: April 15, 2018

Part 1: Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema
Come watch the Water Drops Closing Matinee Screening with us, featuring 10 short films about  various water topics. Includes Q&A with filmmakers Goh Iromoto and Michael Premo.
Part 2: Pauper’s Pub

Join us after the screenings for discussions and drinks.


Exclusive Tour of the RC Harris Water Treatment Plant

Date: March 14, 2018

Tour Guide: Gord Mitchell, General Manager of the RC Harris Water Treatment Plant

Topic: Exclusive tour of the Tour of the RC Harris Treatment Plant for Blue Drinks Toronto participants.


Gord Mitchell (RC Harris Water Treatment Plant)

Date: February 21, 2018

Speaker: Gord Mitchell, General Manager of the RC Harris Water Treatment Plant

Topic: Please join us in February for a talk with Gord Mitchell about the R.C. Harris Water Treatment Plant. We are especially excited to have Gord speak, since he’ll be preparing us for a tour of the plant on March 14th, as well. After the talk, we’ll open signups for the tour- there are limited places, and they will be first-come, first-served. Any other spots will be made available after the meeting.  The event poster is below. Hope to see you on the 21st!


Nancy Goucher (Founder of Blue Drinks Toronto)

Date: January 25, 2018

Speaker: Nancy Goucher, Blue Drinks Toronto founder

Topic: Can you believe that Blue Drinks Toronto has been around for eight years? Little did we know how popular this little networking event would become. We didn’t start out with much but we did have great people who were excited to build new connections with like minded water folks. We’ve now partnered with the Canadian Water Resources Association and Canadian Water Network Young Professionals, which has provided volunteers and a bit of resources to help us run even better events for you. Join us to be among the first to get a glimpse of our sparkling new logo, play some games and here from Blue Drinks founder, Nancy Goucher, as she describes how Blue Drinks has grown into a bit of a national phenomenon over the years!


Emmy Scholten (Deputy Consul General of the Kingdom of the Netherlands)

Date: November 22, 2017

Speaker: Emmy Scholten, Deputy Consul General of the Kingdom of the Netherlands

Topic: Emmy spoke about how the Consul General of Netherlands works to promote cross-country learning to advance water management in Canada.


Cllr Mike Layton (City of Toronto)

Date: August 2, 2017

Speaker: Mike Layton, Councillor, City of Toronto

Topic: Toronto’s Cancelled Stormwater Fee

Toronto has experienced highly publicized incidents of flooding in its basements and highways that can be linked to increases in stormwater runoff in the region. After the example of several communities that have begun charging separate stormwater fees, city staff at Toronto have been working for years on how stormwater fees may be implemented in Toronto. The idea, however, was squashed by council this spring. City Councillor Mike Layton talked to us about why he thinks a stormwater charge would be good for the city and what we might be able to do about it moving forward.


Robert Muir (City of Markham)

Date: June 7, 2017

Speaker: Robert Muir, Manager of Stormwater at the City of Markham

Topic: Thinking Critically about Climate Change and Flooding

Our guest speaker talked about what makes a neighbourhood vulnerable to flooding and how to prioritize remediation efforts. He presented his research on intense storm events and discussed implications for building new infrastructure.


Stephen Leahy (Author)

Date: June 25, 2015

Speaker: Stephen Leahy, Author

Topic: Your Water Footprint: How everyday choices may be impacting global water supplies

Stephen Leahy will talk about findings from his newest book, Your Water Footprint (which by the way, just won best science book in NYC at the Green Book Festival). He’ll discuss how he thinks an improved understanding of water footprints can help us in a future of increasingly severe water shortages. It’s a story about empowerment and how small changes to the choices we make everyday can have a big impact on global water resources.


Ludiwine Clouzot (Founder of Ecoloodi)

Date: June 4, 2015

Speaker: Ludiwine Clouzot, Founder of Ecoloodi

Topic: Water Innovation in Africa

When we think of the countries and regions most known for water innovation, few people think of places in Africa. But why not? It’s often those who are faced the greatest challenges that are the most creative problem solvers. This is what this month’s Blue Drinks host, Ludiwine Clouzot, observed during her time in Benin (a tiny African country, adjacent to Nigeria). Through pictures, video, and stories, Ludi shared her insights about Benin’s truest source of innovation. Here’s a hint: they key to safe water isn’t just about the newest technology or digging wells; it’s also about changing the mindsets of children.


Sabrina Bowman (Environmental Defence)

Date: April 28, 2015

Speaker: Sabrina Bowman, Environmental Defence

Topic: Building Community through  Engagement Organizing

With the latest oil spill on the B.C. coast, we’re once again reminded what our dependence on fossil fuels means for our water. Closer to home, the latest energy battle is over the Energy East pipeline. This project would be the largest tar sands pipeline in the world. It stretches from Alberta and New Brunswick, would carry 1.1 million litres of bitumen a day, and crosses 961 rivers, including many sources of drinking water.

This threat to drinking water is deeply personal for those living near the proposed pipeline, and has united communities all along the route in a common cause to protect water and their local environment.

Sabrina talked about her work with these communities and how she uses engagement-organizing tools to help individuals and grassroots groups build the capacity they need to keep their water safe.


Stan Gibson (Ecologos)

Date: March 4, 2015

Speaker: Stan Gibson, Ecologos

Topic: From Movies to Action: Climbing the Ladder of Engagement

This year will be the fourth year for the Water Docs Film Festival, organized by a mighty team of volunteers, led by Stan Gibson, who are passionate about sharing stories and documentaries about water with the broader community. The festival has been successful at educating thousands of people about all sorts of water issues. But these incredibly dedicated folks want to do more and motivating people to take the next step is a real challenge.

This month, we’re asking Blue Drinkers to participate in a discussion about how to move people up the ladder of engagement from their comfy theatre seats to real actions that protect water.


Barry Orr (City of London)

Date: January 19, 2015

Speaker: Barry Orr, City of London

Topic: Flushable wipes: One man’s gain; Taxpayer’s loss

Flushable wipes is an issue that resonates with people – maybe it’s partly because of the direct costs some have to pay when the wipes clog their toilets; maybe it’s because people are shocked to learn they would be sold something that says it is safe when it is not. The North American personal wipes industry is worth $6.7-billion and is expected to grow by six per cent annually over the next five years. But one man’s gain is another man’s loss and we are all paying the price. Because most of the wipes don’t disintegrate as quickly as toilet paper and clog the system, municipalities (and ultimately taxpayers) are paying hundreds of thousands of dollars in additional operating expenses and capital costs.

The Blue Drinks talked about the related technical and financial issues of flushable wipes. We also witnessed a demonstration to show us how long it really takes for flushable wipes to disintegrate.