Fairmont Royal York Puts Beatdown On Climate Change With Temporary Symbolic Gesture
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Fairmont Royal York Puts Beatdown On Climate Change With Temporary Symbolic Gesture

Royal York turns off the lights
Look for packs of perplexed wheelie-encumbered tourists roaming Front Street this week in a fruitless search for shelter, as the Fairmont Royal York darkens its iconic rooftoop sign for seven days.
The hotel is taking the step as part of Energy Awareness Week, an initiative spearheaded by the Ontario Power Authority to raise awareness of and disseminate information about energy conservation (events include “Tieless Tuesday,” not a huge conservation measure in itself, but with any luck a test run for a future “Naked Wednesday”). In addition, the hotel is holding a mid-week “colleague and guest awareness day,” and will close the week with candlelight service at the Library Bar. The Library will also get you drunk by candlelight every Saturday for the remainder of the summer (cougars take note).
The Fairmont Royal York first turned out their lights for Earth Hour back in April, when they powered down for, you know, an hour, so this will be a major expansion of the sign shutting-down program.
Good idea? Well, dimming the downtown neon slightly won’t put polar bears back on ice floes, but on the other hand, Torontoist would never have heard of Energy Awareness Week if it weren’t for this story, so presumably the gesture is having some success in raising the profile of the event. Besides that, you have to give Fairmont credit—earlier this year they partnered with the World Wildlife Fund to measure the CO2 footprint of the company and come up with a chain-wide emission reductions plan. They’ve also implemented a number of eco-friendly measures locally that go beyond the standard “please don’t make us wash your towels” signs, including green procurement policies and the donation of amenities and reusable items to charity.
So if you’re looking for something to do tonight, turn off the lights at home, whip off that tie, and take the TTC downtown to watch the Fairmont Royal York sign not be on. It can’t hurt.
Photo by wvs from the Torontoist Flickr Pool.