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World Oceans Day: WWF celebrates a sea of innovation in the nation’s capital

Every year on June 8, we all have an opportunity to celebrate the ocean and its importance for people and the planet. This year in Ottawa, World Oceans Day was all about innovation, and WWF spent the day celebrating big, bright ideas from across Canada that are focused on healthy oceans.

We kicked off the day’s celebrations with a public event downtown on Sparks Street. WWF and HUB Ottawa joined up to publicly announce the winners of the Ottawa Wave Makers microgrants, in spite of some fairly ocean-like weather. HUB Ottawa is a local leader in collaboration and community building, and WWF is thrilled to be partnering with them to bring this first-of-its-kind microgrant program to the nation’s capital. The Wave Makers program was launched in February of this year and aims to raise local awareness about Canada’s oceans by supporting innovative Ottawa-based projects. We asked Ottawans to get creative and think outside the boat about ways to get the rest of the city thinking, talking, and caring about the ocean.

Left to Right: Vinod Rajasekaran, Lead Strategist for Hub-Ottawa, and David Miller, President & CEO, WWF-Canada present an Ottawa Wave Makers certificate to Patrick McCormack, in recognition of his winning ocean arts project. © WWF-Canada / Greg Teckles

And they did! On June 8, representatives from all eight of the selected projects joined us to celebrate the next step of this exciting adventure in social innovation. From games to dances, from cooking classes to public art, these projects will definitely be making waves here in the capital – stay tuned to meet all the Ottawa Wave Makers in an upcoming WWF post.

Later on, WWF rounded out the day with a special “Oceans on the Hill” parliamentary reception to celebrate innovation in industry from across Canada. MPs from all parties were joined by a diverse crowd of ocean enthusiasts to enjoy sustainable Canadian seafood and to hear from four leading oceans innovators from Canada’s coasts.

First up, Fundy Ocean Research Center for Energy (FORCE) told us about the need for infrastructure to support the growth of renewable tidal energy to help Canada transition to a clean energy future. Marine Environmental Observation Prediction and Response (MEOPAR) shared information about their Whales, Habitat, and Listening Experiment (WHaLE) project, where their goal is to find and define whale habitat and to develop, test, and implement a Canadian Whale Alert system to avoid conflicts between ships and whales.

Later, ThisFish talked about their seafood traceability app, which focuses on the supply chain so that Canadian consumers know exactly how their fish got from the ocean to their plate. And last but not least, Ocean Networks Canada presented information about Smart Oceans, a program that provides real-time integrated information about things like marine safety and management, for the public good.

Made in Canada technologies and innovative ideas like these can put Canada in a leadership position globally, and show the world how healthy oceans support a strong economy.

Both on Sparks Street and on the Hill, we couldn’t help but be inspired by the enthusiasm of all of these innovators – big thinkers from coast to coast who are dedicated to ensuring the health of our oceans for the benefit of future Canadians. Happy World Oceans Day from Ottawa!

© WWF-Canada / Greg Teckles

© WWF-Canada / Greg Teckles