With Christmas Lights, Old School Isn't Cool

Old lights are collected in exchange for new LED lights in Roncesvalles today as part of the festive light exchange program in Toronto. All the old lights will be recycled.

As much as I loved the struggle to find which bulb was causing the whole string not to work, and as much as I loved turning off the lights after a few hours to make sure the tree didn't start on fire, it's nice to know the new generation of festive lights is saving the environment. In a way to encourage the use of these new efficient lights this season, the city is again (it's the fourth year) exchanging your old lights with new LED (Light Emitting Diode) ones. The new lights have a 98% reduction in energy consumption.

Toronto Hydro-Electric System Limited, in partnership with the City of Toronto and the Toronto Association of Business Improvement Areas (TABIA) is holding Festive Light Exchanges in neighborhoods across Toronto during the Cavalcade of Lights Festival.

All you have to do is bring two strings (though I only brought one) of old incandescent lights and in exchange you will receive one string of energy-efficient LED lights. Incandescent lights are not only the traditional big glass bulbs that would break all the time and stop working, but also the small lights that blink with music a few years ago... basically if the bulb gets hot at all, it's probably incandescent. That's the scientific test.

Lights are available to the first 500 families at each event. Only one exchange per family (though I saw one person bring in six strings and got more than one; I think it depends on how busy they are). The offer is extended to City of Toronto residents only, though I don't know how they are regulating that, I didn't see them checking hydro bills.

Light exchanges are happening around the city until December 2nd. The remaining events are listed below.

What you get:


Saturday November 24
Location: Roncesvalles Village, Polish Credit Union, 220 Roncesvalles Ave. (between Fern Ave. and Garden Ave.)
Time: 2:00 - 4:00 pm

Sunday November 25
Location: Emery Village, Carmine Stefano Community Centre, Weston Rd. at Sheppard Ave. W.
Time: 3:00 - 6:00 pm

Thurday November 29
Location: Riverside District, 791 Queen St. E at Degrassi (west of CN tracks)
Time: 6:00 - 8:00 pm

Saturday December 1
Location: Beach, Kew Gardens, Queen St. E. at Lee Ave.
Time: 4:00 - 6:00 pm

Sunday December 2
Location: Mimico-by-the-Lake BIA, Mimico Ave. at Lake Shore Blvd. W.
Time: 3:00 - 6:00 pm


A comparison of energy consumption between old and new lights.


Peggy Nash cutting an old string of lights at the Roncesvalles Village Lights Exchange.

Photos by Joseph.

Latest Videos

Latest Videos

Join the conversation Load comments

Latest in Environment

6 Toronto buildings with LEED Platinum certification

Quench wants you to re-fill your water bottle

Highlights from the 2012 Live Green Toronto Festival

Photos of the 2012 Eco-Wheels Show

5 things to see at the Toronto Green Living Show 2012

EV Fest brings electric vehicles to The Brick Works

Urban harvesting with Not Far From The Tree

Riverdale and the Junction aim for carbon neutrality