Fall Fun at EcoHouse Tours

Green Venture’s staff is ready for the fall school tours. My name is Susan, and I am one of the Education Support Staff here at Green Venture. As we get ready for another year of school tours, I have been thinking back over my favourite activities to do with visiting students. One thing that I love to show off at Green Venture is our Sink Toilet. First I get to watch as the children reluctantly follow me into our demonstration bathroom (“you want us to all come into the bathroom?!”), then I amaze them by flushing the Sink Toilet. This toilet uses the same water twice: when you flush, the clean tap water cosusan-oct-blogmes out of a tap on top of the tank, so that you can wash your hands. Then that soapy greywater fills the tank, and is used the next time someone flushes. Amazing! My favourite game to run is the “Farm Disaster Game”. I only get to play this with grade 6’s, so if you are in grade 6 please come visit me this year! The children get into groups, and I give them a lovely bird’s eye view of their farm (which are all different). Then I start reading through a series of random natural events that take place over the “year”, and we see which style of farming either monoculture or companion planting has the most plants left alive. It is a huge wake up call to realize how hard it is to be a farmer, how unfair Mother Nature is, and how amazingly plants can work together.

– Susan

If you are interested in booking a school tour this year contact Virginia Stonehouse, Education Manager 905 540 8787 x154 or


Heritage of EcoHouse: dormant, but not forgotten

In honour of the National Trust Conference: Heritage Rising, held this past weekend in Hamilton, GV Executive Director, Michael Gemmell, offers some thoughts on Green Venture’s EcoHouse and its links to the past.

“I came to Green Venture in 2007 after working in the museum field for a decade. My original task when I was hired for Green Venture was to determine how to integrate the EcoHouse’s heritage shell into the existing programming. I hoped to put some new emphasis on the backstory of the site (historically referred to as “Glen Manor”), and specifically how it tied in to the concept of Adaptive Reuse.

Green Venture’s underlying environmental messaging is all about wisely using resources, whether that is energy, water, proper waste disposal, reduced inappropriate fuels in transportation, or greenhouse gas reduction through climate change education. The heritage property, known today as EcoHouse, has 165+ years of invested resources in all of those areas, and the key link to be made was the fact that is: were we (the community, the City, or even just GV) to eliminate this heritage property, all of that invested energy and resources would be lost. A much smaller amount of resources could instead be invested in maintaining the existing property (albeit with modifications to bring it into the modern era) and still respect the intention of its 1986 heritage designation.

While most of the time, Green Venture only pays limited attention to the backstory of its office and education centre, there are occasions when the heritage comes to the fore. Doors Open Hamilton weekend, the first Saturday and Sunday in May, is one such example. Every year, Green Venture shows off what new historical research has discovered about the site.  A variety of small artifacts remain at the house, although with a digital photo collection.

Some recent examples:

  • A small medicine bottle, located on the grounds, from the early 20th centurymedicine-bottle
  • Milk tickets from the 1960s dairy operation.glendale-dairy-ticket-sheets
  • A photo of Quigley Construction Company from a descendant of the Quigley family, the namesake of the road off of which modern Veevers Drive runs.           bill-marshall-and-quigley-construction-c1930

Our staff also take some pride in the unique circumstances of our office. The names of the former occupants of the house, Ronald and Bertram Veevers, are incorporated into room names. As part of our environmental education programming, their use of the property is contrasted to the modern use in a number of areas, inside and out. Green Venture also works to maintain a nearby park where a near duplicate of a commemorative stone found at Glen Manor can be seen. In 2014, Green Venture added a historical mural to the park commemorating the history of the former farm, which at one time included both our site and the park.

Completed Veevers Park mural, painted by Jotthi Bansal

Completed Veevers Park mural, painted by Jotthi Bansal

Today as director, my role has changed again. I am now more focused on the environmental aspects of our work than the historical elements, but the fascinating evolution of EcoHouse and the surrounding community into which it was constructed remains a item of significance.”

EcoStars Summer Camp is finished for the year

Steam and Tech visit 1

With the summer coming to a close, it’s been a sad week here at the EcoHouse- we just don’t know what to do with ourselves! It’s been a tough time packing up all of our crafts and games, but we look forward for the next summer to come. The three sessions of campers that we had were equal parts enthusiastic and creative, and we’re so lucky to have had them as EcoStars! Be it an adventurous hike in the woods, or a quick dip in the pool. our campers were down for everything! They were especially brave when facing our scaly friends from the reptile man. More than that, our campers were kind to one another, and it was really fantastic to see some new friendships form over the week.


We really hope to see some returning (and new!) faces next year, but until then we’ll be preparing all of the fun games and activities to come! Enjoy the last little bit of summer, and good luck with the coming school year everyone! We really do hope you can make an Eco-impression on your classmates, friends, and family.


Bright Eyes and Dandy



Bugs n’ Bloom EcoStars Camp Week #2

20160727_144716 It feels strange that we’re over halfway done summer camp, but that’s only because of how quickly it flew by! Our latest camp session was themed as Bugs n’ Blooms, and was jammed-packed with visits from the members of Bay Area Restoration Council, as well as some slithery friends from the Reptile Man. Our EcoStars took to the forest at the Dundas conservation centre, where we found all types of friends- both big and small! We even lent a helping hand to our community by helping prepare food with Victory Gardens’ food bank program.

I was so impressed with the curiosity, creativity, and genuine enthusiasm of my campers. I can’t wait to see what our next (and last!) week has to offer… let’s just say we’re soaked with excitement. Until then!


Bright Eyes Victory Gardens EcoStars camp field trip 160728 1


Meet the EcoStar Summer Camp Staff

Green Venture is getting ready for their first EcoStar camp! With topics like Bugs & Blooms, H2Whoa that’s a lot of Water, and EcoExplorers, campers are sure to learn new skills and an appreciation for the environment around them.  As camp director I’m excited to introduce our two camp counsellors Bright Eyes and Dandy.

Continue reading

R.A. Riddell School is going on a Green Venture

May 19, 2016



HAMILTON, ON – DEPAVE PARADISE ( projects engage volunteers and neighbourhoods in communities across Canada, removing pavement and planting gardens filled with native species in its place. On May 28th and June 4th, Green Venture, R.A. Riddell Elementary School, partners and local residents will be hosting Hamilton’s 3rd Depave Paradise event to transform part of the school’s asphalt playground into a beautiful garden for the community to enjoy. Continue reading

Green Spring Cleaning

Are you looking for a way to clean your home from top to bottom, with items you already have in your kitchen?  We asked the staff for their top tips and tricks for Spring Cleaning, using no chemicals or toxic ingredients. Continue reading

Four Shades of Green

An update on our grass alternative beds

EcoHouse is getting greener — four shades greener to be exact!  Last summer we established four small test plots for different types of lawn alternatives, right in our own front yard.  We wanted to understand the benefits of each type firsthand, and be able to show visitors exactly how each would turn out.  This has been an exciting project right from the get-go.  There was much debate amongst staff and board as to which alternatives we should choose, and the four finalists that made it into the exhibit were: Continue reading

UpRoot Hamilton – Green Venture’s 20th Anniversary Celebration

Every now and again we need to be challenged and motivated to get out of our routines and try out new ideas and experiences, finding ourselves UpRooted! On October 3rd Green Venture hosted it’s first ever fundraiser, pulling up its own roots and trying new things to grow as an organization. What a success it was! Despite the strong winds, rain and unseasonably cool temperatures, people came out to help  celebrate 20 years of environmental outreach and education in the Hamilton community and donate  to help keep Green Venture going strong for the next 20 years! Continue reading

Celebrating 20 Years: A Look Back

Green Venture officially began operating in 1995, making 2015 our 20th anniversary. Although we’ll be marking this special occasion with an amazing event called UpRoot Hamilton (which you can read more about), we’ve also taken the time to think about our past 20 years, and the amazing journey we’ve been on as we try to make Hamilton and area the most environmentally friendly place to live, one day, and one action, at a time. Continue reading