Business people, community and political leaders packed the Hilton in Markham, for the Markham Board of Trade luncheon, featuring the mayor’s annual address.

The mayor highlighted a list of sustainability firsts, and initiatives underway, to support the city’s vision for a greenMarkham.

“In Markham, we are addressing the challenges of sustainability in our planning, in our development and in our social programs, to create a healthier community for future generations,” Mayor Frank Scarpitti said.

Scarpitti highlighted the city’s innovative sustainability programs, including Trees for Tomorrow, Rouge National Urban Park partnership, the 22 kilometres of scenic pathways, the City’s monarch-friendly proclamation, the 81 per cent waste diversion rate, and the new textile program.

Energy conservation and reducing carbon emissions were also highlighted as part of greenMarkham, as Scarpitti spoke to the City’s solar portfolio, LED street lighting and LEED building standard.

His speech also focused on local environmental research and innovation, including POND Technologies, General Motors’ Canadian Technology Centre Markham Campus, TD Insurance’s investment in Markham, ventureLab at IBM, Aviva Canada headquarters, Honda Canada and the new campus for York University.

Scarpitti said Markham is so advanced in technology that it is known globally.

“The Markham name and brand is well-known for a community of its size and does really well in international markets,” Scarpitti said.

“We are recognized as a leader in Canada; we are a community of 360,000 people, there are cities not too far from us that are not as advanced… Our reputation is known in excellence, sustainability, financial management and good planning.”