Our Greatest Natural Resource

June 5, 2017

Although we’re most often characterized by our apologetic nature and frigid climate, Canada has a lot more to offer than just that. With an abundance of untouched natural landscapes, cultural diversity, and not two, but three “official” languages (our very own quirky slang), it’s no wonder we’re all so proud to be Canadian. At the top of this list though, is the abundance of natural resources that we host in our 9.985 million km² of land. Like our vast – seemingly infinite – supply of water (and maybe maple syrup too…).

In a nation surrounded by oceans, full of lakes, and equipped with what seems like a never ending supply of rain and snow, it’s hardly surprising that we have access to so much water. But just because it’s available doesn’t necessarily mean it’s always safe to consume. Which is why cities across Canada do their best to properly treat the natural resources of water before they ever reach our taps.

We have outlined what makes Canada’s three largest cities unique, and how their municipalities treat the natural water sources to remove harmful bacteria, viruses, and sediments.While each of these cities has tailored their treatments plants to suit their individual safety needs, it’s important to note that there are more factors that just “clean” and “dirty” water. Tap water normally falls at about a 7 on the pH scale, whereas your body’s optimal pH is closer to a 7.35. By drinking alkaline water you can help your body neutralize acidity and improve your overall health. Our products add essential minerals back to your water that compare to natural streams and rivers that run through Canada.

Canada is home to a bounty of natural resources and minerals – your water should be too.

Toronto

Canada’s largest city, a hub for most of its music, theater, arts, and broadcast networks; Toronto hosts a booming population of more than 2.7 million residents. No wonder, then, that is the commercial capital of the nation, with an extremely diversified economy. Contrasted to most of Canada’s rugged and rural landscapes, Toronto is truly an industrialized city, full of tall skyscrapers and high-rise buildings. But if you travel past the Eaton Centre, all the way down Yonge Street, you will arrive at a peaceful sanctuary away from Canada’s largest city.

Many think of Lake Ontario as a nice spot for swimming and boating in the summer, but it actually provides a lot more than just summer entertainment. Named after the most populous province, Lake Ontario has provided water to Canada’s largest city for over a century. There are four water treatment plants that service the city of Toronto, including R.C. Harris, F.J. Horgan, R.L. Clark, and the Island Water Treatment Plant. R.C. Harris Water Treatment Plant, Toronto’s largest water treatment plant, was constructed in the 1930s and can be found at the foot of Victoria Avenue. Taking raw water from Lake Ontario and converting it to potable water through a strenuous multi-step procedure.

The water from Lake Ontario is initially collected as raw water as it enters the pre-chlorination stage. Then it is sent through a series of screening procedures where larger debris is removed (like fish!). After going through raw water pumps, it starts to get a bit more complicated; Alum is added to the raw water to create a jelly-like substance that gathers the impurities, creating larger particles called “floc”, this process is in fact, called “flocculation”. Afterwards, the larger impurities settle at the bottom of the water supply until they are eventually filtered out. The water then goes through disinfection (through chlorine), and fluoridation (to 0.6mg per litre – to inhibit tooth decay). Following disinfection, ammonia is added to the water to ensure that the chlorine will persist until the final stretches of water distribution*.

Unfortunately, the chlorine that is used to disinfect our drinking water, is actually causing our bodies a lot of harm. Of course this doesn’t mean that you should be trekking out to Lake Ontario yourself for a glass of fresh lake water. It does, however, mean that you should be thinking of ways to reduce the amount of chlorine you’re consuming.

Action Plan: Since the City of Toronto does such an extensive job of actually cleaning the water and ridding it of harmful bacteria, you can opt for filter that focuses on reducing chlorine while adding essential minerals back in. The perfect product for all of you Torontonians is the Alkaline Water Pitcher; smallest enough to fit into the door of the fridge, so you don’t waste any counter space. Or if you’re looking for a portable option, try the Power Water Stickwhich will reduce chlorine on the go, and deliver you mineralized, alkaline water.

 

Montreal

Home to a booming nightlife, a prosperous commercial district, and a record number of restaurants per capita, Montreal is truly a unique city. For those of you who are familiar with the city, it really needs no introduction; with a distinct European quality, the old brick roads and aging buildings of the Old Port starkly contrast the buoyant “indie” atmosphere of the Mile End or the prosperous, industrial downtown core. A day doesn’t go by where you don’t hear distinct foreign – yet somehow familiar –  chatter in languages like French, Hebrew, Portuguese, English, and of course “franglais” (a quaint hybrid of French and English that is native to Montreal). Montreal is a magnet for artistic innovation and cultural diversity, so within the city’s borders there is never a dull moment.

And we mean never.

In the Canadian version of – and you’ll have to trust me on this one – the city that never sleeps, Montrealers need a way to fuel their bodies with more than just a Schwartz Deli sandwich and a cup of coffee from the neighbourhood café. So we turn to the elixir of life to properly nourish and fuel our day-to-day: water.

Gone are the days where Montrealers fetched their water from communal wells, public fountains, and directly from the stream and rivers that flowed through the city. The City of Montreal now draws water directly from the St. Lawrence River to distribute to among the city’s residents (phew!). The first and largest water treatment plant in Montreal was constructed at Atwater in 1918. Several decades later, in 1978, the Charles J. Des Baillets water treatment plant was built in Lasalle. Today, these water treatment plants remain the largest water treatment plants that service the City of Montreal. The treatment process involves filtering the raw water through large screens to remove basic debris (like fish!), then flushing water through a layer of sand that is about a metre thick – trapping bacteria and suspended particles. Both treatment plants use chlorine to disinfect the water and deal with any remaining bacteria and viruses*.

Action Plan: Whether you had a late night at the local jazz bar, or woke up early to beat the rush at your local café, you’ll definitely need a little extra pick me up throughout the day. As a Montrealer, you probably value practicality and convenience, which is why the Power Pouch is perfect for your bustling lifestyle. The little tea bag-like filter will reduce the chlorine that is present in your tap water, while adding essential minerals that will give you the energy to make it out for cocktails tonight with your coworkers. Still worried about what’s in your tap water? The Gravity Water System filters sediments, bacteria, heavy metals, chlorine, most organic materials, and more. The best part about it? It holds 10L in the lower tank, so you’ll only have to worry about filling it up every couple of days.

Vancouver

Whether it’s the ocean, the mountains, the city, or anywhere in between – everyone has a reason to fall in love with this bountiful, green city. Home to countless parks, forests, lakes, restaurants, and of course the beautiful sea-to-sky highway, you’ll never find yourself bored on the West Coast of Canada. Apart from our starkly different climate from the rest of Canada and our laid-back vibe, what really makes Vancouver unique is our passion for health – whether its a 7am yoga class before work, or midday spin class on your lunch break, or even an afternoon hike up Quarry Rock, we take health seriously. But all this exercise means that hydration is extremely important to us. Whether you’re a juice-lover, a coffee-addict, a kombucha-fanatic, or a wine-lover, there’s no shortage of drinks for you in the city of Vancouver. But, of course the best way to hydrate is by drinking enough of the highest quality water.

Now, before you call us crazy – we know that Vancouver is home to some of the cleanest and tastiest water in the world. So what’s the use in filtering water that’s already this good? There are many other factors to consider in the water you drink everyday, like its pH, what chemicals are in it, how many minerals are in it, and many other questions that most people don’t consider. Although there is no one-size-fits-all answer to how many glasses of water you should be drinking everyday, the average person will consume more than 690L of water per year. So wouldn’t you want all that water to be of the highest quality?

Metro Vancouver gathers its water from rain and snowmelt from the Capilano, Seymour, and Coquitlam Watersheds. The Seymour-Capilano Filtration Plant is the largest drinking water filtration plant in Canada, and is able to treat most of Vancouver’s water; The treatment process operates using filtration and UV to reduce cloudiness, remove micro-organisms like Giardia and Cryptosporidium, and reduce the amount of chlorine required for disinfection*. Constantly taking steps towards being more environmentally friendly, the Seymour-Capilano Filtration Plant is LEED gold and includes EcoSmart Concrete, generating low CO2 emissions and using less energy and water*.

Action Plan: With all that running around, Vancouverites need a product that is versatile and portable to keep them hydrated – like the Santevia Alkaline Stick and Tritan Bottle. Since the chlorine content in the municipal water supplies is low, this on-the-go product works well in Vancouver to add minerals like calcium and magnesium to naturally raise the pH of the water. If you’re looking for something a little extra to reduce the amount of chlorine you’re ingesting through our skin – check out the Santevia Shower Filter.

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This post was written by Makena Anderson

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