In these pre-Internet days, it was a rare guide to new "green" developments in materials and design processes that strived to help readers understand the growing field of designing for sustainability. Green Design would grow to find a receptive readership around the world.
In late 1995 the SDA opened The Sustainable Development Resource Centre. Located in downtown Montreal's only passive solar building (Solominium)designed by architect and SDA member, John Schreiber. Operated on a volunteer basis, the Centre featured a library and showcase of sustainable products and materials. Weekly lectures were held on wide-ranging facets of sustainability, typically in matters related to architecture, engineering and urban planning. The office provided free public and private consultation to a few thousand visitors during its operation in 1996-97.
Thanks to the tireless coordination efforts of SDA member Douglas Jack, we published Canada's first "green" map; ECO-MONTREAL: TIOTIAKE highlighting local sites of ecological & environmental importance. Produced in collaboration with McGill University's School of Urban Planning, the map provided a fresh perspective on our hometown's relationship with nature. Hoping to educate, inform, and promote awareness of the Montreal island, the map identified as many natural and toxic sites, green businesses, eco-buildings, NGOs and other significant features as we could squeeze onto the map.
We elected to give our map the Mohawk subtitle, TIOTIAKE, pronounced jo-ja-guay, because of the respect that indigenous peoples have traditionally held for this place. Tiotiake is the name for the Montreal archipelago (group of islands), and roughly translates into 'where the nations (and allegorically, the rivers) unite and divide'. In following years, we learned from senior Mohawk speakers that the prefered spelling for TIOHTIAKE includes a silent 'h' and all of our subsequent work used the corrected spelling.