REAL is developing its Environment Centre on the 85 William St. site to feature practical environmental solutions that people can model in their homes and communities.
Environment Centre Beginnings
In 2008 the REAL Deal Reuse Store moved to its current location, a former Smiths Falls Public Works building. The building happened to be located on a three acre naturalized parcel of land, adjacent to a significant wetland known as “The Swale”. REAL saw the many possibilities the site offered for introducing the public to environmental concepts by providing information, demonstrations, opportunities and workshops all in one place, creating an environmental centre for the region.
|REAL Deal Reuse Store. The most well-known feature of the site is the REAL Deal Reuse Store , which accepts and sells gently used goods, ensuring that reusable and restorable items are kept out of landfills. Read more.|
|Electronic Waste Collection. On site is an EPRA (Electronic Products Recycling Association) electronics waste collection bin. Materials are accepted during store hours and shipped to EPRA approved facilities for proper recycling. You do not need to be a resident of Smiths Falls to use this service. Read more.|
|Other Waste Materials. The REAL Deal Reuse Store also accepts other waste items such as batteries, print cartridges, scrap wire and metal, mercury thermostats, pill bottles, milk bags, crayons, glue sticks and used writing instruments for recycling. We will also accept clean, used grocery bags for customer purchases. Read more.|
|Tool Library. REAL Tool Library The opened October 2021 in a corner of the REAL Deal Store. For a membership fee, members can borrow tools from our collection of about 100 tools for a week at a time, no charge.|
|Compost Demonstration Site. REAL has put in a compost shelter next to the community garden, that will demonstrate several different styles of composters. We hope to offer compost workshops and offer composters for sale beginning spring 2022.|
|Monarch Butterfly / Pollinator Garden. In celebration of REAL’s 30th anniversary in 2019, a monarch garden was planted between the building and William Street. The garden was extended in 2020, and a medicinal herb garden is in the works for 2022.|
|Native Garden. A garden planted along the front of the building demonstrates the benefits of native gardening.|
|REAL Community Garden. Twelve garden plots are available to individuals or groups who want to plan, plant, maintain and harvest their own plot. Cost is $25 for the season. Read more.|
|Heritage Fence. Four workshops over 2011 and 2012 demonstrated heritage fence building techniques. The three styles of cedar rail fence provide an attractive enclosure around the community garden. See some photos.|
|Recycled Junk Art. Six panels of junk art by local artist Val Hudson are displayed on the north exterior wall. Some panels were removed and repaired in late 2016 and 2020. Read more.|
|Mural. An attractive mural by created by local SFDCI high school students in 2010 portrays the environmental past, present and future of their community.|
Thermal Solar Panels. A solar thermal wall is at the rear of the REAL Deal store. Two thermal panels on the south wall trap heat that is blown into the building, supplementing the existing heating system. It makes a big difference on cold, sunny winter days to the temperature at the rear of the store.
Workshops. Workshops are offered periodically on topics such as repurposing, energy conservation, urban water protection, and garden issues. These are usually free or very low cost. Watch the events listing on this website for upcoming workshops. Our Journey to Sustainability Team has been offering zoom workshops on a variety of topics: food waste, regenerative farming, building a monarch garden, biochar and others.
Other Features. We hope to add other features to our Environment Centre as funding and circumstances allow. Possibilities are an osprey nest, a wildlife viewing platform, a picnic spot and a nature path.
You Can Help.
We welcome your input and participation, and invite you to come see the features as they are added. Donations are gratefully accepted; a charitable receipt for income tax purposes can be provided. Find out how to donate.