I am an ecologically-minded writer/illustrator, speaker & consultant, with a background in biology & chemistry, architecture, and civil engineering, living in Toronto.
Since about the age of 14 when I read Silent Spring by Rachel Carson, I have been ecologically minded and have shaped my education around learning whatever I thought I would need to ameliorate our relationship with our environment. First, I studied biology & chemistry (B. Sc., University of Waterloo), which allowed me to understand nature including our bodily health. Then, realizing that a lot of the problems – and solutions – are in how we design our cities, I studied civil engineering (B. A. Sc. University of Toronto). Next, because I love art and design, I studied a bit of architecture (Certificate, Ryerson University). Finally, I put it all together with a Ph. D. in civil engineering at the University of Toronto focussed on how to design sustainable & resilient communities and cities.
Over the years, I have had the privilege of gaining technical experience at companies such as Ontario Power Generation, Stevens Burgess Architects, and Rivercourt Engineering and participating in a variety of grass-roots community groups such as Green Neighbours 21, Transition Toronto, and Abundance GTA.
Currently, I am focused on writing and illustrating books to support the “eco-transformation” I hope for. As well, I share my knowledge at conferences, schools, and in the community. I also on occasion do stormwater or resilience work. Thank you for visiting my website and I hope you’ll join me in our collective eco-journey!
first print run Sept. 2019
Rev. 1 Dec. 2019
Rev. 2 Aug. 2020
Where does it all come from? Where does it all go? Toronto’s water, energy, and waste systems
In a big city like Toronto, it’s easy to live disconnected from the environment that supports us each day. Many of us do not know where our water or energy comes from or where our waste goes. This Toronto-specific picture book answers these questions for Torontonians of all ages and backgrounds in a simple and fun way. Looking at maps, readers can get to know specifically how they fit into the larger picture. Once we know where things come from and where things go, we are no longer lost. We are connected, and have a foundation upon which to develop a caring relationship with our environment.
$20 + $1(fed.tax) + shipping
$4 within Canada
8.5″ x 11″, stapled together similar to a zine, matte finish
printed & bound in Toronto on FSC-certified paper
Rev. 2 is 100% post-consumer recycled!
order a book
Please visit my store here.
- Word on the Street (Sep. 22, 2019)
- Wychwood Farmers Market (Oct. 12 & Nov. 28, 2019)
- Green Sunday Holiday Market at the Centre for Social Innovation (CSI) Annex (Dec.8, 2019)
- Brown Junior Public School (Nov. & Dec. 2019)
- Old’s Cool General Store (Feb. 15, 2020)
- ENSU x UTERN Market at University of Toronto (Mar. 5, 2020)
- Toronto East End Climate Collective (TEECC) (Jul. 10, 2020 online)
- Evergreen Brickworks Sunday Artisan Market (Aug. 23, Oct. 4 & Nov. 1, 2020)
- The Word on the Street (Sept. 26 – 27, 2020 online)
- Underpass Park Farmers’ Market (Oct. 15, 2020)
- Canzine 2020, the biggest zine fair in Canada (Oct. 24 – 27,2020 online)
- Ecofair Toronto (Oct. 15 – Nov. 8, 2020 online). I was an exhibitor in the Exhibitor Showcase. Also, I had two videos of my book & ran a colouring contest on the Fun & Games page! Prizes were free copies of my book. Colouring contest submissions can be seen here! Finally, I participated in a panel in the Ecofair Toronto 2020 Finale. The 20 min. panel I was in starts at 38:18 and goes to 1:00.
- Virtual Seedy Saturday Toronto (Feb. 27, 2021 online)
- Celebrate Toronto’s Virtual Festival (Mar. 6 – Apr. 6., 2021 online). I was one of six vendors in the kids section of the Toronto Made Market.
- Branksome Hall Grade 1 class (Apr. 1, 2021 online)
- Ontario Tech University Environmental Education Conference (Apr. 16, 2021 online)
- Word on the Street interview on Earth Day (Apr. 22, 2021 online)
- Toronto Field Naturalists on May 2, 2021 (online) as part of their monthly lecture series.
- Night Market at STACKT (Bathurst St. & Front St.), a cool new Toronto hotspot where buildings are made of stacked shipping containers! (Jul. 17, 2021)
- Toronto Made Market Summer Edition (Jun. 25 to Jul. 26, 2021 online). I was one of 3 vendors in the kid’s section. Support locally made products!
- Withrow Farmers’ Market my first farmers’ market of the year! (Aug. 21, 2021)
- Cabbagetown Farmers’ Market my second farmers’ market of the year! (Aug. 24, 2021)
- Afro-Carribean Farmers’ Market (in Little Jamaica!) (Aug. 29, 2021)
- Davisville Farmers’ Market (Aug. 31 & Sept. 7, 2021)
- Bloor-Borden Farmers’ Market (in the Annex) (Sept. 15, 2021)
- Midtown Market, a nice little market on the front lawn of Yorkminster Park Baptist Church on Yonge St. a bit north of St.Clair Ave. (Sept. 16 & Oct. 14, 2021)
- Leslieville Farmers’ Market (Greenwood Park) (Oct. 10, 2021)
- Bloor-Borden Farmers’ Market (Oct. 20, 2021)
- Underpass Park Farmers’ Market (Oct. 21, 2021)
- Thurs., Oct. 28, 2021, 4pm to 7:30pm – Underpass Park Farmers’ Market in Corktown!
courses based on the book
- I ran an 8-week online course that goes more indepth into each of the topics covered in the book back in Jan. to Feb. 2021 on Wednesdays 7pm to 8pm. It was a mix of tech talk, mindful local eco awareness & community capacity building, an experimental first offering open to curious adults. We had 8 participants. The course was fun, engaging, and provided some welcome regularity during the lockdown. Please email me if you might be interested in the next offering of the course. Thanks!
who is this book for?
- Torontonians – The book is Toronto-specific so is most suitable for Torontonians.
- Young kids – Toddlers curious about taps & toilets have it read to them by a parent and enjoy the discussions with their parent. Parents learn too! Really little kids love the cat.
- Older kids – 8 to 10 year-olds can read it on their own & some like colouring it in!
- Adults interested in environmental or urban issues – For these people, the book becomes a handy reference book or coffee table book they are proud to show off.
- Busy adults – The book allows important knowledge to be gained very efficiently.
- Newcomers to Toronto – The book introduces newcomers to their new home, explaining things that might otherwise take a few years to learn about.
- Those curious about but intimidated by technical stuff – The book explains technical things in a very simple and fun way.
- Nature lovers who may know a lot about nature outside of the City, but feel disconnected in the city.
- Elementary & secondary school teachers, home school teachers, environmental educators, college & university professors
- Engineering, architecture, planning, and environmental studies students
- Governmental, business and NGO workplaces wanting to go “green” informed of the local water, energy & waste situation.
- Politicians and decision-makers for whom infrastructure may not be part of their main responsibility, but want the basics
endorsements & testimonials
“This book communicates basic facts all of us need to know in order to see our part in the overall environment. Thank you, Mariko, for this important book for Toronto.
This information will help us understand what actions we can take in our communities, workplaces, and civil society to ensure a sustainable future.
Plus it’s delightful; my 5-year old grandson loves it.”
– Dr. Dianne Saxe, environmental and climate lawyer and president of Saxe Facts
and former Environmental Commissioner of Ontario
“Hi Mariko, I love your book. It’s clear and straightforward.
The illustrations and the cat especially shine through and carry us from
beginning to end as does the prose which is suitable for adults and children alike.
After I put it down, I thought a great sequel might be
“Where does food grow in Toronto?””
– Sandra Campbell, Author of Getting to Normal
and producer of eco-arts projects in the Greater Toronto Area
“My toddler loves this book and we often read it prior to “nap” time. The only problem is he’s now in his crib yelling “ASHBRIDGES BAY TREATMENT PLANT!” to himself repeatedly at full volume, instead of napping… Thanks all the same, @mariko_uda!” (on twitter)
– Joe Moed, Toronto father
“Mariko, my 8-year old loves your book! They love the story, illustrations and that they can colour it. It’s been a while since they were so enthusiastic about a book. Good luck with getting the word out – more children need to see this book! And I loved it too :)”
– Sandra Luz, Toronto mother of two
“A great picture book guide for anyone who has ever wondered where their tap water, electricity, space and water heating comes from or where their toilet/drain/poop/rain water goes. Find out where it all comes from and where it all goes in Toronto! Also, a good tool for provoking discussions about the environment and our current global environmental crisis. We are happy to have it as part of our library collection.“
– Rotem Anna Diamant, Librarian and Founder Canada Comics Open Library
Did you enjoy the book or find it useful? Would you be willing to provide an endorsement or testimonial to encourage others to read the book also?
If so, please send me an email. Thanks so much!
order a book
Please visit my store here.
where else to find the book
- So excited to have my book in The Spacing Store at 401 Richmond St., the place to go for stuff that captures the spirit of Toronto and its neighbourhoods! – in stock! (as of Aug. 6, 2021)
- Old’s Cool General Store – near Main Subway Station in the east end of town – in stock!(restocked Apr. 5, 2021)
- ecoexistence – St.Clair W. Ave & Christie St. area – in stock! (as of Oct. 7, 2021)
If your store is open to selling my book, please get in touch for a sample!
- The book is on its way to the Toronto Public Library! Yippee! Thank you to those who recommended it to them! You can start putting holds on it.
- The Canada Comics Open Library at Centre for Social Innovation (CSI) Regent Park
Librarians, if you would like to add the book to your library, you may order direct from the library wholesaler Library Bound Inc. Thanks!
Apr. 22, 2021: I was interviewed by Word on the Street on Earth Day! Video still available. (25 min.)
Mar. 3, 2021: My friend Kristina Shea of Blueskys Life interviewed me for her new Wellness Wednesday Instagram show! See it here.
Dec. 12, 2020: Shawn Micallef wrote a piece in the Toronto Star featuring my book! This is a dream come true!
Oct. 14, 2020: I was interviewed on a cool new podcast called “How Public Works” hosted by Ilmar Simanovskis based in Toronto.
Summer 2020: The Ontario Water Works Association featured me and my book in their Pipeline journal.
Jul. 2020: You can see me talking (ever so briefly! @1:20) on Global News a day after a big storm in Toronto
Dec. 2019: I was profiled in an alumni article by University of Toronto Department of Civil & Mineral Engineering
join my email list
Email me at eco mariko toronto all one word “@” gmail.com & let me know you’d like to be added to my email list. Emails are short, sweet & infrequent.
Please reach out and let me know what you think of the book or if you have any questions.
My email address is: eco mariko toronto all one word “@” gmail.com
You can also follow me on Instagram where I post about lifestyle, nature, art & about my book. Or you can follow me on my facebook author page where you are welcome to leave book-related comments. Just click on the icons below.
What are the differences between
the original version, Rev. 1, and Rev. 2?
Click here to see the version history of the book.
a little side project
Reflecting During Covid Please participate!
Let’s collectively reflect, document & share!
Copyright Mariko Uda 2020 – All rights reserved