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Electricity is our most important source of energy. Imagine what your life would be like if you didn’t have electricity in your home or school. Forget about turning the lights on in your room or playing your favourite video game or watching that must-see TV show. And that’s just the start.

We depen d on electricity everyd ay for cooking our foo d, heatin g an d cooling our homes, powering our electronic gadgets an d so much more. In fact when you conser ve electr icity, your parents will save mo ney, you’ll be helping the environment an d help ensure there’s enough electricity for everyone in the province. You make a difference! ry y and use it wisely each and eve icit ctr ele ve ser con uld sho ody Everyb you this booklet for a start. It’ll give day. So what can you do? Read fin d fun games and puzzles, plus ’ll you s, Plu . rgy ene ing sav on s great tip our y. An d don’t forget to check out tons of information about electricit a Get plugged in! cool website kids.saveonenergy.c

*Information in this resource can be used by students to achieve expectations from the Grade 6 Understanding Matter and Energy strand, “Electricity and Electrical Devices” topic in The Ontario Curriculum, Grades 1-8: Science and Technology (Revised, 2007). The OPA is the copyright owner of this material. The OPA makes this material available to educators in the Province of Ontario free of charge and grants them permission to use, exhibit, reproduce and distribute it, in whole or in part, solely for classroom and educational purposes. Authorized users of this material shall not modify this material, nor in any way commercially exploit it nor require any payment or consideration for its use.

What Is Electricity? Electricity is a type of energy that was discovered over 100 years ago. One of the most common ways to make electricity is by converting other energy sources, such as coal, natural gas, and oil or solar, wind and falling water. You may not even realize that electricity is a huge part of your everyday life. For starters, it keeps your home and school warm in the winter and cool in the summer. Without it, you would never be able to watch your favourite TV show or listen to your MP3 player. After all, you need electricity. Imagine a world where you couldn’t turn on a light, a computer, or even use the phone! Obviously, electricity is important to us. That’s why it’s time to rethink our relationship with this valuable resource and figure out how we can do our part to use it wisely.

Getting Plugged In It’s easy to find – just flip on a switch or plug something in. But how does electricity make its way to your home or school? Today electricity is generated in different ways, such as wind and solar power. After its been generated, electricity is sent out along power lines, which can carry it over long distances. These transmission lines are often referred to as high voltage lines. Higher voltage allows electricity to travel long distances more efficiently. The electricity eventually reaches your neighbourhood when the voltage is reduced. And from there it travels through distribution lines to your home or school. Now you’re plugged-in!


The Ins and Outs of Making Electricity Electricity is made from many different resources, including non-renewable and renewable sources. n Generating Statio Pickering Nuclear io Power Generation) tar On of sy (Courte

Non-renewable sources include uranium and fossil fuels, like coal and natural gas. When they’re used to generate power, these sources produce waste, and will eventually run out.

On the other hand, renewable sources can be used over and over again to produce energy without creating waste. That makes these resources environmentally friendly. Some examples of renewable sources include solar and wind power. Remember, they only work when the wind blows or when the sun shines.

Non-Renewable Sources

Let’s begin with non-renewable sources. These resources are used to produce heat in order to convert water into steam. The steam turns an engine called a turbine. And as the turbine spins, electricity is generated. Nuclear Power Some power plants have machines called nuclear reactors where the heat is produced. Within these reactors are atoms of a radioactive metal called uranium. Heat is created when these atoms are split apart. This heat boils water, creating steam that turns turbines to generate electricity. Coal This fossil fuel is burned in large boilers that are found in power plants. The burning coal heats water and this produces steam which spins a turbine engine. Natural Gas There are generally two ways natural gas is used to create electricity. One way involves burning it to heat water, which produces steam that turns a turbine. It may also be burned directly in a turbine as a way of creating gases that will spin turbine blades. 2

The Ins and Outs of Making Electricity

Renewable Sources

Now let’s look at the ways that renewable power resources are used to create electricity. Remember, these resources are considered clean because they can be used over and over again without any negative effects on the environment. 

Solar Power Solar power is energy that is created directly from the light or heat of the sun. One method uses special solar panels to capture the sun’s light and convert it directly into electricity. The other uses the sun’s heat to produce the steam that will spin turbines and generate electricity. Wind Power Wind is used to spin turbines, modern windmills, which generate the power. There’s one drawback with using wind. Since it comes and goes, we can’t always rely on it to produce electricity when we want it.

Water Power (Hydro Power) To generate electricity with this renewable source, water from a river or dam is sent through a turbine. This moving water causes the turbine’s blades to spin, which generates power.

Geothermal Power It sounds complicated but geothermal power basically means using the heat from below the Earth’s surface. To use this renewable source, underground water is converted into steam that will spin turbines and generate power. Biomass Biomass is a renewable source of energy that uses organic materials to produce heat. To do this, wood by-products, plants, crops and animal waste are used instead of fossil fuels like coal and natural gas. Burning this organic waste creates the heat and steam that spins electricity-making turbines. For example cow manure is a source of biomass energy because animal waste gives off methane gas.


Electricity Through the Years Go back in time and meet a few of the people who made important discoveries in the history of electricity. While you’re reading, find the jumbled word in each paragraph and see if you can unscramble it.

1. James Watt (1736-1819) James Watt was a Scottish inventor who made improvements to the steam engine during the late 1700s. Soon, factories and mining companies began to use Watt’s new-and-improved steam engine for their machinery. This helped jumpstart the Industrial Revolution, a period in the early 1800s that saw many new machines invented and an increase in the number of factories. After his death, Watt’s name was used to describe the electrical unit of wrepo. 2. Alessandro Volta (1745-1827) Using zinc, copper and cardboard, this Italian professor invented the first treabty. Volta’s treabty produced a reliable, steady current of electricity. The unit of voltage is now named after Volta. 3. André-Marie Ampère (1775-1836) André-Marie Ampère, a French physicist and science teacher, played a big role in discovering electromagnetism. He also helped describe a way to measure the flow of electricity. The ampere, which is the unit for measuring electric rrncetu, was named in honour of him. 4

Electricity Through the Yearscontinued

4. Georg Ohm (1787-1854) German physicist and teacher Georg Ohm researched the relationship between voltage, current and resistance. In 1827, he proved that the amount of electrical current that can flow through a substance depends on its starsincee to electrical flow. This is known as Ohm’s Law.

5. Michael Faraday (1791-1867) Michael Faraday, a British physicist and chemist, was the first person to discover that moving a gtneam near a coil of copper wire produced an electric current in the wire. 6. Henry Woodward (exact birth and death unknown) Henry Woodward, a Canadian medical student, played a major role in developing the electric light bulb. In 1874, Woodward and a colleague named Mathew Evans placed a thin metal rod inside a glass bulb. They forced the air out of the bulb and replaced it with a gas called nitrogen. The rod wgelod when an electric current passed through it, creating the first electric lamp. Unfortunately, Woodward and Evans couldn’t afford to develop their idea further. So in 1889, they sold their patent to Thomas Edison.


Electricity Through the Yearscontinued 7. Thomas Edison (1847-1931) American inventor Thomas Edison purchased Henry Woodward’s patent and began to work on improving the idea. He attached wires to a thin strand of paper, or filament, inside a glass globe. The filament began to glow, which generated some light. This became the first incandescent ghilt ubbl. A thin, iron wire later replaced the paper filament. 8. Nikola Tesla (1856-1943) A Serbian inventor named Nikola Tesla invented the first electric ootmr by reversing the flow of electricity on Thomas Edison’s generator. In 1885, he sold his patent rights to an American businessman who was the head of the Westinghouse Electric Company. In 1893, the company used Tesla’s ideas to light the Chicago World’s Fair with a quarter of a million lights. 9. Sir Adam Beck (1857-1925) In the early 1900s, manufacturer and politician Sir Adam Beck pointed out that private power companies were charging customers too much for electricity. He believed that all citizens had the right to cheap electric light and power. So he worked to get the Ontario government to create the Hydro-Electric Power Commission in 1910. He headed up this commission, which provided inexpensive electricity to many Ontario towns and cities. To do this, the commission built huge nragngieet stations and set up transmission lines that carried power from Niagara Falls to places across Ontario. Because of his efforts, he earned the nickname The Hydro Knight.

Answers: 1. power, 2. battery, 3. current, 4. resistance, 5. magnet, 6. glowed, 7. light bulb, 8. motor, 9. generating


Fun s t c a F y t i v i t c A & s t e e Sh



ot, believe it or n t u B . d n u !: p ro a U to get Power ower. a great way is g in ik to electrical p b in w y o n rg k e n ll e a g e n W your cycli tire attache d m r r a o re sf n s it ra t d n n a a ame some bikes c ounte d to a fr m e, the e b st u m e bik e dals the bik p st li c y c a To do this, a s tricity. Then, a rt it into elec er generator. e v w n o o p c e d ik n b a a y to g energ ke this cyclin ta n a c r to ra gene So how long would you have to put the pedal to the metal on a bike power generator to power up something like your favourite video game or the TV? Have a look at these head-spinning stats!

Hold on to your remote! To watch 1 hour of TV, you’d have to ride a bike power generator for 1 hour and two minutes.

Want to beat that high score on your newest video game? You’ll have to sweat it out on the bike power generator for 1 hour and 54 minutes. 8

To log on to your computer for 1 hour, you’d need to pedal a bike power generator for 1 hour and 20 minutes.

Power Up!:

For a 10-minute shower, you’d have to cycle on a bike power generator for 4 hours and 12 minutes.

Nuke it! To cook with the microwave for 5 minutes, you’d have to get on the bike power generator for half an hour.

To do one load of laundry – that’s 30 minutes in the washer and 30 minutes in the dryer – you’d have to huff and puff on the bike power generator for 3 hours and 20 minutes!

Need to style your hair before you head out the door? For five minutes of drying time with your blow dryer, you’d have to cycle on the bike power generator for 40 minutes!

Imagine That!

To power an average Ontario home for one year, you would need 29 people to ride a bike power generator non-stop for an entire year. Where’s Lance Armstrong when you need him?


Power Up!: y f Sports: The Power o e if the energ in g a Im s. g in h t d a new spin on an d converte d e ss e n r a Now let’s put h e ld b do. lay sports cou u’d be able to o y t a you use d to p h w t a k y. Here’s a loo into electricit

Nothing but net! Shooting hoops for 1 hour would give you 17 minutes on a video game system.

Taking your bike out for an hour-long ride would create enough energy to run your computer for 44 minutes.

Batter up! Playing baseball for 1 hour would generate enough electricity to watch TV for 36 minutes.

One hour at the half-pipe on your skateboard would mean 19 minutes of video game fun.


Power Up!:

If you bend it like Beckham in a one-hour soccer match, you’ll generate enough power to watch TV for 59 minutes.

Cannonball! An hour of swimming would give you 33 minutes on the computer.

If you jumped rope for 1 hour, you’d steal one hour and 11 minutes of TV time!

Strapping on those in-line skates for one hour would power up your video game system for 27 minutes.


One of the easiest ways to conserve electricity is to turn the light off when you leave a room. Too bad one of these kids forgot that bright idea. Maddie, Emily, Jack, Sanjay, and Evan were all hanging out in the computer room at school. But the last one to leave the room didn’t turn the light off on the way out. Use these clues to figure out which kid forgot to flip the switch.


1. Jack left before Emily. 2. Evan left after Emily and before Maddie. 3. Sanjay was the fourth person to leave the room. Answer: This is the order that the kids left the room: Jack, Emily, Evan, Sanjay, and Maddie. So Maddie was the one who forgot to turn off the light.


Crack the Code There’s a phrase you should keep in mind when it comes to electricity. But to find out what it is, you’ll have to do a bit of detective work! The saying is written in code below. We’ve used a number to represent each letter of the alphabet, so 1=A and 26=Z. Can you crack this electrifying code?

5 22 5 18 25 11 9 12 15 23 1 20 20 3 15 21 14 20 19 Answer: Every Kilowatt Counts! A kilowatt is a unit that’s used to measure power. When you go about your day, consider the amount of kilowatts you’re using. They can really add up… so use them wisely!


What’s Your Electric Personality? Using electricity wisely is everyone’s responsibility. So how do you measure up when it comes to the amount of energy you use? To get the lowdown on your electric personality, take this quiz. Be sure to keep track of your answers on a piece of paper as you go. 1

When I leave a room, I turn the light off: a. every time b. only when I remember c. never

2 When I’ve got the munchies, I: a. decide what I want before opening the fridge b. open the fridge, have a quick look, and grab something c. stand with the fridge door wide open and slowly scan the shelves for the perfect snack 3

My computer stays plugged in: a. only when I’m using it b. only during the daytime c. morning, noon, and night

4 My family uses compact fluorescent light bulbs and other electricity-efficient products: a. all the time b. some of the time c. I don’t know. That’s for my parents to worry about. 5 6 14

While I’m brushing my teeth, I: a. turn the water off b. forget to turn the water off c. leave the water on and admire myself in the mirror I feel guilty when I waste electricity: a. most of the time b. every once in a while c. never – I’m just a kid


If you scored: 21-30 points: You’re a Green Hero kind of kid! Saving electricity is at the top of your list! You always do your best to save electricity, whether that means turning off the lights or using a power bar with timer. In fact, you even remind your family and friends to do the same!

11-20 points: You’re a Yo-Yo Saver kind of kid! You know it’s important to conserve electricity. It’s not always the first thing on your mind, but you keep trying to make good choices. For example, you might turn off the lights but can’t be bothered to shut down your computer.

0-10 points: You’re a Live for Today kind of kid. You have lots of things going on, so you don’t think too much about saving electricity. In fact you use electricity like it’s going out of style. You often keep the fridge door open, leave your MP3 charger plugged in all day and don’t bother to turn the lights out. But if you make a few changes, you’ll be on your way to making a difference!

Answers: What’s Your Score: To find your electricity personality, give yourself: 3 points for every (a) answer, 2 points for every (b) answer, 1 point for every (c) answer

10 If I’m feeling cold in my house, I: a. put on a sweater b. turn the thermostat up a few degrees c. crank up the heat 9

I use my printer: a. only when I really need something printed out b. almost every day c. whenever I feel like it

8 If I noticed the bathroom faucet was leaky, I’d probably: a. tell my parents b. ignore it c. count the drips 7 If the air conditioning or heat is on in my house, I close the door on my way outside: a. always b. most of the time c. I usually forget

What’s Your Electric Personality? continued


il crayons c n e p r u o y b Gra illustration into is h t m r o sf n ra ! en t an d markers Th own colourful masterpiece. your


Sort the Squares: Hidden in each of these blocks is a word that has something to do with electricity. To find the word, you must move from letter to letter by going either up, down, across, or diagonally. You can return to a letter more than once. But you may not need to use every letter in each block.




Hint: The words include: power, current, kilowatt, conserve, voltage, electricity, generate, light bulb, and energy

Answers: 1. kilowatt, 2. light bulb, 3. conserve, 4. energy, 5. power, 6. generate, 7. voltage, 8. current, 9. electricity


Spot The Words Print out this word search. Then look up, down, across, and diagonally in the puzzle for these energy-related words. S T H G I L I X S E S T I P W I J E L V W H I X E F W V S F V H Q T P O Y O M I R R G Y Y A P A H A N K V E B T O T A W D X G S I S S N W B G V F I Y C T Q I P R O R K W T I H Y R F A N J S D R O E W D Y I O Z V S E C M E M Y I F W N L L P T M V P R S C A B Y G G A E E F J Q C L Z E E N G P A X R C Y R H C R X H O Q N W O G J U Y E W M B C Z W H H A U I O C O U Z T N G C A W A S T E D G L H R C C L S E G D R S W M M T S E S S W E Q D P Y T I C I R T C E L E E Q I E K B L U B T H G I L E O F Y H U Z T A T S O M R E H T P M J X U T I B U N P L U G V E E F K G M G L O F I N J Z I U X K Y T A E H B V K L R U L Q D L E A K Y W B O K U H C C S O




phantom loads

clothesline cool


electricity energy


fridge heat


lights plug

power bar save

shower switch

thermostat unplug waste


Get Plugged In Jumpstart your brain and see if you can figure out which of these facts about electricity are true and which are false.

You should try and convince your parents to use compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) rather than regular incandescent bulbs.


It’s more important to turn off electronics like TVs and computers than the lights in your bedroom.


You should always turn the water off while brushing your teeth.


When it comes to heating up food, a microwave or toaster oven uses less energy than an oven.


A fan uses as much electricity as an air conditioner.

If you leave your computer plugged into the wall after you turn it off, it still uses up energy.

The best time of day to use appliances like washers, dryers, and dishwashers is in the middle of the day.


Keeping a door or window open while the air conditioning is on isn’t a big deal.


On sunny winter days, keep your drapes and blinds closed to save energy.


If a building has a revolving door, you should use it whenever you’re heading inside or out.

On sunny summer days, keep your drapes and blinds closed to save energy.




Get Plugged In


1. True. CFLs use 75% less electricity than standard incandescent bulbs, and they last up to ten times longer. Make the switch! 2. True. Keeping the water running while you brush your teeth can use up to 10 litres of water! 3. False. Leaving on any of these items wastes electricity. Do your part and turn off your lights and electronics when you’re finished using them. 4. True. 5. False. A fan uses about one-tenth the electricity that an air conditioner uses. That’s why it’s a good idea to use a fan instead of the AC whenever possible. 6. True. Your computer is using up small amounts of electricity even when it’s turned off. This is called “phantom power.” Lots of other household items, like TVs, cell phones chargers, and stereos, slowly drain electricity all day, every day – whether they’re turned on or not. To fight the phantoms, use a power bar with a timer. It’ll shut off your devices at the end of the day, and help you be a ghost buster! 7. False. These appliances should be used later in the evening. That way, they’re not being used during peak electricity times. 8. True. Believe it or not, about eight times as much warm air escapes when a swing door is opened when compared to a revolving door. When you help cut down on the warm air that’s leaving a building, it means the heat doesn’t have to be turned up higher. And that saves energy! 9. False. All that cool air is heading outside and that’s just a plain old waste of energy! 10. True. This will keep the heat out, so your air conditioner doesn’t have to work as hard. 11. False. If you keep them open, the sun will warm your rooms. Plus, it’ll bring in natural light, so you don’t need to turn on a light. Here’s an added tip: if you close the drapes and blinds at night, it’ll help keep the heat in.


Your mission, should you choose to accept it is to see if you can improve on your Electric Personality score! We’ve come up with a checklist that’ll help you and your family conserve electricity around your home. Print it out and hang it on your fridge or bulletin board. Every time you complete a task on the list, check off “Mission Accomplished” in the column beside it. The more tasks you complete, the more electricity you’ll save. Are you up for the mission?

Flip that switch! Whenever you leave a room, don’t forget to turn off the light. And that goes for TVs, computers, and game consoles, too! Before you turn on a light in a room, stop and think. Do you really need it? Or is there enough natural daylight already? Here’s a bright idea. Have your parents replace incandescent (standard) light bulbs with compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs). They use up to 75% less electricity and last up to 10 times longer than standard bulbs.


Give the dryer a break. Convince your parents to use a clothesline instead of a dryer. You’ll help cut down on the amount of electricity they use. When it’s time to grab a bite to eat, have your folks reheat food in a toaster or microwave oven. It’ll save more electricity than if they used the oven. Looking for a snack? Don’t just leave the fridge door open while you search high and low for something to eat. That’s a surefire way to waste electricity. Decide what you want to munch on before you even open that fridge door. Instead of turning up the air conditioning on a warm day, use a fan to cool things off. It requires a lot less electricity than an air conditioner. Now that’s cool! Dirty dishes and laundry can wait. You should only run a dishwasher, washer or dryer when it’s full. And it’s best to turn it on later in the evening. That way, it’s not being used during peak electricity periods. On sunny summer days, close the drapes and blinds to keep the sun’s warm rays out. It’s a natural way of keeping the house cool. In the winter, open drapes and blinds to let the sun’s warming rays in. At night, close them to keep the heat in.


Ghost bust phantom power. (Phantom power is electricity consumed by electronic devices even when turned off.) Plug electronics like TVs, computers, game consoles, and chargers (MP3 players, cell phones, cameras etc.) into a power bar. With one easy flip of a switch you’ve got the power to bust those ghosts. Some even shut-off automatically. Don’t get print-happy. To conserve electricity and paper, only print things when you really need to. To save hot water, give up on baths. (Don’t panic…we’re not saying to ditch cleanliness completely!) Take a quick shower instead. You’ll use about half as much hot water than if you took a bath. Stop those drips! Have your parents fix any leaky faucets around the house. A constant drip can waste 182 litre-sized bottles of water a week!


25 Electricity-Saving Tips Calling all kids! We’ve got you covered with the ultimate ways to save electricity and the environment – all while helping your parents save money!

Do your part by following these smart ideas:


Hold off on the air conditioner (AC) Try using a fan to cool things off. It uses a lot less electricity. How refreshing!



Bonus Don’t miss : our extra energy-sm art tips that you can share with your parents.

Lights out! Turn off the lights when you leave a room – even if you’ll be back in a few minutes.


Keep your cool! If you can’t beat the heat and need to switch on the AC, be sure to keep doors and windows closed while it’s on.


Light up your life – or at least your room! – by using natural daylight whenever possible. It’s a free way to light up your space!

Give your rubber ducky the slip and take a quick shower instead of a bath. A five-minute shower with an energy-efficient showerhead will use about half as much hot water as a bath. Splash!



25 Electricity-Saving Tips

Be a ghost buster! Phantom power or “standby power” is electricity that’s consumed by electronic devices even when they’re turned off. So plug your gadgets – like TVs, computers, game consoles and chargers (MP3 players, cell phones, cameras etc.) into a power bar with a timer. Set it to shut them off at the end of the day. Some even shut-off automatically. So long, phantoms! Stop and think before you move on to the next Got the munchies? electronic gadget. Flip Think about what the switch on the power you want before you bar to turn off TVs, open the fridge stereos and video games door. Keeping the when you’re finished fridge door wide using them. open as you search for a snack is a big waste of electricity. When it’s time for a snack, use a microwave or toaster oven to prepare your chow instead of using the oven. You’ll reduce your electricity use by 50% or more!





Don’t put your printer into overdrive. To save electricity and the environment, you should only print when you really need to.



Keep those pearly whites clean, but don’t leave the water on while you’re brushing them. It wastes water and electricity.


25 Electricity-Saving Tips

Instead of turning up the heat while you’re hanging around the house in the winter, throw on a sweater and save electricity.


On a bright winter day, open your curtains and blinds and let the sun shine in. It’ll warm up your home. At night, close them to keep the heat in.


When the sun is shining on a summer day, close your curtains and blinds. This will keep the sun’s rays out to keep your house cooler.

15 16 17

Time for homework? Use a lamp with an energy-efficient compact fluorescent bulb (CFL) whenever possible. You’ll conserve electricity by focusing light right where you need it, instead of lighting up the whole room.

When it’s your turn to do the dishes, don’t rinse them off before you put them in the dishwasher. Just scrape the leftover gunk off the dishes. This will save water and electricity.

Take the lead at school. Before you leave for the day or weekend, check with your teacher and make sure that all electronics are unplugged or that they’re plugged into a power bar with a timer.


25 Electricity-Saving Tips

18 Get on your parents’

! Use these Dare to share ts d your paren in m re to s ip t n make a that they ca o. difference, to

case if they’re still using standard incandescent light bulbs. Convince them to switch to CFLs, which use 75% less electricity and last up to 10 times longer. Talk about a bright idea!

19 Get on a roll! Help the environment and keep

fit by suggesting that your parents use public transit, walk or bike to work. While you’re at it, remind them to take the stairs at work instead of the elevator. Each step really does add up!

20 Remind your parents to run the dishwasher, washing machine

and dryer later in the evening when electricity demand is less. Oh, and remind them to only run them when there’s a full load.

21 Share this fresh idea with your parents: in the summer, use a clothesline instead of a dryer. It will cut down on the amount of electricity your family uses.

22 Drip, drip, drip… Don’t let those drips go down the drain. Bug your parents to fix leaky faucets. That constant dripping wastes lots of water.

23 It all comes out in the wash! Let your parents know that

cold water does just as good a job at getting clothes clean as hot water does. And, washing with cold water uses up to 85% less electricity! If you’re using an electric water heater, that is.

24 Beat the heat! Have your mom or dad turn down the heat when no one is home and during the night when everyone is sleeping. It’s a smart way to save electricity!

25 Here’s something for you and your parents to think about. Laptops use just 10% of the electricity that it takes to run most desktop PCs. You can save even more by buying an ENERGY STAR® qualified model.


For more electricity-saving tips, add the websit e as a favourite site on your home com puter. Now you’re really plugge d in.

Help your parents use electricity wisely.


Kids' Corner  
Kids' Corner  

Haldimand County Hydro's Kids' Corner Colouring Book