Aqua Hacking summit looks for new ideas in water preservation

One of Canada's oldest and richest families is hoping to give back to their country by protecting one its most vital resources: water.

See Full Article

The de Gaspe Beaubien's lineage in Canada can be traced back to the early 1600s. They have been business leaders, media moguls and politicians, among other things.

And while the family, which was recently estimated to be worth $740 million, has been involved in philanthropy before –- Philippe II de Gaspe Beaubien was the founding president of the healthy living non-profit ParticipACTION -- the latest generation is also looking to get into the act.

That's why the family's fourth generation -- which includes Philippe IV de Gaspe Beaubien, his brother Louis-Alexandre, and their cousins Aidan and Tatianna Mattrick – came up with the idea for Aqua Hacking, a summit that is designed to spur new technology dedicated to water preservation.

The inaugural event took place last May in Gatineau, Que.

This year's summit, which is focused on the Saint Lawrence River, was announced on Tuesday.

"Canada's freshwater supply needs our care," said Louis-Alexandre de Gaspe Beaubien, 16, at the kick-off event.

The two-day conference is set take place on Oct. 6 and 7 in Montreal, and will use a hackathon to bring together digital designers, tech experts, engineers and water authorities in their quest to create better ways to safeguard the Saint Lawrence.

"My generation is one of technology … so we said: 'Why not take that and put that in something more constructive,'" Louis-Alexandre de Gaspe Beaubien, told CTV Montreal.

Quebec's Environment Minister, David Heurtel, was also in attendance, and saluted the effort.

"It goes from coastal erosions to situations like last fall with the (sewage) dumping," said Heurtel.

"How can we make sure that we avoid getting to a point where we have no choice, but to do something like that?"

The summit will cover a range of issues, such as climate change, water quality and declining ecosystems.

Aqua Hacking is also asking the public for submissions on issues relating to the protection of the Saint Lawrence River.

"In the least, we're still taking action," said Louis-Alexandre de Gaspe Beaubien.

"So even if the benefit isn't as immense as we hoped, at least something will be done."

The opportunity to give back is something Louis-Alexandre de Gaspe Beaubien is grateful for.

"If you've been given a lot, we've always been taught you have to give back," he said.

And that's all his father, Philippe III, can ask for.

"I'm so proud of him," said Philippe III de Gaspe Beaubien.

"It's always great for one generation to do better than the next."

With a report from CTV Montreal's Tarah Schwartz


Latest Tech & Science News

  • Chinese firm issues webcam recall after massive cyberattack

    Tech & Science CTV News
    BEIJING -- A Chinese electronics maker has issued a recall for millions of products sold in the U.S. following a devastating cyberattack, but is pushing back against criticism that its devices played a role in the massive disruption. Source
  • Plunging solar equipment prices fuel trade complaints

    Tech & Science CTV News
    BEIJING - Use of solar power is soaring, but Europe's biggest solar panel manufacturer, SolarWorld, took the surprise step last month of cutting 500 jobs from its workforce of 3,000. The reason? Global sales are on track for a record year but prices are plunging due to a glut of supply. Source
  • Dinosaurs of a feather flocked together, University of Alberta study finds

    Tech & Science CBC News
    Bird-like dinosaurs were social creatures and likely flocked together, contrary to the popular image of dinosaurs as solitary creatures, suggests a study at the University of Alberta. "It changes our perception of the species quite a bit," said Gregory Funston, a PhD student and Vanier scholar at the University of Alberta. Source
  • Blurring effect comes to iPhone 7 Plus with software update

    Tech & Science CTV News
    NEW YORK - Apple's iPhone 7 Plus is getting a new camera capability -- the blurring of backgrounds to focus attention on people or other objects in the foreground. Apple's "portrait mode" feature was announced in September but was unavailable until the company released its iOS 10.1 software update Monday. Source
  • Feathered dinosaurs may have 'flocked' together like modern birds: study

    Tech & Science CTV News
    EDMONTON -- An ancient bone bed in a remote Mongolian desert presents tantalizing clues that dinosaurs of a feather may have flocked together for the same reasons modern birds do. Research by University of Alberta paleontologist Gregory Funston says the deposit contains fossils from a bird-like dinosaur that were all about the same age. Source
  • 'Intentional, malicious' cyberattack led to Ontario literacy test system crash

    Tech & Science CBC News
    The Ontario agency tasked with administering the first online literacy test to tens of thousands of high school students in the province last week says it was forced to pull the plug by an "intentional, malicious and sustained" cyberattack. Source
  • Heat-trapping gases surge in Earth's atmosphere: UN weather agency

    Tech & Science CTV News
    The World Meteorological Organization says heat-trapping gases in Earth's atmosphere are growing faster than before, surging permanently beyond a troubling milestone. The United Nations agency says global carbon dioxide levels, which first reached 400 parts per million last year, are likely to stay above that symbolic 400 milestone all year and for generations to come. Source
  • Ohio museum's sale of antiquities from Egypt draws criticism

    Tech & Science CTV News
    TOLEDO, Ohio -- Ohio's Toledo Museum of Art is selling 68 antiquities from its collection, a move drawing criticism from a nationally known archaeologist and Egyptian officials. The Blade newspaper reports about half the items are from Egypt. Source
  • SpaceX's Elon Musk elaborates on plan to colonize Mars

    Tech & Science CTV News
    SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has given more details about his plan to colonize Mars. Musk answered questions on Reddit on Sunday. The session was a follow up to Musk's comments at a space conference in Mexico last month during which he unveiled his plan to send up to 1 million people to Mars within the next 40 to 100 years. Source
  • Why robots are key to redefining the meaning of 'Made in China'

    Tech & Science CTV News
    BEIJING -- The Canbot can say its name, respond to voice commands, and "dance" as it plays Michael Jackson's "Billie Jean." Other robots China is displaying at the World Robot Conference can play badminton, sand cellphone cases and sort computer chips. Source