People in Edmonton can now charge their cellphones while they sit on the city's new solar-powered benches.

Called "Soofa Benches," they use the sun's rays to power two USB ports for charging. The benches, the first of their kind in Canada, cost $4,000 apiece and were unveiled outside City Hall on Tuesday as part of Environment Week.

"It gives citizens a chance for hands-on experience with renewable energy," said Chandra Tomaras, the city's program manager of environmental strategies.

Edmonton Oilers forward Andrew Ference also  joined city staff for the event.

"I used to think a calculator in the sun was a really amazing thing that I could turn on, now we have benches that can charge phones and do all these things," he said.

The smart urban furniture was developed by Boston-based company Soofa, by a group of female entrepreneurs from MIT. One bench, named Winston, will be placed in Sir Winston Churchill Square and the other, Soofia, will be placed in the courtyard of Muttart Conservatory.

Environment Week runs from June 5 to June 11.