Tag Archives: winter solstice ottawa

Winter Solstice Celebration, Ottawa?

I’ve wondered for a few years now why a Winter Solstice celebration hasn’t emerged in Ottawa like it has in other places and I envy Toronto and Vancouver with their vibrant celebrations.
So, here we are, two days to go, and I’m wondering, could the following plan get retweeted enough on Twitter to make it happen? Up to you, Ottawa, let’s see …
Here’s the idea – starting at 7:00PM on Winter Solstice (that’s Thursday, Dec. 22 this year), a moving column of light along Scott Street, by the transit way, from the Tunney’s Pasture station to the Westboro station.
How? Get yourself, and some friends and family too, if possible, to either station at that time, with whatever you’ve got to light up the night – lanterns, flashing bike lights, glow stix, etc., and move out onto Scott Street in the direction of the other station, till you meet up with the group doing the same thing from the other station! Got a nice portable noisemaker? Bring it!
So then what? Well, you can either head into Westboro or Hintonburg to warm up at your choice of many fine restaurants and bars or simply (and easily!) get back on a bus and head downtown or elsewhere to continue your celebration, or just be done.
It’s pretty simple. And I think it would be pretty awesome.
Ottawa, it’s in your court now …

Winter Solstice Ottawa – Update & Appeal

My last post shared my annoyance that a sub-committee at work used “Celebrate the Winter Solstice” to advertise a film screening having nothing whatsoever to do with the solstice. I’m pleased to report that a few e-mails and a phone conversation, expressing my conviction that a true solstice celebration would focus on the seasonal event and be an actual form of celebration, have produced some positive results –

I was asked for ideas and assistance in helping the group to host a more relevant Winter Solstice Celebration in future years!

So now I need to get busy with some ideas, bearing in mind that it’s a workplace event and likely confined to the lunch hour, however, the invitation will extend to roughly 5,000 employees! I’ll let you know how things develop …

But, back to the wider Ottawa community:

Judging by my blog hits over the past few weeks, many people in Ottawa are seeking a way to celebrate the solstice but, at this time, our community offers little in providing a way for people to come together to celebrate this event.

It’s up to those of us who want a community event to make it happen in future years …

How about a lantern procession to light up the darkest night, with workshops in preceding weeks, at various public locations, so people can make a unique and colourful lantern for solstice night?

The lantern procession – maybe along Somerset West and Preston, with access from all directions – Chinatown, Wellington West, Carling Avenue and the transitway at Scott Street – and ending at Plouffe Park, adjacent to the Plant Bath, on Preston, or perhaps greenspace at Dow’s Lake?

Maybe some mummers, drummers, fire-eaters or who-knows-what to liven things up?

People could fan out afterward to continue their celebration at a wide array of nearby restaurants and bars or at private celebrations elsewhere.

A key aspect would be to keep it in the hands of the people – city involvement that of helpful assistance only – with universal determination of planners and participants that it be free, distinct from competing holiday events and devoid of commerciality.

What would you like to see as a solstice celebration in Ottawa? Or wherever you are?
Care to collaborate on a 2011 event?
Leave a comment!

Winter Solstice Hijacked

Winter Solstice has become the main focus of the holiday season for me, though it seems to go largely unnoticed here in Ottawa. I envy the celebrations that take place in Toronto and Vancouver and live in hope that something of a similar nature will take root in our fair city. There are some small events that occur here but the pickings are just a wee bit on the slim side. I posted the ones I’m aware of on this site a few weeks ago and I thought I had a new one …

I was somewhat excited when yesterday’s inbox at work (a large organization of several thousand employees) turned up an invite from an in-house committee, addressed to all staff, to Celebrate the Winter Solstice!

Closer inspection revealed it as nothing more than solicitation to come out at lunch next week to view some films geared to raise awareness of this group’s political agenda. Fair enough – people might well be interested. But to present it as a way to celebrate solstice was misleading and opportunistic.

I replied, asking for an explanation as to why the invitation was considered a solstice celebration. There was no response by the end of the day. I hope it materializes – I’d love to see an explanation.
(For an UPDATE on this issue, see my December 20 post!)

. . .

I tried to initiate a neighbourhood solstice event a few years back, making lanterns and recruiting a small group of family, friends and neighbours to make some noise and light up the night in an outdoor lantern procession, followed by an indoor party. My hope was that, while starting small, it would grow in future years and gain in popularity. The party rocked but the outdoor procession fell a bit flat and seemed … just dorky. It definitely needed to be larger-scale to work. I did not repeat the exercise.

I haven’t given up but I’m a bit stuck on how to get Ottawa celebrating – ideas are welcome!