Last week, I mentioned Red Pepper Spectacle Arts’ annual Kensington Winter Solstice parade, formerly called the Festival of Lights, in Kensington Market. Here’s a selection of pics I took in Alexandra Park, where parade participants – toting handmade paper lanterns – congregated around a gigantic papier-mâché hand and a colourful collection of talented musicians and dancers.
Sadly, I’m spending the holidays here in Toronto. No, no, it’s not so bad. Spending the holidays last year in Costa Rica was divine, but as I’ve said before, I missed all the fun and family time in the Great White North while I was hiking great wild jungles in the south. But this year, we’re sorely lacking in snow here in T.O. Though it has been unseasonably warm (Toronto’s warmer than Texas and L.A.!), that hasn’t stopped peeps from having winter fun. Witness the families speeding around the rink at Nathan Phillips Square this past weekend. Somewhere in that crowd is the lovely lady who nearly gave me a black eye and bloody nose when she suddenly threw her arms out, whacking me in the face as she tried to catch her balance. And, yes, I was laughing along with her, cracking a joke that I don’t really need these glasses to see….
My goal for the holidays, aside from spending as much time with my family as possible, is to hit the rink every day. By no means am I a good skater, mind you. On Saturday, I had to ask a kind gentleman to hold my hand so I could step down onto the ice! And I had a few near collisions too – as the collidee, not the collider. But it’s always a hoot to try not to fall while feigning graceful glides (in my mind, I resemble a speed skater), and watching others fall funny or make every attempt not to fall is def good for a giggle.
So a-skating I will go before I head over to Kensington Market on Wednesday, Dec. 21, with my lantern in hand, ready to join the annual winter solstice parade. Winter solstice, symbolic of rebirth, marks the shortest day and longest night of the year, when the sun’s maximum elevation is at its lowest. Organized by Red Pepper Spectacle Arts, the parade in Kensington is a tradition, and many participants come prepared with a lantern made at Red Pepper’s PWYC lantern-making workshop the weekend before winter solstice. Be warned, this isn’t a parade that you watch from the sidelines – the route is usually so packed and the parade moves so slow, there’s really no room for folks to merely watch. And unless you’ve snagged yourself a prime rooftop perch, it’s ever more fun to join in the parade and light up the night!
What: Kensington Market Winter Solstice parade
Where: Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The parade starts at the corner of Oxford Street and Augusta Avenue, proceeding through the market and ending in Alexandra Park at 8 p.m.
When: Wednesday, December 21, 2012, 6:30 p.m.
Bonus: Bring your lanterns and noisemakers.
Dress in colourful costume. Go with the flow!
Ohh! Fire! Take a look at
how vibrant the parade
was in person…
Winter Solstice Parade
Explodes with Excitement
Check out Nathan Phillips Square
Skating in the Rain
Admittedly, I’m not a fan of red. I’m much more of a pink and purple kinda gal. And for the holidays, the decorations I’m drawn to embody that pretty palette: lilac and pear green or turquoise and apple green Christmas balls; a glittery faux silver eucalyptus wreath; hot pink or apple green bows on doorknobs; white twinkly lights; and someday, my cotton candy pink Christmas tree!
Last year I intended to make this easy-peasy feather boa wreath from Sarah Richardson’s 2009 holiday party episode. I even stocked up on five fuchsia feather boas post-Halloween! But I got lazy with the execution, which in reality consists only of wrapping a boa or two around an LED wire wreath form. Maybe I’m just too frugal to buy an LED wreath – I have been trying to figure out how to repurpose an old wire hanger as a wreath form. And now that it’s only 6 days till Christmas, I’ve given up on this crafty pursuit…maybe next year!
And it should be of no surprise that I’ve also been hoping to make this butterfly wreath – what’s more girly than ethereal white wings? As with my pink tree, it graced the pages of Blueprint’s November/December 2007 holiday issue. But delicate faux butterflies aren’t the easiest to find, so this project also has to wait till next year. (If you sense a theme of procrastination, good on you!)
However, it should be a surprise that I LOVE this 24-inch red poinsettia wreath ($39.99) from Canadian Tire. That’s right. I said it: red. Sure, it’s got traditional red poinsettias scattered all over it (plush velvet, natch), but it also has loads of baubles that resemble rhinestone brooches!
Behold, here is my existing wreath, the silvery eucalyptus beauty mentioned above. The photo doesn’t quite capture the glitter scattered all over the sprigs, but this wreath sparkles. And makes me smile!