Last night I had the privilege of attending a special celebration in support of Earth Hour in Roncy Village. For the last 4 years, Roncesvalles Village has hosted an annual Earth Hour celebration where local artists, choirs, and flash mobs, have all had a chance to get together in the dark and showcase their support for addressing climate control.
While I have not previously attended an Earth Hour event (last year I had a candle-lit acoustic sing-along session in my condo – I’m sure the neighbours weren’t all too thrilled with my tone deafness), I was super excited to check out how a local community supports such an initiative.
To kick off Earth Hour, locals gathered at two meeting places on the North and South Ends of Roncesvalles. We gathered at the South End and were delighted to see the number of people with candles and home-made lanterns (I definitely needed to attend the lantern making workshop the community held earlier in the day. My small candle holder was just not up to par). As we gathered in the cold, we were entertained by SPLASH – a local choir (thanks to which I had ‘Seasons of Love‘ from Rent stuck in my head for the next 3 hours) and then proceeded to march on to our final meeting place with our lanterns and candles in hand.
As if the lanterns and choir were not enough – as soon as we arrived at the final meeting place I was greeted by a giant panda (not a real one unfortunately, but a panda mascot. It is not as random as it sounds with WWF being the host and all). I immediately had to take a picture with him and then made a B-line over to the table serving the free hot chocolate (the caveat being that if you wanted free hot chocolate – you needed to bring your own mug. It is Earth Hour and all – trying to reduce waste as much as possible).
At 8:30 the festivities got underway with live performances and speeches on stage. I lit my small candle and joined the couple hundred people or so in attendance as they waved their lanterns in the air to celebrate Earth Hour.
While I know Earth Hour is a once/year celebration, I find community-based events like this so special and it’s what makes Toronto so special. I’m sure events like this are happening in many communities across the city every weekend – you just have to actually be on the lookout for them.