Regent Park celebrates the end of the year with cheer

Regent Park celebrates the end of the year with cheer

January 09, 2018

Winter Solstice volunteers pose next to a wood burning oven where they will bake treats.Winter Solstice volunteers pose next to a wood burning oven where they will bake treats.

Regent Park community members gathered together on the longest night of the year in celebration of diversity and to welcome 2018. The second Regent Park Winter Solstice event brought residents together to enjoy food, music and performances by local artists.  

A girl shows off her decorated gingerbread cookie. With festivities in the the background.A girl shows off her decorated gingerbread cookie.

Event co-founder, Courtney Sweet, Coordinator of Community Partnerships with the Daniels Corporation, explained "This initiative was originally brought forth by the Faith in Regent Park group as an opportunity for people to learn about all the different faiths and cultural celebrations that take place throughout the winter. It's an opportunity for people to come together and learn about each other, taste different foods from around the world and celebrate something we all have in common—the end of the calendar year." 

Left: Children decorating gingerbread together. Right: Child admires her work on a gingerbread cookie. 

Throughout the evening, Regent Park community members mingled amongst themselves over hot chocolate and warm apple cider, volunteers prepared fresh scones in a wood burning oven, and children decorated gingerbread cookies and enjoyed homemade maple syrup popsicles.

Three kids with plates of food get ready to enjoy the spoils of their work.

Shirin Akter, a TCHC tenant came with her two daughters to enjoy the festivities. A resident of Regent Park for 10 years she said "I honestly really like the winter solstice because the children enjoy it. In Canada, it seems like it's always winter time and I don't think there is enough for the children in the winter." 

Left: DJ Hakim from UForChange plays some tunes. Right: Volunteers make maple syrup popsicles.

Arzah Ahmed, who lives near Regent Park said, "I like it here because there is always a sense of community, everyone is together and the kids have fun … I think this [event] is great for the community." This celebration was organized through a partnership between Friends of Regent Park, the Regent Park Community Food Centre and the Toronto Christian Resource Centre. 

Left: Volunteers take fresh baked scones out of the oven. Right: Women receives a plate of food. 

Kevin Moore, a co-founder of the event, said "We wanted to put on something that acknowledges winter is part of life in Canada, especially for people who are new to Canada. Regent Park has always had a sense of community so now with a whole bunch of newer people moving in, we want to continue to see that sense of community strengthen and develop."