Wednesday, December 20, 2023

Kensington Market Winter Solstice Festival 2023

Winter is calling and so is the excitement in one of Toronto's coolest neighbourhoods as the Kensington Market Winter Solstice Festival takes over the night on Thursday, December 21, 2023. This festival, started in 1988, celebrates the return of light and begins at 6pm at the intersection of Augusta and Oxford with crowds gathering together, many with hand made lanterns to watch the opening ceremony. The Phoenix is in full burn in Alexandra Park during the 2022 festival in the photo at top.

Winter Solstice on the 21st will be the longest night of the year and every day after that will have longer periods of daylight until the Summer Solstice hits in June. So to recap: Winter Solstice is the start of winter, winter in Canada is cold, days now getting longer, celebration ensues.

Toronto police will close Kensington Market including Augusta Avenue between College and Dundas Streets between 5pm and 10pm to accommodate the gathering. After the opening the festival will include giant puppet characters and figures by Red Pepper Spectacle Arts, usually followed by fire breathing performance and a parade marching down to the baseball field in Alexandra Park. However, this year, due to construction in Alexandra Park the parade and fire finale will not be held in Alexandra Park. All events will be in the market and will feature 5 separate fire warming stations and I guess people will just be roaming Kensington Market checking out the nights activities which end by 9:30pm.

From Red Pepper's Facebook page, "This year we are reflecting on the warm glow of the hearth and connection to community that expands our sense of belonging. Red Pepper’s hand-made Solstice Lanterns will be on sale during the event, at 160 Baldwin St, as well as offered from our Solstice Lantern Pedicab weaving through the streets, from 6:00pm to 9:30pm. We are adapting to a more intimate street event as the Alexandra Park Revitalization is in its construction stage. The 34th Annual Kensington Market Winter Solstice will not hold its Parade through Kensington and Fire Finale, in Alexandra Park."

Festival map from redpepperspectacle Instagram account

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