Last December, I wrote that 2016 had been a year of growth, development, achievement and celebration ... and I said that 2017 would bring more of the same. I spoke about our plans to launch Celebrating2017 – a year-long initiative to showcase anniversaries for our city, province and country. One year later, I am so very proud of all we have accomplished and all that lies ahead.
This month, Bright Lights Windsor will illuminate Jackson Park, and ignite the imaginations of our residents and visitors from December 8 to January 7. This entire year, we’ve marked Windsor 125, Ontario 150 and Canada 150 with signature events, community celebrations and projects that have been about celebrating who we are, where we’ve been, and where we are going as a community. At its core, Celebrating2017 encouraged us to remember what makes us special, while inspiring us to create new memories to last a lifetime.
Bright Lights Windsor is about exactly that ... creating a shared space in our city where magic is possible and memories are made. Gather your friends and family, and visit Jackson Park where we are creating a wonderland for you to share and enjoy. A giant illuminated tree in the Queen Elizabeth II Sunken Gardens ... nightly light shows (Thursday to Saturday) and evening performances (Friday and Saturday) ... thousands of lights and iconic holiday characters lit up throughout the park ... there will be something for everyone to enjoy. Let’s make this memory – this magic – together, Windsor! Visit www.BrightLightsWindsor.ca for full details.
Speaking of magic ... December is a month of unforgettable holiday traditions. Willistead Manor’s 2017 Holiday Tours take place over three Sundays (December 3, 10 and 17 from Noon to 5pm). The Sunday tours are extended this year to make up for the missed Wednesday evening tours. We’ve done that to free up more time for the exciting Canada 150 Restoration Project, which is underway and providing our heritage gem with some much appreciated attention. Visit www.willistead.ca for tour prices and info.
Museum Windsor's Chimczuk Museum offers visitors the chance to learn about how our ancestors handled winter by seeing and touching actual museum artifacts, while also hosting holiday-themed scavenger hunts and crafts on various dates throughout the month. For all the details, vist www.museumwindsor.ca.
Adventure Bay Family Water Park Presented by WFCU Credit Union continues its own holiday tradition with Swim with Santa on December 9. Enjoy special admission rates, activities, hot chocolate, and a visit and photo op with the big guy himself. Later, on December 31, the water park hosts New Year’s Eve at Adventure Bay with two-for-one admission, contests and giveaways with AM800’s A-Team. Details are at www.adventurebay.ca.
On December 19, I’ll be at Willistead Manor presenting the Celebrating 2017 Mayor’s Awards to 25 passionate, community-minded citizens who have helped to make Windsor a great city. The recipients of these awards will be people who have demonstrated an extraordinary effort to making Windsor a better place not just for themselves, but for their neighbours, friends and community. I’m looking forward to saying "Thank you."
If you want to be part of history in Windsor, consider submitting to the Stories of Sandwich campaign (details at celebrating2017.ca), which will see 14 stories collected that capture the people, events, architecture and sites that have helped to shape the Sandwich Town of today. These will become part of plaques on the grand new arch being installed in Sandwich in 2018.
Celebrating2017 wraps up with an interfaith service and community bell ringing led by All Saints' Church on December 31, the re-sealing of the Celebrating2017 "W" time capsule that same day at City Hall (with 25 new items added), and the #myWindsor2017 photo campaign for pictures to be included in the capsule. Get involved and help write Windsor's story.
For more events, activities and celebrations, visit celebrating2017.ca, citywindsor.ca, snapdwindsor.com, check out the Activity Guide, and search Windsor Celebrating 2017 on Facebook. Whatever you do, however you enjoy the month and the end of this memorable year, I encourage you to join with your loved ones to keep Celebrating2017.
Happy Holidays everyone!
Mayor Drew Dilkens,
City of Windsor