Friday, November 01, 2013

Pumpkin Walk in Iona Park

They started coming in the morning. Yesterday's jack o'lanterns. Those pumpkins that had been carefully carved and proudly displayed on porches, front steps and window sills. Normally discarded the day after Hallowe'en, now given one last chance to shine.

Tonight was Ottawa's first pumpkin parade. Through word-of-mouth, social media, and flyers, we'd been inviting people in the Iona Park neighbourhood to bring their Hallowe'en handiwork to the park. At dusk we began putting candles inside them and the jack o'lanterns began to flicker and glow as night fell.

The idea for this parade came from my friend, Allegra Newman. She used to live in Toronto where the Sorauren Park Parade amasses around 2,000 pumpkins each year.
Iona Park's inaugural Pumpkin Walk was a more modest affair. By 8 p.m. there were close to 30 pumpkins lining the northern pathway into the park.

But it was a good beginning. Violet Lowe, who has lived beside the entrance to the park for 56 years, was thrilled to see the decorated pathway. "This is fantastic," she said.

Several young families and local residents braved the blustery winds to come to the park between 6 and 8 p.m. and admire the skill and creativity of carves in the neighbourhood. In addition to grinning pumpkin faces, there was a howling wolf, a man being chased by a dragon, and a lovely snowflake pattern.

The pumpkins will spend the rest of the weekend in the park, where they will be enjoyed by squirrels and admired by children, then picked up on Monday by city waste management.

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