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Winter solstice in Toronto’s Kensington Market

The Story

Darkness comes early on Dec. 21, the shortest day of the year 2000. But it's also one of the year's brightest in Toronto's Kensington Market as residents mark the winter solstice with an annual parade and festival of lights. With huge puppets, colourful costumes and lots of lanterns, they're embracing the first official day of winter and the return of longer days. In this 2000 CBC-TV clip, a reporter observes the busy preparations on parade day.

Medium: Television
Program: Canada Now
Broadcast Date: Dec. 21, 2000
Guests: Starr Jacobs, Chrysanthi Michaelides, Andy Moro
Host: Carole MacNeil
Reporter: Debbie Lightle Quan
Duration: 2:00

Did You know?

• In Whitehorse, where daylight lasts about five hours and 40 minutes during the winter solstice, residents celebrate with an annual festival called The Longest Night. Held over two nights in the city's Yukon Arts Centre, the festival features music, dance, puppetry and storytelling.

• The word "solstice" means "sun standing still," referring to the moment that the sun is directly over the Tropic of Capricorn (in December) or the Tropic of Cancer (in June). In the northern hemisphere, the winter solstice takes place on Dec. 21 or 22 each year.

• The early pagans celebrated solstices, and many of the symbols we associate with Christmas are said to derive from pagan tradition. Mistletoe, greenery as decoration and the Yule log - a large block of wood laid ceremonially on the fire - all have pre-Christian origins. 





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