Ward's Island Fire Parade
On Friday, July 30th we gathered for the first Ward's Island Fire Parade since 2019. It was a low key affair with lanterns and music swirling around the dusk, taking the annual event back to what it used to be lo those many years ago.
We gathered at the WIA Clubhouse on the eve of Gala Weekend. The A'Rhythmics gathered slowly, assembling their many drums, our keenest stilt walkers put on their long legs and the lanterns were lit from above and below.
Lighting the night with their golden glow.
As always a huge thank you to the island community for being our fiercest, most photogenic supporters.
Photos captured by Hannah Mittelstaedt.
In June 2022 five communities came together on Toronto Island to celebrate birds and their return to our skies.
A collaboration between Shadowland Theatre, Birds Canada, MabelleARTS, Thorncliffe Park Women's Committee, Toronto Island SUP and the Waterfront BIA, Migration Celebration honoured the role birds play in our lives and ecosystems.
Shadowland Theatre artists, Indigenous teachers and musicians lead a series of weekly workshops in each community to bring awareness of the diverse bird life that swoops into Toronto every year.
The celebration culminated in a spectacular parade that wound its way from Centre Island to St Andrew by-the-Lake Church for a final flock flutter followed by festive feathered fun.
Check out the photos and DIY bird costume worksheets here!
Light It Up
On Spring Equinox, day and night are equal, light and dark are in perfect balance. On March 20, 2022 we celebrated the return of the sun by filling the east end with light! In collaboration with Workman Arts, and East End Arts we ran two lantern making workshops at the Crescent Town Club that resulted in so many wonderful lanterns being made by community members, who then joined us for a spectacular parade through Dentonia Park and the Crescent Town community.
A huge thank you to our partners and the community members that came out and joined us for the workshops and event.
Catch the photos here captured by the ever-talented Hannah Mittelstaedt.
Dragon Claws is Coming to Town
Mummer's Play 2021
This year we're back, at least in part,
To restore the beating heart.
Our Mummers couldn't stay away,
And so we let them put on a play.
A fearsome beast lies in wait,
Eating children, loving the taste.
Will they find a knight to champion their cause?
Or will they one by one be victim, to the dragons jaws.
Using highly visual, non-verbal theatre techniques the show’s story revolved around the spirit of community cooperation prevailing in the face of age-old and 21st century threats. The show opened with a choreographed flag display representing the Four Directions and the world in balance before the central character of a Home puppet was set upon by three stilt-walking Terrors – Disease, Climate Change and Greed, portrayed in carnivalesque costumes. Badly beaten, Home was attended by buffoons masquerading as Learned Doctors until the Hero of the People, a Carpenter who, utilizing the spirit of community, restored the heart of the Home, ending the show with a celebratory parade involving the community participants.
We were delighted to gather with the local communities in Fountainhead Park, Rustic Park, Dentonia Park and Parma Park this summer.
Huge thank you to our community partners, the Toronto Arts Council and the Toronto Arts Foundation for supporting this project!
Another pandemic summer upon us, and once again unable to undertake our usual Fire Parade festivities, we imagined another grand community art exhibit to celebrate the island community. Dozens of community members contributed works that celebrated and recognized people, pets and long-lost items. Camp children filled the washing line of single socks, and flowers for the Rose Wilson Memorial Garden to honour the oldest Islander, an accomplished gardener, who died on July 10, eight days short of 105.
Shadowland’s youth troupe featured in the finale performance to cap off a beautiful evening of solemnity and joy. Many thanks to Shadowland’s musical director Chris Wilson, who with Jim Bish, Bruce Mackinnon and Brad, created the First and Second-line funeral processional music for our “dead” Home puppet.
Along with the community contributions, some of our exhibits were digitally interactive! Below you can watch the videos that tell the stories of these lost things, places and people.