April 1, 2018
Community hub Wesley Clover Parks was busy with winter programming over the last months. An early start to snowy weather was a friend to a number of events, while the January thaw was not so kind to others. But there are things beyond control in any endeavour. Here are several of the Quarterly highlights.
Formal Campground operations remained closed for the Quarter and the winter, with plans in place to reopen for the 2018 season on or about April 27th. That said, the popular Magic of Lights Christmas light experience returned to The Parks for the second year — bigger, brighter and better. The drive-through light display was open nightly from November 17th to January 6th, winding through more than 2 kilometers of the Campground roadways, with some early-winter snow providing the ideal backdrop for the festive spirit. More than 25,000 vehicles passed through the gates by the time the display came to an end. And while the final numbers are still being crunched, that amount of community interest and support will translate once again into significant proceeds, all of which will be presented to the event charity of choice again this year, the Ottawa Senators Foundation.
During the Quarter, The Parks teamed up with the Canadian Wildlife Federation to support their Help the Bats — Bat House Program, which is focused on increasing the survival rates of the endangered Little Brown Bat. Under the new partnership, the Campground now hosts two bat houses specifically designed to enable Little Brown Bats to roost during the spring and have pups over the summer. The belief is the environment maintained at the Parks will be ideal for the survival of these pups locally.
After being nominated by partner firm Gees Bees Honey Company, Wesley Clover Parks was selected by the Canadian Museum of Nature as a finalist in the Large Not-for-Profit Organization category of their 2017 Nature Inspiration Awards. These Awards recognize individuals and organizations for their work in encouraging Canadians to take an interest in natural history, create links with nature and contribute to its preservation.
The annual Holidays at The Parks pre-Christmas craft and hospitality day drew more than 1,000 guests this Quarter. The free family-friendly event featured 60 vendors, a photo-with-Santa booth (horse stall actually!), horse-drawn wagon rides, and a chance to visit with some of the Ian Millar School of Horsemanship lesson horses. Donations of nonperishable food items to benefit the Kanata Food Cupboard were welcomed, and the community again came through in a big way, with 100’s of items being collected by the end of the day.
During the winter months, the Forest and Nature School continues to schedule and promote outdoor play, as frolicking outside in all weather conditions teaches children that they are resilient. This attitude then transfers into other areas of learning and social development. As Child and Nature Alliance Executive Director Marlene Power stated in her December blog, “Different weather provides different play opportunities that support healthy child development and learning. When we open the door to outdoor play in the winter we give children the opportunity to learn that we don’t just engage with a place or a person when things are good or when they’re easy.” Just something to think about …
Wesley Clover Parks partner the Kanata Nordic Ski Club and their members enjoyed a great start to the cross-country ski season with a snowy December, making frequent use of the groomed trails across the Parks grounds. Unfortunately, the mixed precipitation since then has made for difficult ski and snowshoe conditions, leading to cancelations of both the Pretzel Race and Snow Day events. Another local example of undesirable “climate change”?
The Parks created a 2018 wall Calendar as a way to generate some funds to support the construction at the site of the Wesley Clover Parks Retirement Paddock. This reserved area will provide the dedicated horses and ponies of the popular Ian Millar School of Horsemanship at the Parks with the green space and quality care they deserve when they are ready to hang up their bridles and enjoy the golden years. wesleycloverparks.com