Oshawa’s Peony Festival, Share Your Holiday Sprit recognized by Festivals Ontario

By Glenn Hendry

Published March 30, 2022 at 12:06 pm

Photo Betty Lopez

For the second year in a row, Oshawa’s virtual events have been recognized by Festivals and Events Ontario (FEO) for pivoting, adapting and evolving to meet the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The City of Oshawa’s virtual Peony Festival and Share Your Holiday Spirit earned FEO Achievement Awards which celebrates the successful execution of a festival or event held in-person, virtually, or hybrid in 2021.

This is the second FEO achievement award for the Peony Festival which moved online in 2020 and was hosted again virtually in 2021. The customary two-day live event each June was transformed into a four-week virtual event featuring peony garden videos, expert talks, gardening tips, and art and photo contests.

The festival, sponsored by CKDO, TD Canada, Tim Hortons and Harmony Hill Retirement Community and a Government of Ontario – Reconnect Grant, was produced in partnership with the Canadian Peony Society, Oshawa Garden Club, Durham Master Gardeners, The Robert McLaughlin Gallery, Oshawa Museum, Parkwood Estate, Oshawa Public Libraries, The LivingRoom Community Art Studio, and a Teaching City / Durham College / 3eehive partnership.

This also marks the 10th consecutive year the Festival, running for 17 years now, has been recognized by FEO. It was awarded the Top 100 Festivals and Events in Ontario designation for eight years in a row before the FEO replaced naming its annual Ontario Top 100 Festivals with achievement awards in 2020 in response to COVID-19 restrictions.

The award is a testament to the “out-of-box thinking” of the staff at the City of Oshawa, said Community Services Committee Chair Rick Kerr, who called the result a “terrific alternative” for people to visit the Peony Festival during pandemic times when onsite visits were not possible. “Three cheers!”

Share Your Holiday Spirit was held in November and December 2021 and called on community members to uplift spirits by participating in an outdoor holiday display contest while also donating to Feed the Need Durham holiday drive. The second annual contest was sponsored by TD Canada and inspired households from across Oshawa to decorate their spaces to show their holiday spirit.

The initiative brought in 92,000 lbs. Of non-perishable food and personal care items for families in need.

“Time after time, throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the City of Oshawa has demonstrated its strength and resilience,” enthused Oshawa Mayor Dan Carter. “We thank our creative staff and dedicated sponsors and partners who have worked so hard to keep events like the Peony Festival and Share Your Holiday Spirit that means so much to our community, alive and thriving. ”

For more information about FEO and its achievement awards, visit www.festivalsandeventsontario.ca..

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