Ottawa Lumière Festival

By Deanna On Saturday, September 4th, New Edinburgh’s Stanley Park will be transformed into an enchanted evening of light and art. Lit up with the magic of colourful lantern sculptures, professional artists and performers will come together to create a magical atmosphere known as the Ottawa Lumière Festival.

Our family has been going to the festival since 2004 and has witnessed how it has evolved over the years. Each year, we put on our very best fairy costume and join the wizards, angels, knights and medieval princesses that make up the festive crowd. It is wonderful to see both children and adults dressed in enchanted attire, further adding to the whimsical feel of the festival. Artistically crafted paper lanterns line the path along the Rideau River and dangle from tree branches, lighting up the park. Musical, theatrical, dance performers and storytellers entertain throughout the evening, making this a fun-filled event for all ages. The festival usually gets underway around 4:30, but I recommend you get afternoon naps in early and stay past dusk to witness the park illuminated in its magical splendor.

A Company of Fools’ Scott Florence was brought on board as artistic director of this year’s festival, taking over from founding coordinator Joanne Hughes who has moved on to other adventures. I asked Scott what sprit the festival will take this year. “The theme this year will be ‘rebirth’. I think the whole event will have a really transformative and peaceful feel to it. I say that, and at that same time, one doesn't think of birth as quiet and easy, does one?” The Crichton Cultural Community Centre is also undergoing a renewal in summer programming, so for Scott, the rebirth theme seemed very appropriate. Scott adds, “…in planning this festival, just like in birth, you can never truly be prepared for the immensity and intensity of it.” He is just beginning to take a look at different artistic possibilities now, but promises lots of fun with light and fire, and as always, a blend of music, dance and theatre.

The night of art is the grand finale, like fireworks leading up to the big bang at the end. The real magic is happening the month before. Leading up to the event, Scott’s performance group will be providing workshops as part of the festival, offered throughout the month of August at the Crichton Cultural Community Centre, (200 Crichton Street). Classes are super-affordable and it’s a great way to spend an afternoon with kids and share the excitement in anticipation of the big event. We make it a ritual to attend a workshop, making a lantern that my little one proudly carries to the festival each year. Traditional lantern making workshops are planned, but what is new this year is mask making and mask performance workshops. Out of the mask workshops, Scott plans to create a small group of community members and emerging artists and create an original mask performance for the event.

If you’re like me and make it an annual tradition, you’ll know the Ottawa Lumière Festival is a spectacular family event and as I have experienced for many years, exceeds my expectations year over year. If you have never been, be sure to mark it on your calendar... this is one event you will not want to miss!

Further information about the festival can be found at or by contacting the main office of the Crichton Cultural Community Centre (613) 745-2742.

Deanna is Chief Storyteller for StorylinePR and inspired by the creativity of her 6 year old, Madeline.  She blogs about PR tips and media trends at