Transmit to these virtual and physically distanced events during your winter break

As the holidays approach, snow blankets the streets, colourful lights twinkle as they adorn the outline of houses and the smell of Pillsbury’s cookies fills the air. Although the COVID-19 pandemic has forced the provincial government to not allow large social gatherings, the spirit of the holidays lives on.

There are still many virtual and physically distanced events that can help you recover from stressful exams and reconnect with the community. Whether you are in Hamilton or on the other side of the world, there is something for everyone in this list of eight winter events happening in Hamilton.

1. The Holidays, Mental Health & COVID-19

Wondering how to manage all the changes this holiday season? This webinar from the Hamilton branch of the Canadian Mental Health Association is taking place on Dec. 15 at 1:00 p.m. It will take a deeper look at how the COVID-19 has and will impact the 2020 holiday season. The webinar will give concrete strategies to maintain your mental health and stay connected to your loved ones during the holidays.

 

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2. Ushi Mart Winter Holiday Market

Ushi Mart is hosting a physically distanced in-person winter market at The Cotton Factory from Nov. 28 to Dec. 28. A wide variety of local vendors will be selling art, jewelry, housewares, clothing and trinkets. Tickets are $5, and customers will need to book their visit ahead of time as only five visitors can enter per hour. All proceeds from the market will go toward Wesley Urban Ministries, a non-profit organization that offers support to those who are homeless or living in poverty in the Hamilton, Halton and Brantford regions.

 

 

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3. Christmas Store & Tree Farm

Until Dec. 22, you can cut your own or purchase a pre-cut Christmas Tree at Merry Farms on Concession Road. It’s a 176-acre farm also popular for its corn maze and pumpkin patch in the fall. Reservations must be made in advance through their website. They also have a Christmas store on-site where you can find unique items to decorate your house. On Dec. 12 and 13, Merry Farms is offering on-site food service by The Rockton Lions Club.

 

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4. Art Gallery of Hamilton Film Series

If you are on the hunt for a new show or movie to watch, join the Art Gallery of Hamilton’s Online Film Series from the comfort of your home. The series, which is available for a fee, will last throughout December, and you can stream films such as God of the Piano, Queen of Hearts: Audrey Flack and Rocks. Check out their website for more information about when the tickets for each film will become available.

 

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5. Supercrawl Livestream Series

Although Supercrawl was cancelled this year due to the pandemic, they are hosting a series of livestreamed performances every weekend until the end of December. The virtual concerts, which are held through Facebook, are free. Upcoming performances include Tim Hicks, The Dirty Nil and Terra Lightfoot.

 

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6. Royal Botanical Garden Express

Hop on the Royal Botanical Garden Express train through Hendrie Park, which is decorated for the season with beautiful holiday lights. Hendrie Park is the largest cultivated garden area at Royal Botanical Gardens with 12 different themed spaces. Tickets can be purchased at the main doors and the rides will remain open until Jan. 3.

 

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7. Goodbody Feel December Workshops

Goodbodyfeel is offering various virtual workshops for self-care, self-love and self-compassion during the holidays. You can learn about restorative postures, how to do a guided self-massage, how to bake seasonal treats, participate in an online dance party and more. Different workshops will be held each week from Dec. 12 until Dec. 31 to help you destress and relax.

 

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8. Holiday with the HPO Brass

There is no better way to put yourself in a festive mood than listening to holiday music. The Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra Brass Quintet will perform holiday classics and excerpts from Handel’s Messiah on Dec. 18. The performance will be available to watch online until Jan. 18, 2021. This concert is part of the orchestra’s Hamilton Series and tickets are available for $27.

 

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Sil Time Capsule is a new series that will continue to bring forward student voices

As we near the end of 2020, now is a good time to reflect, especially given how much has changed this past year. 2020 has been a rough year for everyone, but with its difficulties come opportunities for learning and changing, both within all of us as individuals and within our society. 

The COVID-19 pandemic remains the event that will define 2020 for years to come. The pandemic and its regulations have caused tensions, a shift across the board in education and different sectors to a virtual environment and rises in mental health issues due to isolation and other issues faced by many.

This pandemic has brought forth many challenges, particularly for students struggling to make the best of their youth amid a world of isolation and online classrooms. However, it has also highlighted pre-existing issues within our society, such as serious health disparities as a result of socioeconomic status. All in all, the SARS-CoV-2 virus has forever changed our world and how we experience it as individuals and as students. 

[/media-credit] Information from the City of Toronto, as reported by Jessica Cheung of the CBC

 

Next, there was the shooting of George Floyd and the rallying cry against anti-Black racism in North America and across the world. The Black Lives Matter movement, an existing movement against police brutality and anti-Black racism, shifted into the limelight, offering all a chance to reflect on their role in anti-Black racism.

The effects of this were far-reaching, with systemic racism being highlighted across our nation at an institutional and individual level. Beyond discussions on anti-Black racism, there was also a rise in the discourse regarding anti-Indigenous racism. The Land Back protests are a prime example of the important role activism played this year in sparking dialogue on inequities in our society. As students and as a student newspaper, it is essential these events are brought forth and discussed adequately.

[/media-credit] Black Lives Matter protests in Toronto, as reported by Laura Armstrong and Jacob Lorinc of the Toronto Star

 

Finally, there was the 2020 United States federal election. Although American politics can sometimes feel distant, this election caused — and will cause for the next four years — a shift in global politics and marked the end of an era in the United States and North America with Donald Trump as the President of the United States.

Additionally, given the close ties between Canada and the US, the repercussions and changes that will accompany the election and its results will be felt here more than in other countries. 

It is important to note the election, along with all other monumental aspects of 2020 mentioned thus far, was accompanied by a multitude of other important global events. These must — and will — be discussed in great detail in the coming issues at the Silhouette through both this series as well as through our Summer of Activism series in the News section. 

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As a student newspaper, it is important we discuss global events and how they affect us and the McMaster student community. Global events affect everyone in one way or another. COVID-19 is a global health issue but has left deep impacts on the lives of students. It highlighted important issues in our society such as the extent to which income and privilege dictate your level of health and protection. Students are not isolated nor removed from these realities.

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It is also important to discuss the many global events of 2020 as a student newspaper because these are in many ways mirrored by realities in our own community. For example, just as systemic racism and police brutality shifted to the limelight of national political discourse in the United States, realities at McMaster such as the anti-Black racism culture in the university’s athletics department were highlighted in a recent report.

As a student newspaper, we are responsible for informing our peers, discussing these issues and how they have affected our students. As global citizens, we are responsible for raising awareness of global issues, events and inequities. 

More than just being mirrored in our community, these events have also had a profound influence on our very sense of community.

More than just being mirrored in our community, these events have also had a profound influence on our very sense of community. Often exceptional and unprecedented events encourage stronger connections and drive communities closer together.

However, the nature of the pandemic has resulted in the opposite, with many students feeling disconnected and unsupported in these difficult times. As a student newspaper, it is important that we not only inform our peers and raise awareness about global events and issues but also that we do our part to maintain community and facilitate the connection between students.

Furthermore, this kind of coverage and engagement with global events is something that many, if not most, students are interested and invested in. During the Black Lives Matter protests at the beginning of June, the Silhouette posted a short message in solidarity, but we were challenged by our community to do more. Over the last few months, we have been working to deliver on those promises that were made and are continuing to look for ways in which we can improve.

Across all sections this past semester we have worked to ensure that we address and acknowledge these issues and events and their influence on our community. This article in particular serves as the introduction to a new series. Titled Sil Time Capsule, this series is an opportunity to reflect on this past year and draw attention to the ways in which it has affected our community as well as the wider world.

2020 has been an eventful and unprecedented year and as a student newspaper, we have a responsibility to acknowledge these events, inform our peers and raise awareness about them. We also have a responsibility to address the ways in which they have affected and influenced not only the wider world but also our own community. This time capsule series is one way by which we are working to do justice to the events and issues of this year and their influence on the communities big and small of which we are a part.

Halloween celebrations look a little different this year, but can be festive nonetheless

Spooky season is looking different this year with an ongoing pandemic across the country. In Ontario, several regions including Ottawa, Peel, Toronto and York are now in the modified Stage 2 public health designation. People living in those regions are not recommended to go trick-or-treating this year. 

Instead, families are encouraged to celebrate Halloween in their own household with activities such as a candy hunt, carving pumpkins or a movie night. 

“We’re trying to make it as safe and simple as possible, my friends, we all know this isn’t going to be a regular Halloween,” said Ontario Premier Doug Ford. 

Hamilton is currently a Stage 3 public health unit region and trick-or-treating is not prohibited, but people are asked to take extra precautions. This includes limiting gatherings to those within a household, washing hands or using hand sanitizer, only trick-or-treating outdoors and wearing a face covering even if a costume mask is already present. 

For those living in Stage 3 public health unit regions, please take extra precautions & follow #PublicHealth advice to ensure you are keeping yourself & your families safe as you begin to prepare for #Halloween this year. #HappyHalloween https://t.co/eXAwIUuTz6 pic.twitter.com/cVVevwGmlV

— Ontario Ministry of Health (@ONThealth) October 19, 2020

Those who are handing out treats are also encouraged to take certain steps to stay physically distanced, such as using tongs to hand out treats. However, leaving treats in a bucket or bowl outside of the door for children to grab on their own is not advised. 

For many McMaster University students, this change in Halloween festivities is a lost opportunity to celebrate with friends in person. However, several faculty societies and clubs have taken the opportunity to hold virtual celebrations instead. 

The iSci Society transitioned its typical coffeehouse to an online platform. Hosted on Oct. 28 via Zoom, the society invited students to perform and share their talents. This includes performances such as singing, dancing, performing an instrument, slam poetry or a comedy act

The Humanities society is doing a series of October events, including Halloween movie watching on Zoom every night from Oct. 26 to 30. On Oct. 30, the society is also offering private five-minute psychic readings via Zoom.

UNICEF McMaster is a club that represents the non-profit organization, UNICEF, to support various issues such as healthcare, nutrition and education. The club typically runs an annual Halloween fundraiser where each participating class donated money to see their professor dressed up in a costume during their lecture. This year, UNICEF McMaster is continuing this tradition by inviting professors to dress up for virtual classes.

Thanks #MacIntroPsych students for supporting @UNICEF and for selecting my Halloween costume. Note to self: it's not easy lecturing with an itchy moustache and using a slide advancer wearing oversized gloves. https://t.co/hZVUEwEP1W pic.twitter.com/nUY84veYZ5

— Joe Kim (@ProfJoeKim) October 29, 2019

From Oct. 23 to 31, the MSU Food Collective Centre is doing a trick-or-eat food collection event. Donation bins are placed at three drop-off locations in Hamilton including: TCBY in Westdale, Williams Fresh Cafe on Main Street and the McMaster University Student Centre. The service is collecting non-perishable food items to support local food banks. Folks who would like to donate but are unable to access the drop-off locations can also contact the service via email for other options.

Aside from online methods, folks can also find other ways to safely celebrate by going to outdoor events such as corn mazes or pumpkin patches. Although different from a typical year, Halloween in 2020 can still be celebrated in creative, fun and safe ways. 

To learn more about the restrictions required of each public health stage or find out what stage cities are currently in, visit https://www.ontario.ca/page/reopening-ontario-stages

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