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Around Ottawa

Trees of Hope at the Chateau Laurier, Ottawa

It’s Christmas time…a time for family and loved ones.  A time to reflect on the joys of the season.  A time for the children. Chateau Laurier Christmas

I love Christmas…I get all excited about the decorations, the snow and time to relax and enjoy the season with family and friends (of course, a white Christmas with lights glistening against the snow makes for a perfect combination!!!).  What’s not to love about the twinkle lights that deck the halls!!!  I know, Christmas can also be such a stressful time for families.  Old tensions come out, all the food and costs, and at times, sense of obligation….but that is not what it is supposed to be about.  For that reason, I love the lead up to Christmas as much as, if not more than the actual day!  Doesn’t the sparkle just put a smile on your face?

Trees of Hope

Last year, I was mesmerized by what I can only describe as Christmas gone wild.  It was my first time soaking up the Christmas markets in Prague, and I was in love!  The Christmas carols under Charles Bridge and savouring the flavours of all the street food and mulled wine….my head spins just thinking about it!  But alas, I can not be away every Christmas…my family would certainly have something to say about that!

Christmas vacation in the Czech Republic

Besides jolly old Saint Nic, the Christmas tree has been a symbol of Christmas for eons.  Symbolizing eternal life, wreaths and garlands of evergreen boughs, and evergreen trees, have been used for centuries, warding off evil spirits and ghosts.  The Egyptians saw the evergreen as a symbol of the triumph of life over death.  The custom of decorating Christmas trees followed, with early evidence of decorated trees as early as 1441.  The earliest trees were decorated with apples, nuts, dates etc…where children would collect the goodies on Christmas day.  According to wikipedia, the Christmas tree tradition was introduced to Canada in the winter of 1781 in Quebec.  Candle light was quick to follow.  I have never actually seen a tree decorated with real candles, but love the soft glow of twinkle lights reflecting off the decorations that dress the modern day tree.

Trees of Hope

It has become common practice to put decorated Christmas trees outdoors since the early 20th century.  People flock to see the Rockefeller Centre Christmas tree in New York City every year.  Festivals around Christmas trees have become popular in celebrating the holidays and commemorating support from times past (Norway presents a tree to the people of London – a symbol of appreciation for the support the Norwegians received during the second world war.  Halifax, Nova Scotia, donates a tree to Boston every year in appreciation of the assistance received after the ammunition ship explosion that decimated Halifax in 1917).

In Ottawa, we have used the symbol of the Christmas tree as a fundraiser…and who better to be the benefactor than the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario, aka CHEO!  Something about Christmas decorations just gets me excited.  Brings out the inner child in me and I love to check out downtown Ottawa for the lights spread all over the nation’s capital.  High on the list are the 30 trees that deck the halls of the historic Chateau Laurier, which just happens to be celebrating it’s 100th year!  The trees are beautifully decorated by local corporations and set out on display, with proceeds going to support CHEO.

The Trees of Hope are in their 15th year at the Chateau.  What a perfect surrounding to get into the Christmas spirit….the lights twinkling and such a festive feel…stop for hot chocolate after the hustle and bustle of Christmas shopping, and enjoy the Christmas spirit in amongst the festive trees.  Looking at the trees is free, although you are welcome to vote for your favourite tree and make a donation to CHEO.

Merry Christmas and I would like to wish you a happy and healthy New Years.  May all your travels be safe and your adventures exciting!

Anita Mac

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About Anita Mac

The bucket list just keeps growing! The more I cross off - the more exciting new destinations and activities I find! I have been fortunate enough to travel a considerable distance over the years. My love of many things, including travel, cycling, kayaking and photography fit together like hand and glove. I have to keep asking myself....where to next? I am happy to share my travels and photography through my blogs: http://traveldestinationbucketlist.com and http://anitamacphotos.wordpress.com Hope you enjoy them as much as I do! On to the next adventure!


8 thoughts on “Trees of Hope at the Chateau Laurier, Ottawa

  1. Thanks Anita for such a great Christmas post. Merry Christmas and I wish yoi many safe travels in the comming new year!

    Posted by caminodave | December 25, 2012, 10:04 am
  2. What beautiful trees, Anita, and decorated for such an important cause! Your picture from Prague and the market stand with ‘trdelnik’ reminds me of the sinful goodie we ate there last summer. I would love to visit Prague some year for Christmas!

    Hope you’re enjoying the season, and all the best as 2013 approaches!

    Posted by Tricia A. Mitchell | December 26, 2012, 4:04 pm
    • Thanks Tricia. They always have beautifully decorated trees.
      I didn’t realize they still sold the trdelnik in summer….I thought that was a Christmas Market treat. I loved all the smells as we walked through the markets…such a treat. You will have to visit for Christmas at some stage. Prague is simply stunning at the holidays. All the best in 2013.

      Posted by Anita Mac | December 28, 2012, 9:09 am
  3. Lovely Christmas photos! Thanks for visiting.

    Posted by ideflex | December 26, 2012, 8:02 pm
  4. Hi there! I too, share your passion and excitement for all things Christmas and I LOVE YOUR photographs…so vibrant and full of the spirit of Christmas. I long for a visit to Europe’s Christmas markets…Prague must have been sublime. Thx for the tour of Christmas past my friend.

    Posted by Jeff Titelius | December 27, 2012, 8:04 pm
    • Thanks Jeff. You are right…Christmas in Prague was beyond my wildest dreams. I hope to go back to Europe for Christmas next year as it is such an amazing Christmas feel. Happy holidays and safe travels in 2013.

      Posted by Anita Mac | December 28, 2012, 9:11 am

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