Submitted by Kathy Bell –
This will get your tail wagging: Halloween gets a head-start at Hintonburg Park with Ottawa’s Halloween Dog Parade on Saturday, October 20. It promises to be a howling good time.
Fidos from all over the city will be pawing their way to Hintonburg Park (101 Duhamel St.) from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., decked out in their costume best, vying for best-dressed categories and, of course, participating in the Parade of Dogs.
Inspired by New York City’s Tompkins Square Park annual Halloween dog event, the Ottawa Halloween Dog Parade is a family and hipster-friendly event, which proves having fun really is a dog’s life. Along with prizes for pooches, there will area vendors and popular local food purveyors. Admission is free to the event, though there is a $10 registration fee required for canine competitions.
Indeed, the inclusiveness of Ottawa’s Halloween Dog Parade is based on its guiding spirit as a fundraiser in support of Dovercourt’s Work and Volunteer Program for Adults with Autism and other special needs (WAVE). WAVE participants, or Apprentices, are active in the community through work placements and volunteering.
You may have met the WAVE Apprentices out-and-about in Hintonburg, Westboro or other communities. Apprentice work crews volunteer each day at various local businesses and organizations.
“The WAVE is program focuses on community integration, learning through recreation, building social skills and meaningful friendships, and most of all…it’s a place for everyone,” says Caitlyn Booth, a WAVE Program Coordinator. “We work to raise awareness within our community about how people with special needs can be positive members of society.”
Funds raised by the Dog Parade will contribute to expanding WAVE’s programs through job training for Apprentices and staff, sensory equipment and supportive technologies that enhance community participation.
Kathy Bell, parent of a WAVE apprentice, says, “WAVE is a one-of-a-kind program in Ottawa for adults with special needs that provides for my son, Kevin, the opportunity to have a productive and active life like other young people his age. Kevin is so happy to go to work every day, which includes volunteering and placements at the Parkdale Food Market and the Ottawa Heart Institute, among other local businesses. It makes my day when people tell me how much fun Kevin is having when they see him in the community.”
Visit the Ottawa Halloween Dog Parade Facebook page to learn more about the event, register or make a donation to the WAVE program. Parade-day registration and donations are also possible.
For more information about Dovercourt’s WAVE program, please visit dovercourt.org/enterprise/wave.
So, mark your calendars for October 20, tell your dog-loving friends, and get creative! You won’t be barking up the wrong tree attending the first annual Ottawa Halloween Dog Parade.
Kathy Bell is a volunteer with WAVE.
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