“Creating Christmas Magic” Returns for a Second Edition

Published on 28.11.2023

OTTAWA, November 28, 2023 – The Vanier Museopark, in partnership with the Conseil des écoles catholiques du Centre-Est (CECCE) and DeSerres at St-Laurent Shopping Centre, is proud to present the second annual Creating Christmas Magic event, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sunday, December 10, 2023, at the Richelieu-Vanier Community Centre and the Vanier Sugar Shack (300 Pères-Blancs Ave.).

Creating Christmas Magic is a community and family event to collect new and unwrapped toys, gift cards, and cash donations for needy children and families in Vanier.

A call for generosity in difficult times
“We were moved by the outpouring of community solidarity for last year’s toy drive and the generosity of local businesses,” says Madeleine Meilleur, Executive Director at the Vanier Museopark. “We collected more than 250 gifts and over $6,000 in cash donations in all, and this year we hope to surpass that because every child should feel and celebrate the magic of Christmas.”

Many Canadian households are still hurting from inflation and the soaring living costs of recent years, especially here in Vanier where food insecurity is on the rise. “December and January are without question the busiest months at Partage Vanier Food Bank, with more than 400 families making regular use of it,” says food bank coordinator Jean-Michel Rousseau. “Creating Christmas Magic will help us provide gifts for kids from some 100 families so they can have the Christmas they were hoping for.”

“At a time when more and more families are struggling financially, mutual support and sharing resonate powerfully with the values taught in east central Ottawa’s Catholic schools,” says Marc Bertrand, CECCE Director of Education. “That’s why we’re proud to partner with the Vanier Museopark for a second year in calling on generous hearts to brighten up the holiday season for families in need.”

A major event to celebrate the joy of giving
In a warm, enchanting atmosphere, community members can enter Santa’s workshop where the elves are busy getting magical moments ready for Vanier families. Here, young and old alike can take part in a host of Christmas activities:

At the Richelieu-Vanier Community Centre (300 Pères-Blancs Ave.):

  • Gift sorting, wrapping, and decorating stations
  • The Elves’ Magical Conveyor Belt
  • Card-making stations
  • Holiday music with Fritz Larrivière
  • NEW: Christmas music performance by talented Franco-Ontarian singer Mélissa Ouimet, 1 p.m.

This year, the Vanier Sugar Shack will be transformed into a gingerbread house by creative and skilled COOP students from DeSerres under the direction of artist Max Black. It will also host a very special guest…

At the Vanier Sugar Shack (320 Pères-Blancs Ave.):

  • Pictures with Santa
  • Reading of the story “Camille découvre Noël (Camille Discovers Christmas)” accompanied by CECCE mascot Camille la Chenille (Camille the Caterpillar)
  • Christmas colouring activities
  • Campfire and holiday music
  • Free coffee and hot chocolate, courtesy of Starbucks

Additionally, people who wish to contribute, but are unable to join the December 10 festivities, can leave their new, unwrapped toys at the following collection points:

  • Centre Pauline-Charron (164 Jeanne Mance Street, Ottawa, ON K1L 6M3)
  • Maison de la Francophonie (2720 Richmond Road, Ottawa, ON K2B 8M3)
  • Offices of the Conseil des écoles catholiques du Centre-Est (4000 Labelle Street, Ottawa, ON K1J 1A1)

The Museopark, the CECCE, and DeSerres have made it their mission to help Vanier families in need experience the magic of the holidays. To this end, we rely on you to help us Create Christmas Magic!

To learn more or make a donation, visit the event website. All donations are accepted and gratefully received because every child should be able to celebrate Christmas.


About the Vanier Museopark
The Vanier Museopark, a non-profit organization in the heart of Vanier—a working-class neighbourhood near downtown Ottawa—celebrates and showcases the community’s rich heritage and history. Through exhibitions, talks, workshops, school programs, and interpretive tours, the Museopark helps enquiring people of all ages and cultures discover and learn about the local Francophone community’s ways and customs. The Museopark is Ottawa’s only Francophone museum and one of the few Canadian museums devoted entirely to the French-speaking community outside Quebec. It also operates an authentic sugar shack in the heart of an urban sugar bush—the only one of its kind in the world—and hosts the Sugar Festival, an annual event that promotes artisanal maple syrup-making, showcases Franco-Ontarian and Aboriginal artists, and is hugely popular with families. The Vanier Museopark is proud of its roots and has been a community fixture since its founding in 2004. www.museoparc.ca

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For more information, pictures, video, interview requests or questions, please contact:

Annick Normand
Communications and Marketing Manager, Vanier Museopark

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