Happy Canada Day!

Every year on July 1, Canadian citizens, permanent residents, new comers and visitors are invited to take part in celebrating our great nation with family and friends.

Canadian Flag

Over the years, Canada Day celebrations have taken on many forms: fireworks in the park, a simple backyard barbecue, a free concert or a street hockey game among neighbours. However we choose to celebrate, it is important to remember how fortunate we are to be in Canada; the true, north, strong and free.

The high quality of life we experience in Canada, and more specifically in Halton, is strongly due to the Region’s commitment to meeting items outlined in the Citizens’ Priorities 2011-2014 Action Plan such as: planning sustainable communities, protecting public health, delivering social services and increasing public engagement.

In focusing on the needs of Halton citizens, we are working together to build a community that truly represents the values of all residents.

For many people, Canada often represents different things: a new beginning, fresh opportunities, or home. Halton Region is a vibrant, attractive and diverse community made up of residents from around the world. Our diversity is a source of strength and pride, helping make Halton a great place to live, work, raise a family and retire.

As always, if you have any Regional concerns or comments you would like to share, please feel free to email me at gary.carr@halton.ca. You can also find me on Twitter @garycarrhalton or on Facebook. To receive further updates on Regional issues, please subscribe to my quarterly e-newsletter, “The Carr Report.”

Multiculturalism Day

In 2002, the Government of Canada designated June 27 as Canadian Multiculturalism Day. For Canada, Multiculturalism Day is about celebrating diversity, demonstrating our commitment to democracy, equality and mutual respect as well as showing appreciation for the contributions of various multicultural communities to our society.

Here in Halton Region we have much to celebrate. We are a diverse community composed of people from various cultural backgrounds, traditions and religions. In Halton we welcome, respect, value and celebrate the diversity and uniqueness of all residents. People who choose Halton Region as their home enrich our community and make us the strong Region we are today.

Halton Region actively supports inclusion in our programs and services. We work diligently to ensure that all residents have access to Regional services, regardless of their background, circumstances or abilities. We also work with several community organizations to ensure that residents have access to the resources and supports they are looking for within our community.

I am proud of the many community partners and organizations in Halton, which encourage people to engage and connect with the larger community, to build friendships and support systems, while still preserving their heritage, faith and culture.

I will be attending several multicultural events and festivals throughout Halton again this year. These events are wonderful opportunities for residents to come together to learn about the various cultures and backgrounds that contribute to our diverse community. If you have the chance, I encourage you to attend one of these events. Take some time to get to know your neighbours, share in each other’s experiences and celebrate our similarities, as well as our differences. In doing so, a sense of community will thrive and you can find the place where you belong.

By celebrating our diversity and our multiculturalism, we are ensuring that Halton remains a great place to live, work, raise a family and retire.

If you have any Regional concerns or comments you would like to share, please feel free to email me at gary.carr@halton.ca. You can also find me on Twitter @garycarrhalton or on Facebook. To receive further updates on Regional issues, please subscribe to my quarterly e-newsletter, “The Carr Report.”

Celebrate Tourism Week in Halton

June 10 to 16 is Tourism Week in Canada. Tourism is a key contributor to our economy, not only on a national level but also right here in Halton. Tourism also means business in our community, since jobs and businesses in our region are directly supported by the industry.

Tourism Banner

Tourism Week is not just about showcasing the economic impact and social benefits of our tourism sector, it’s about celebrating the many opportunities for entertainment, recreation, education, relaxation and fun, here in Halton Region.

From beautiful gardens, farmers’ markets and heritage attractions, unique dining and  shopping, performing arts, to biking, hiking horseback riding and countless other  activities, there is truly something for everyone to enjoy.

This week, why not invite a friend or family member to Halton and share your favourite spot?

For a list of upcoming events and activity ideas, visit Halton.ca/tourism.

You can also find Halton Tourism on Facebook or join the conversation on Twitter @HaltonTourism or on Pinterest at pinterest.com/haltontourism.

If you have any Regional concerns or comments you would like to share, please feel free to email me at gary.carr@halton.ca. You can also find me on Twitter @garycarrhalton or on Facebook. To receive further updates on Regional issues, please subscribe to my quarterly e-newsletter, “The Carr Report.”

Still a few days left to spring into action with Halton Tourism’s photo contest

With endless opportunities for entertainment, recreation, education, relaxation and fun, Halton Region is a true four season community. From beautiful gardens, farmers’ markets and heritage attractions, to biking and hiking trails, there is truly something for everyone to enjoy.

Tourism contest

This May, residents and visitors have been sharing their favourite local spring activities in a Halton Region “Spring into Action” photo contest.  There is still time for you to submit a photo with your favourite spring outdoor activity or location for a chance to win a $100 gift card at Burlington’s Mapleview Centre. The contest runs until May 31.

Looking for ideas of things to see and do in Halton this spring? Visit the Region’s tourism webpages, Discovering Halton and our welcome to Halton video, Tourism in Halton.   You can also find Halton Tourism on Facebook or join the conversation on Twitter @HaltonTourism or on Pinterest at pinterest.com/haltontourism.

I invite you to grab your camera, hop on your bike or take a walk around your neighbourhood, snap some photos and enter our contest.  With your help, and through the power of social media, we can share what you love about Halton in springtime with the rest of the world!

If you have any Regional concerns or comments you would like to share, please feel free to email me at gary.carr@halton.ca. You can also find me on Twitter @garycarrhalton or on Facebook. To receive further updates on Regional issues, please subscribe to my quarterly e-newsletter, “The Carr Report.”

Discover Halton’s Farmers’ Markets and Local Foods

This is one of my favourite times of year. Farmers’ markets are opening and Halton residents are rediscovering the benefits and the excitement of living in a community where there is access to fresh, local produce and products right from the farm.

Starting in May and June and continuing right through to October, fresh fruit, vegetables, maple syrup and other delicious foods are available at local farms and farmers’ markets.

To learn more, I invite you to take a look at Simply Local – Your Guide to Halton Farms. This excellent resource promotes Halton’s diverse farming industry, encourages healthy eating and helps connect Halton residents with Halton farms. Discover which farms are growing your favourite produce, where you can pick your own and what is in season.

You can also check out our new interactive Simply Local Map. This online tool makes it easier for you to plan out your tour of Halton farms by providing detailed location and driving directions.

There are many benefits to buying from local farms.

  • When we buy locally, we support the local economy and keep our farms in business for future generations.
  • With less processing, packaging, refrigeration and transportation involved in connecting food from the farm to the consumer, buying locally also helps protect our environment.
  • Buying locally helps us build a sense of community by establishing a connection between the farmer and the consumer. By engaging with Halton farmers, residents can make more informed choices in selecting healthy and nutritious foods.
  • Many farms also offer play areas and wagon rides to make your visit even more entertaining for the whole family. Participating in activities at one of Halton’s farms is a wonderful way to enjoy the outdoors, interact with our community and with nature.
  • Local food can be an important part of healthy eating. Buying food that is locally grown may encourage increased consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables, which is good for your health.
  • Lastly, one of the top reasons to buy from local farmers is that freshly picked local food always tastes great!

I encourage you to support our farms and buy locally. I look forward to seeing you at a farmers’ market or Halton farm soon.

For a free copy of “Simply Local – Your Guide to Halton Farms,” you can: order online, dial 311 or email Access Halton and request a copy to be mailed, pick one up at the Halton Regional Centre at 1151 Bronte Road, Oakville or visit your local tourism office.

If you have any Regional concerns or comments you would like to share, please feel free to email me at gary.carr@halton.ca. You can also find me on Twitter @garycarrhalton or on Facebook. To receive further updates on Regional issues, please subscribe to my quarterly e-newsletter, “The Carr Report.”

Religious Holidays

Halton is fortunate to be composed of residents from many different backgrounds, cultures, and faiths. We respect and honour the religious holidays and traditions of all residents. They help make Halton the community it is today.

During the months of March, April and May, several significant religious holidays are observed and celebrated in Halton and throughout the world.

  • March 26 – April 2: Judaism; Pesach/Passover: commemorates the departure of the Israelites from Egypt and it is celebrated for eight days. The first two days are the most significant.
  • March 27: Hinduism; Holi: a colourful and joyous festival dedicated to Krishna or Kama. Krishna is considered a divine hero and the Supreme Being and Kama is God of love.
  • March 29: Christian (Western); Good Friday: commemorates the crucifixion (dying on the cross) of Jesus Christ.
  • March 31: Christian (Western); Easter: celebration of the resurrection (rising from the dead) of Jesus Christ.
  • April 14: Sikhism; Vaisakhi: celebration of the birth of the Khalsa, the Fellowship of the Pure.
  • April 21 – May 2: Baha’I; Ridvan: commemorates 12 days that Bahá’u’lláh spent in the garden of Ridvan. On the 1st, 9th, and 12th days of Ridvan work is suspended.
  • May 3: Christian (Eastern); Holy Friday: commemorates the crucifixion (dying on the cross) of Jesus Christ.
  • May 5 Christian (Eastern); Pascha: celebration of the resurrection (rising from the dead) of Jesus Christ.

Holidays are a special time where families and friends gather together to participate in our customs and traditions. By sharing with one another, we can also connect with our neighbours and gain a better understanding of what our own traditions mean to us.

As I look forward to spending some time with my family and friends this season, I would like to wish all Halton residents and their families the best for their holiday celebrations.

As always, if you have any Regional concerns or comments you would like to share, please feel free to email me at  gary.carr@halton.ca. You can also find me on Twitter @garycarrhalton or on Facebook. To receive further updates on Regional issues, please subscribe to my quarterly e-newsletter, “The Carr Report.”

Get out and have family fun in Halton over March Break

March Break is almost here and if you are staying in Halton, there are so many things for you and your family to do. The HaltonParents team of public health nurses have been tweeting their growing number of followers about local activities for March Break, and reminding parents and caregivers to get out and be active with your kids. It’s not only great for your health, but it’s also great for building stronger connections with your children, no matter if they are 6 or 16.

Of course, as a former hockey player, skating was one of my favourite activities to do with my kids, but I used to love any times I spent with them when they had breaks from school. Here are some thoughts for what you can see and do in Halton this week:HRCA Crawford Lake

Of course, these are just a handful of ideas for you and your family. I encourage you to find out more about what is available just outside your front door. You can even check out the HaltonParents blog for more ideas about what to do with your kids during the winter. Enjoy the week.

As always, if you have any Regional concerns or comments you would like to share, please feel free to email me at  gary.carr@halton.ca. You can also find me on Twitter @garycarrhalton or on Facebook. To receive further updates on Regional issues, please subscribe to my quarterly e-newsletter, “The Carr Report.”