Guelph Resilience 2013 Community Festival

Submitted by Chris Mills on February 26, 2013 - 3:01pm


Yes folks, this is a shameless plug for Transition Guelph’s Resilience 2013 Community Festival, coming in March. Why? Because:

  1. it’s fun, 
  2. it’s informative, 
  3. it's jam-packed with amazing events all month, and most importantly,
  4. this year’s theme is “Connecting Community.”

And really, that’s what Transition Guelph is all about. The way forward has to be centred on building strong communities, right? We’re facing serious challenges, now and into the future; those are global challenges that we all face equally, and really, nowhere is the phrase “We’re all in this together” more true than here and now.

So yes, that’s why we’re “connecting communities,” bringing people together to explore their commonalities, their mutual strengths, and their collective desire to help our communities continue to thrive, by building resilience, sustainability, and social and ecological justice.

There’s far too much going on in the festival to list in detail here (that's what the website and festival guide booklets are for!) There are cool events all month long. But here are just a few of the highlights:

The festival opens on March 22, 7pm at Alexander Hall, University of Guelph with our keynote talks. Speakers this year will be Richard Heinberg and Helena Norberg-Hodge.

Richard Heinberg is the author of a dozen books on the sustainability crisis, and ways in which we can move forward by building community resilience at all levels. He’s also a senior fellow of the Post-Carbon Institute, a non-profit organization based in Santa Rosa, CA whose goal is to raise awareness around the challenges of peak oil, energy scarcity, overconsumption and the limits to growth, and to provide analysis on emerging responses and strategies. He’s an inspiring and informative speaker, well worth hearing.

Helena Norberg-Hodge is the co-founder and director of the International Society for Ecology and Culture (ISEC) and author of the highly acclaimed book Ancient Futures: Listening to Ladakh, which the New York Times described as “an inspirational classic”. She’s also the producer and co-director of the multi-award winning film The Economics of Happiness (which Planet Bean will be screening as part of the festival on March 19.) Ms. Norberg-Hodge will deliver a pre-recorded address, then participate in a live Q & A via Skype from her home in Australia.

The main festival day, March 23, is a full day of events at St. George's Church, starting with the Transition Guelph Community Connections Fair, which will feature displays and interactive presentations by over 25 local community organizations and groups. There’ll also be children’s activities, reskilling workshops, a free yoga seminar, forums on sustainable building (a very popular event that was packed to the doors last year!), a Resilience Healthcare Symposium (also popular), a stuff-swap, and much more. The GEL (Guelph Environmental Leadership) Eco-Market, located this year at Old Quebec St. Mall will showcase local green businesses and host a wide variety of seminars and demonstrations.

The finale to the day, and one of the most enduringly popular of the festival events, is the Transition Guelph Earth Hour community pot-luck and concert. In previous years well over 250 participants feasted on a wide variety of home-cooked, largely locally-sourced dishes (some donated by local farms and businesses) by candlelight, socializing, making connections, holding impromptu drum circles, and dancing. And this year, back by popular demand, Jenikz and her band will entertain from 9pm on!

And there’s far more than I can list, lead-up events throughout March, and follow-up events into April. So check out the website at to learn more, and be sure to watch the “What does community mean to you?” videos on the homepage, created for the festival by Canada World Youth!

Oh, and… you don't have to just attend; you can be a part of it! We’re still looking for volunteers for festival events. Meet some great people, have fun, and make a difference in your community. You can volunteer a little or a lot! It's up to you. To learn more, click on the Signup Genius link on the festival homepage.

It’s true: it does take resilience to build a strong community. And it's also true that resilience comes from having strong communities. The best news is, you can help create both! That's what the Resilience Festival is about.

And be sure to look for the Festival Guide Booklet in locations all across the city!


Thanks for sharing!

Hi Chris,

This looks like a great event- thanks for sharing it with us :)

Thank you!

Hi Rachel,

Thanks so much for featuring this blog! The more buzz we can get, the better! We're pretty excited about this year's festival, as you can probably tell. I think it's going to be amazing. This just in: Guelph Spoken Word will be hosting a national poetry slam at the Earth Hour pot-luck. How cool is that? It WILL mean running the PA system during Earth Hour, but the rest of the room will be off-grid and lit by candles. It's gonna be awesome!