Photo: Foundation celebrates winter at Carnaval

Credit: Memoires Photo

By Heather Murray & Catherine Orer

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Most Canadians can recognize the friendly smile of the Bonhomme Carnaval, the mascot of Québec City's Carnaval de Québec. This year, another familiar face popped up at the event: David Suzuki.
To raise awareness about saving winter from climate change, the Foundation presented the first-ever Winter Summit (Sommet de l'hiver) as part of the festivities. The carnival celebrates Canadian identity and everything we love about winter, from dog-sledding to ice castles. But winter — and everything that goes with it — is threatened by our increasing greenhouse gas emissions.

The summit consisted of three events: a lecture with David Suzuki at Université Laval, a fundraising gala, and an outdoor hockey game. Each event had its own special purpose.

On Friday at Université Laval, David Suzuki was presented with an honourary doctorate. Following his acceptance ceremony, he gave a presentation on his vision of the future in a world affected by climate change. More than 600 people, including students and members of the public, attended the free event to learn more about how to turn back climate change.

The next evening, more than 240 people gathered at the Fairmont Le Château Frontenac for a special fundraising gala, featuring a speech from David Suzuki, a five-course meal, and entertainment. Internationally renowned chef Jean Soulard prepared the seasonal, local dinner while author-singer-songwriter Ian Kelly and artists from the Quebec collective Les 7 doigts de la main entertained. This special Saturday night gala, Merveilles d'Hiver (Winter Wonderland), was presented by our partner Mouvement Desjardins and supported by the Fondation Albert II de Monaco - Canada and Dessau.

The third event took place early on Sunday morning — a challenge for those who had too much fun at the previous evening's gala. The outdoor hockey game pitted artists (including members of the bands Les Cowboy Fringants and Les Trois Accords) against environmentalists (including Foundation staff members, NHL star Georges Laraque, and Alouette Luc Brodeur-Jourdain). Bonhomme Carnaval and David Suzuki dropped the puck together before hundreds of spectators.

The purpose of this friendly competition was to show how some important aspects of our culture, like winter sports, are threatened by climate change. It was a tight match, but the environmentalists prevailed, beating the artists 6 - 5.

Since it was all such a success, carnival-goers can expect similar festivities from January 27 to 29, 2012. The Foundation is planning more outdoor activities, a gala, and science-focused events presented with Université Laval.

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