Joan Mara is framed in the Spirit Garden by roses in full bloom. The garden will host its annual Solstice Stroll event on June 20. (Tracy Holmes photo)

Annual Solstice Stroll to add glow in South Surrey on June 20

Event invites candles to be lit in memory of loved ones lost

While the COVID-19 pandemic has put a damper on countless events, an annual evening set aside to remember loved ones lost will go ahead as scheduled.

The Solstice Stroll and Candle Lighting – open from 7:30 p.m. on June 20 – invites anyone who would like to pay tribute to place a candle near plants that have been added to the South Surrey Spirit Garden in memory of a loved one.

“It’s been such an unusual year and this will be a nice little tradition to keep up,” said Joan Mara, whose vision more than a decade ago led to the garden’s creation on land in the 2800-block of 140 Street.

READ MORE: South Surrey’s Spirit Garden still growing

Taking root in 2009, the space has been transformed over the years into a place of colour and serenity. Every year, there is something new to see, and this year that includes a Guatemala-inspired ‘rebar hops trellis,’ a driftwood star sculpture, sweet pea towers and a rare, white bleeding heart planted by a local family in memory of their loved one.

Mara said the driftwood sculpture, placed next to a white flowering clematis, is branded with a star, and is a tribute to the teenage son of a woman who attended last year’s Solstice Stroll.

“She loved the garden,” Mara said Thursday (June 11). “The star was a favourite of her son’s because he liked the (NHL’s) Dallas Stars.”

The driftwood, Mara continued, is much like the boy was – “it’s got strength and height,” she said.

The bleeding heart is perhaps the newest addition to the garden, added just recently by a family whose “heart is still bleeding” over the loss of their son.

Mara does not expect social distancing to be an issue during the stroll. Those who turn out will be reminded of the importance of leaving space, and directed along a one-way path.

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Joan Mara stands near some of the peonies that recently bloomed in the Spirit Garden. The garden will host its annual Solstice Stroll event on June 20. (Tracy Holmes photo)

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