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The Bicycle Ball: A Night of Music, Art, and Sustainability—09.27.19

By Vita Sgardello on September 20, 2019

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Editor’s note: a previous version of this article referred to Apollo the Child as an emerging slam poet. He has in fact repped Ottawa on numerous stages for over a decade and captained national slam teams at major tournaments. This was a regrettable mistake which slipped past our editors. No disrespect, Apollo! Read more about Apollo the Child in this 2015 feature by Apt613 volunteer Amanda Armstrong.


Guest Post by Vita Sgardello

Vita Sgardello is a Communications Specialist for Envirocentre, an Ottawa-based environmental organization that helps people find practical ways to lighten their environmental impact in lasting ways. Originally from Milan, Italy, Vita fell in love with Ottawa at first sight and is happy to call this wonderful city home.


EnviroCentre is throwing a blow-out Ball to celebrate its 20th anniversary. 100% locally sourced artists and performers will be putting on a fast-paced show that will bounce from retro to futuristic inviting guests to call to mind the past and ponder what is possible in our low-carbon future. Drinks and apps will also all be made from local ingredients, and waste will be kept to a minimum. In fact, one of the goals of the Bicycle Ball is to demonstrate that a big evening event with all the bells and whistles can also be environmentally sustainable.

The inaugural edition of the Bicycle Ball—the first of many, hopes the organization—will be hosted in the beautiful Horticulture Building at Lansdowne on September 27th from 6:45pm to 10:30pm. Guests are being invited to arrive by low-carbon transport, that is to say by public transport, on foot, or by bike. OC Transpo tickets to and from the event are included in the ticket price, as is a secure bike valet service.

One of the most exciting things about this event is the number of local organizations, businesses, and artists that will participate. There will be live acts by Ottawa-based street dancing troupe Moov Ottawa, swing dancing by Side Street Swing, stilt walking and mime by Andrée Rainville of the Ottawa Circus School, spoken word poetry by international slam poet Khaleefa Hamdan aka Apollo the Child, swing-era live band by the John Avondale Orchestra. But that is not all. There will be two storytelling moments, one by Monique Manatch, a member of the Algonquins of Barriere Lake and the Executive Director and co-founder of Indigenous Culture and Media Innovations. The second will take a dive into the history of biking in Ottawa and will be led by history writer and journalism professor Randy Boswell. Local bike shop Retro Rides will be putting up an expo of vintage bicycles and the Museum of Science and Technology will be bringing a penny farthing—the first machine to ever be called a bicycle!

A fun event that doesn’t cost the earth

To guarantee the sustainability of the event EnviroCentre is asking guests to think about the environmental impact of the choices they make as they prepare for the ball. This includes taking steps to dress sustainably too. Wearing clothes you own already, shopping at thrift stores, and borrowing from friends and family are all options. You could also check out Closet in the Sky, an Ottawa based dress rental business based out of the Château Laurier that has partnered with EnviroCentre and will be donating 15% of any rentals for the Bicycle Ball to support the event.


The first annual Bicycle Ball is taking place on Friday September 27, 2019, in the Horticulture Building at Lansdowne Park. Visit envirocentre.ca/bicycleball for more information. Tickets cost $25–75 online.


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