Christmas is still weeks away, but the first tree will be lit up in Victoria Park on Tuesday as part of the 7th annual Shine the Light on Woman Abuse campaign.
Landmarks and businesses across the city will be decked out in purple for the month-long campaign, aimed at creating a dialogue around the issue of woman abuse.
Executive Director of the the London Abused Women’s Centre Megan Walker said this is their largest public awareness campaign.
“Tonight we kick it off by Shining a Light on Woman Abuse in Victoria Park, there will be one single tree lit throughout the entire month of November, it will be lit purple, and it’s really what we now call the Tree of Hope,” said Walker.
This year’s campaign honours Paula Gallant, who was murdered by her husband in 2005, and Mary Meadows, a survivor from St. Thomas who was able to leave her abuser and live a life free of violence thanks to help from the London Abused Women’s Centre.
The tree lighting event will be held in the soutwest corner of the park at Clarence Street and Dufferin Ave and start at 5:30 p.m. Walker said Mary will speak at the event.
“I’m always overwhelmed by the emotions at these events and I think it’s because those who attend and listen to the stories, they feel it can resonate with them, that they know that there is somebody in their life that has been impacted by violence,” she said.
The campaign has already grown to around 20 communities across Ontario, and this year it’s going national. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau shared his support last month in a video message played during a preview event, and the Peace Tower in Ottawa will be lit purple on November 15th.
November 15th also happens to be Wear Purple Day, when residents will be encouraged to wear purple clothing or accessories to honour women who are survivors and those who lost their lives to violence.
For more information on Shine the Light, click here.