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An evening to connect with loved ones lost set for June 18 in South Surrey

The Candle Light Solstice Stroll is held annually on one of the longest days of the summer season

The annual Candle Light Solstice Stroll, an event for people to gather and connect with their loved ones who have passed, is scheduled this year for mid-June.

Traditional to the Spirit Garden, the Stroll is a chance for anyone to enjoy the tranquility that the garden offers as it is lit up with numerous candles. Throughout the space, there are around 100 flowers and plants that people have dedicated to loved ones who have passed. On June 18, candles will be placed in front of every tribute-plant and each visitor will also be given a candle of their own to light in a place that “speaks to them,” Joan Mara said.

READ MORE: South Surrey Solstice Stroll set for June 26

The inspiration for Spirit Garden began in 2009 when Joan and Jon Mara wanted to change the unloved plot of land near their home into something beautiful, Joan said. Together, the couple transformed the property in the 2800-block of 140 Street into a place that is open to everybody.

An environment where people can plant flowers for their friends and family that have crossed over into the spirit world is what the garden is meant to be, Joan said.

Sounds of chirping birds, croaking frogs and a mini waterfall with fleeting appearances by bunnies can be enjoyed in the space also.

In the garden, there are plants dedicated to loved ones lost to cancer, car accidents, natural causes and also plants dedicated to pets who have died. Once, a woman brought her dog who was dying to take one last photo of him before he was gone, Joan said.

Loss is a big part of the garden, but not everyone who visits the space is there for the same reason. Some see it as a path on their daily dog-walks, some take graduation pictures there and others go to just enjoy the various vibrant flowers.

“This garden never feels like a burden. We give to it and it gives so much back to us and the community,” Joan said.

“People go to cemeteries to remember their loved ones, but they come here to connect with them and their spirit.”

Spirit Garden is so well loved by the community that the idea has become contagious. Another garden in South Surrey is in the works, Joan said, adding that this was her goal. She would like to see the city alive with numerous gardens.

The Candlelight Solstice Stroll will be held this year on Saturday, June 18 from 8 p.m. until dusk at Spirit Garden, which is located at 2860 140 St. in Surrey. Joan can be reached at with any inquiries and Spirit Garden’s Facebook page posts updates on events at


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Sobia Moman

About the Author: Sobia Moman

Sobia Moman is a news and features reporter with the Peace Arch News.
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