September 28, 2023

The Royal Botanical Gardens hosted an ‘After Dark’ experience on Oct. 22, meshing technology and nature on the edge of their 2,400-acre property in Burlington. While it may not have the Halloween jolts of some seasonal events, it’s the timing that carries this event into the fall.

“It’s a unique experience, it gives a different dimension to the park,” said Thomas Charles, a resident of Woodstock who travelled to the event with his partner, Elaine Charles.

“The phone brings you to different places, ones in the park you wouldn’t otherwise be in. I’m surprised [that] it can run on my phone,” said Elaine, who used her phone’s camera to visualize a nearby digital art piece.

The couple, along with other guests, had been listening to multi-genre vocalist Antonella, who was a guest performer at the event throughout the night.

She was joined by Lorraine Roy, who is a textile artist from Dundas, Ontario. Samples of her work were on display. She described her work as a combination of mechanical sewing and a knowledge of nature to ‘paint’ textiles in ‘non-linear’ patterns.

The event has been ongoing since Sept. 23, and has two more dates on Oct. 28 and Nov. 4. Tickets must be bought online in advance of the event, although bad weather can cause a cancellation, which is announced one hour before the event through an email contact.

Various LED lights have been placed around the grounds of Hendrie Park in a physical and out-of-reality experience for guests to attend past sundown. The event is open at 5:30 p.m, The ‘ideal’ times (sundown) differ depending on what part of the year you may attend.

A new app could be used by guests, named ‘Seeing The Invisible’ which uses augmented reality technology to impose digital artwork through a person’s smartphone. The list of artists that the app showcases can be found here under the ‘Featured Artists’ dropdown. The app does not function in low-light or nighttime situations.

To attend the event, a person must be 19 or older, and have proof of vaccination on hand to display. For more information about upcoming ‘After Dark’ events, visit their website.

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