Local Hero: Catherine Burns

CatherineBurnsOn September 6, 2014, dancers in Ottawa celebrated the beginning of our 25th contra dance season, thanks in great part to Catherine Burns' volunteer efforts which have sustained, enriched and expanded the local contra dance community. As a co-founder, board member, and tireless volunteer with the Old Sod Folk Music Society and Ottawa contra dance community, Catherine has been instrumental in building a vibrant community of musicians, singers, callers and dancers.

CathBurns CircleDanceCatherine calls contra dances regularly with the Old Sod Band in Ottawa. Catherine founded a well-attended Family Dance series, as well as a monthly community dance series, and provides training for volunteer local callers through the Ottawa Callers' Collective. In addition, she has been a volunteer caller for contra dances at many community festivals and events. She has recently expanded her calling to dances for local adults with disabilities. You may have met Catherine at the recent Puttin' On The Dance 2 weekend event in Ottawa, of which she was one of the organizers.

In recognition of Catherine's behind the scenes dedication, she was awarded the Mayor of Ottawa's City Builder Award for her volunteer work in building the local traditional song and contra dance community over the past 25 years. The Award is a civic honour created to recognize an individual who has, through outstanding volunteerism, demonstrated an extraordinary commitment to making our city a better place today and for the future. Catherine is my local hero, for her commitment to ensure a bright and enduring future for traditional dance and song in Ottawa.

   - Submitted by Julie Bishop