A hugely important and worthwhile event is about to take place in our neighbourhood and it’s one where we can also have some fun. Turning the calendar to November means the annual Homes for the Holidays tour is close at hand.

For the past 15 years, this popular tour of beautiful area homes, which are expertly decorated for the holidays by florists and decorators, has served as the major fundraiser for Ottawa South’s Hospice at May Court. It has raised desperately needed funds to allow those in the final stages of their lives a home-like setting with professional care where they can die with dignity. The hospice does not charge for its services.

The hospice is something that the May Court Club feels is its duty. May Court was, in fact, created more than 100 years ago by Lady Aberdeen, wife of the governor general, because she felt that the solution to all of life’s difficulties was through service.

The hospice began in the 1980s in a Sandy Hill church basement when the congregation of All Saints Anglican Church sought to help a terminally ill member. It later merged with May Court, which had been left an estate on the Rideau River and was looking for a use for it. And a few years ago, the Hospice at May Court joined with Friends of Hospice Ottawa to become Hospice Care Ottawa.

Along with palliative care, it provides assistance to family members to help them through the process and offers day programs for those with critical health issues. It has since expanded to other areas of the city.

Although the hospice now receives provincial funding — something that wasn’t the case in the past — the significant shortfall between what it receives and what it needs must be made up through fundraising and donations.

And that’s where the home tour comes in.

If you’ve never been on this home tour, it’s well worth the effort. As the biggest and most elaborate of the holiday home tours available in Eastern Ontario, it attracts some of the most beautiful homes in the city, with owners who selflessly open their homes to upwards of 2,500 strangers over three days who come to see the homes decorated in seasonal splendour.

This year there are eight homes to visit, stretching from Westboro to Rockcliffe Park and south to Manotick, and including all manner of styles from modern infills to a lovingly restored Victorian and a Cape Cod manor.

Adding to the fun is the PopUp Shop that’s back again at the residence of the Irish ambassador, offering unique handmade crafts, art, food and more, as well as the Gingerbread Village at the May Court Club where you can vote for your favourite gingerbread house.

The tour makes for a wonderful outing to share with a friend or family member; it will give you fabulous ideas for your own holiday decorating; and it’s such a worthwhile cause that it’s hard to pass up.

You can get all the details on this year’s tour here. Please help support this cause.