News Release – Forget the fall colours — ODEN’s Light It Up campaign is turning Ontario purple and blue for one historic night to mark NDEAM

October 15, 2020 — On October 22, the lights on 26 structures including city and town halls, buildings, interactive municipal signs and landmarks, in 15 Ontario cities and towns, will be lit purple and blue for one night.

The co-ordinated light show, dubbed Light It Up, is in recognition of National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM), and the many ways people who have a disability contribute to businesses and communities across Ontario, and help companies be successful and competitive.

It will be a first-ever in Canada for and during NDEAM, which was started in the United States in 1946.

Landmarks being lit purple and blue include the iconic Canada Life building in Toronto; Welland Bridge 13 over the canal; the CN Tower; Niagara Falls; the Belleville Bay Bridge; Penman’s Dam in Paris, ON; the new municipal sign in Timmins; and the city halls in Sarnia, London, Brampton, Toronto and Kingston.

Light It Up has also catapulted over provincial borders, with business participation in
St. John’s, NL.

Light It Up was a new initiative added this year to our flagship annual NDEAM awareness campaign,” explains Jeannette Campbell, CEO of the Ontario Disability Employment Network (ODEN). “The response from, and participation by, so many businesses, organizations, municipalities and our members, has been incredible.”

“ODEN and our members, are proud and thrilled about pioneering this landmark event,” says Campbell, “especially in a year that inclusive hiring has taken on more significance than ever.”

The Light It Up initiative began with ODEN submitting special lighting requests for three places: Niagara Falls, Welland Bridge 13 and the CN Tower. “It just grew so quickly after that,” says Campbell. “We were getting acceptances for every request. That’s when we knew we had something great and needed to get our members — and everyone else — involved, because collectively we can Light Up Ontario; collectively we have impact. Creating a positive impact on employment rates for people who have a disability is why ODEN exists.”

Within days, ODEN and its member organizations built up Light It Up, taking to social media with the hashtag #LightItUp1022, encouraging businesses to participate, and people to request special purple and blue lighting wherever it’s possible in their local communities. ODEN also created a public relations kit for people to download and use to promote Light It Up.

Campbell adds, “We’re grateful for the NDEAM participation and support of all the municipalities, organizations and companies taking part in Light It Up. The amount of participation reflects that many businesses and communities consider inclusive hiring an important issue. It helps keep the conversation about the benefits of inclusive hiring going, and that’s the really important thing.” 

Most locations participating in Light It Up will be lit purple and blue from dark (approximately 6 p.m.) on October 22, to 7:30 a.m. on October 23.

Niagara Falls will be specially lit for 15 minutes starting at approximately 10 p.m.

The CN Tower will be lit purple and blue for NDEAM for 18 minutes at the top of every hour starting at 6 p.m., in rotation with colour changes recognizing two other events, throughout the night of October 22.

Welland Bridge 13 will be lit purple and blue from 6 p.m. to midnight on October 22.

Campbell hopes Light It Up will motivate more businesses to be proactive and intentional about inclusive hiring, and take the long-term view about the business benefits, even amidst the coronavirus pandemic.

“We’ve come a long way, but there’s still more to do so that everyone can fully contribute to their community and the economy,” she says. “Lack of access to employment is still a major barrier for people who have a disability.”

She explains, “Right now, many businesses aren’t thinking about the future as they wrestle with immediate challenges in the coronavirus pandemic, but it’s important for them to take the long view. Some jobs have gone away and may never come back; in other sectors new jobs are being created; and many sectors are facing a labour shortage over the next 10 years. Expanding their base of candidates by seeking out qualified people who have a disability, helps businesses fill needed roles and stay competitive in the long term.”

Campbell calls having Niagara Falls, and the CN Tower, lit up purple and blue for NDEAM “incredibly significant and exciting.”

“They’re both iconic landmarks. On top of that, Niagara Falls represents an international community. The light of The Falls will recognize the community and workplace contributions of people on both sides of the border. And in many ways, the CN Tower represents Canada and Canadians. It’s great to have the tower lighted for this one night to celebrate all Canadians who have a disability, and what they bring to their workplaces and communities across the country.”

**Editors Please Note**: The list of participating Light It Up locations, as of October 13, is included at the end of this release.

For more information, and to arrange interviews

Contact Us

Dave Bennett, Xposure PR

Dean Askin, Communications Strategist, ODEN

About ODEN:

The Ontario Disability Employment Network (ODEN), created in 2008, is a professional body of more than 130 employment service providers united to increase employment opportunities for people who have a disability. Members are from every corner of the province and support people of all disability types. Beyond Ontario, ODEN ( has connections with organizations in other provinces and territories of Canada.

List of Light It Up Locations

The cities, organizations and locations participating in Light It Up in recognition of NDEAM on October 22 are:

  • Amherstburg (Town of Amherstburg) — Town Hall
  • Belleville (City of Belleville) — Belleville Bay Bridge
  • Brampton (City of Brampton) — Clock Tower at City Hall
  • Hamilton (City of Hamilton) — Hamilton Signature Sign at City Hall
  • Kingston (City of Kingston, Queen’s University) — City Hall Façade and Springer Market Square; Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts
    • Kenora — Kenora Association for Community Living Offices
  • London (City of London, RBC, Canada Life, Sifton Properties) — City Hall, Fountain at the Forks, J.A. Taylor Building, Canada Life London headquarters building, RBC London Place, Sifton Properties building
  • Niagara Falls (Niagara Parks) — The Horseshoe Falls
  • Paris (Town of Paris) — Penman’s Dam on the Grand River
  • Sarnia (City of Sarnia) — City Hall
  • John’s NL (M&M Properties Ltd.)M&M Properties, Airport Auto Tech Ltd., Mirmazing Nails and Beauty, Dazzling You, Enviroblu Inc., Puffin Bins Inc., Jamaica Taste NL, Ossetra Iceberg Cosmeceuticals, Scrub Er Down Extreme Auto Detailing Ltd., Essence of Life Accupuncture, Kulcha Barbershop
  • Timmins (Timmins Museum National Exhibition Centre) — Interactive “Timmins” sign in front of the centre
  • Toronto (City of Toronto, Canada Life, Canada Lands Company, Greater Toronto Airports Authority) — Canada Life Building, 300 University Avenue; City Hall Towers, 3-D Toronto sign at Nathan Phillips Square, CN Tower, Toronto Pearson International Airport control tower
  • Welland (Welland Downtown BIA) — Welland Bridge 13 over the canal
  • Windsor (City of Windsor) — City Hall