By Stan Ashbee
Sunny South News
Happy Birthday Canada! Being Canadian is something to celebrate each and every day but on July 1 Canadians take to their respective communities to come together to raise a little heck (Trooper-style) with an emphasis on being Canadian.
For those not initiated with the ways of the Canuck — many Canadians do indeed enjoy double doubles, beer, eat poutine, slather maple syrup on pancakes and the like, wear toques (in the winter) and many Canadians from birth are born with skates and play hockey. Yes, these are stereotypes, but being Canadian — Canadians simply are courteous, thankful and a peaceful sort, so they will simply nod their heads and say, “That’s OK, eh.”
From Bob and Doug Mackenzie to The Tragically Hip to Wayne Gretzky to Michael J. Fox — Canadians kick butt. Canada Day is a day to celebrate all the great reasons for wearing the red and white with a maple leaf proud. Many communities in the county and southern Alberta will be holding a variety of parties and community/family fun-filled events.
In Picture Butte, the brand new Recreation and Culture Committee is presenting a Canada Day Party in the Park 2015 at Lions Park. This inaugural event for the community group promises a great afternoon of music and family fun from 4-9 p.m. “There’s a live music stage. We’re going to have bands starting at 4 p.m.,” said committee member Christy Godlonton, which will feature local musicians and a mixture of music. The following is a live concert schedule for the Picture Butte Party in the Park: 4-4:30 p.m. PBHS Band, 4:30-5 Rachel and Marissa, 5-5:30 Karma Quartet, 5:30-6 Mackenzie McCloud, 6-6:30 Dan Fisher, 6:30-7 Butler Sisters, 7-7:30 Teresa Craig and The Gang, 7:30-8 Marie, Jackie and Kyle, and 8-8:30 The Subpar Musicians (Reiter Brothers).
Godlonton said there will also be horseshoes and volleyball for the adults, along with a bunch of fun games and activities for the kids including face painting and temporary tattoos. The activities and events are free.
“We’re also doing food, as well. We’re doing a hot dog and a pop or a water and a bag of chips for $4 per person,” noted Godlonton, adding the funds from the food deal will go to the committee in order to fund future events.
Coming up in August, Godlonton added, the committee will be hosting a movie night in the park during the town’s Jamboree Days. “The funding will go to put that on.”
Godlonton hopes this event will grow bigger and better each year. Currently, the committee has between 10-15 members and is always looking for new members to join. The committee is also planning on putting together a Farmers’ Market.
The Town of Coaldale is also hosting a few activities around the community. The following is an interview with Arts and Culture Co-ordinator Alysha Smith.
1. What are your thoughts on the Canada Day celebrations in town?
Smith: We’re very excited for this year’s event. We’re running the second annual Coaldale Cultural Amazing Race. We’ve got a free barbecue and Canada Day cake, and we’ve got Canada crafts happening and most exciting we’ll be making ice cream. We’re also celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Canadian Flag with a craft where everyone can add onto our Coaldale Canada flag, which will be on display at the Gem of the West Museum for the rest of the summer. It’s important to showcase our Coaldale within Canada. The museum will be open and admission is free for the day. We’ve decided to hold the event at the museum to get more people into the museum — it really illustrates Coaldale’s history within Canada, so I couldn’t think of a better place to hold our celebrations. We’ll have the pool open for free swim from 1-3 p.m. and hopefully everyone takes advantage of this, as it looks to be a warm July 1.
According to Smith, the Coaldale Cultural Amazing Race will begin at the Gem of the West Museum at 10 a.m. with the rest of the celebrations including the barbecue, cake, crafts, ice cream and more to begin at 11 a.m. — also at the Gem.
2. Why do you think it is important for communities to come together to celebrate Canada Day?
Smith: It really fosters a sense of belonging. We all might have varying ethnic, religious and cultural backgrounds, but one thing we all are is Canadian and it’s excellent to be able to celebrate that in a community that is wonderfully diverse. It’s also a great way for families and friends to spend some time together doing something fun.
3. Who is involved with making the Canada Day events happen?
Smith: The town is running the events with special volunteer help from Mayor Kim Craig, some members of council and local community members including members of the Coaldale Youth Action Committee. We’ve had a great response from local businesses to help us make the Amazing Race successful, so I’d just like to take the time to thank everyone who is either volunteering their time to help with the race or the celebrations. Canada Day wouldn’t be as exciting without you.
Smith added she is very excited for the opportunity to be co-ordinating the Canada Day celebrations this year. “I hope to see everyone out to celebrate,” said Smith.