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Canada Day Celebrations ~ Southeastern Ontario


by Festival Nomad, Gary McWilliams

Welcome to Canada Day in Southeastern Ontario

Canada Day is a very special day to me because it celebrates the country that I live in and love! Last year Judi and I decided to celebrate Canada Day by visiting different communities in the Cobourg area (Click HERE to read last year's article). This year we decided to do the same but travel a little farther afield. Our plan was to visit communities in and around Prince Edward County. Our first stop was along the Loyalist Parkway to the village of Wellington. As we drove into the village, there was no doubt that this day was a special to the Wellington residents! Canada flags proudly hung from street poles and houses. People wearing red and white clothing walked along sidewalks towards the village centre. As we neared the downtown area more and more people could be seen, until almost every space was filled with a sea of red and white. We drove through the town until we found a place to park. From there we walked back along the main street to try and find an vantage point to watch the parade. After a short wait, the wail of a siren could be heard off in the distance. The parade had started and was on its way!

The Big Parade...

First came the traditional police car leading the way, and then the Picton Highlanders, whose music stirred everyone's heart! The parade rolled on from there with marchers and floats. It continued to roll on until all of a sudden I saw a grey truck pulling the Wellington Rotary Club's float. Out of the passengers' window I saw my sister-in law, Flo, blowing kisses to the crowd. Actually, she had seen Judi and me and was acknowledging our presence! She and my brother, Chuck, drove merrily along and that was the last we saw of them that day. After the last parade vehicle had passed by, the crowd started to disperse.

Other Wellington Activities

There were a number of activities planned for Wellington's Canada Day Celebrations, so we decided to take some of them in. In one area, several games and live entertainment were available for the kids to enjoy . In the main park area, in front of the town gazebo, a stage had been set up for opening ceremonies and for live entertainment. Also in this area there were several vendors selling foods and goods for Canada Day visitors to enjoy. Beside the park, the United Church was offering a strawberry social while the Anglican church, across the street, was offering high tea plus crafts and a garage sale. The whole village was alive with Canada Day cheer and celebrations!

Moving On...

Our plan was to travel from Wellington and drive onto the next town which was Bloomfield. We had hoped to find similar celebrations there. Unfortunately I think most of the residents of Bloomfield had decided to do what we had done, which was to visit Wellington and enjoy their celebrations. From Bloomfield, we moved on to Picton and encountered the last part of their morning Canada Day Celebrations. "Moving on", we decided to drive to Belleville and see what their Canada Day Celebrations were like. As we drove over the Bay of Quinte bridge into Belleville, we saw that off that something was happening in the waterside park. As we drew near, hundreds of cars were on the other side of the road. They attempting to enter the park to enjoy Belleville’s celebrations. It appeared to Judi and me that Belleville were throwing a large wonderful “Birthday Bash” for its residents. With so much traffic, we decided to look for other celebrations. The next community to be visited was Stirling. Canadian flags fluttered in the wind as we drove into town. We had our windows down and could hear music from the downtown area. Canada Day Celebrations in Stirling were well underway! Our final stop on the road was Frankford. As we drove through the town, all seemed quiet. We had missed their earlier celebrations. Back in Cobourg we decided to take in the tail-end of our own community's Canada Day Celebrations. Each year the town hosts the Cobourg Waterfront Festival (Click HERE to read article). This year's event had attracted record crowds. One of the organizers told me that there had been in excess of over 70,000 people visiting the event. Judging by the crowds that were still there when we arrived, I can believe that the number was fairly accurate. Our 2010 Canada Day experience confirmed my belief that Canadians love Canada and love to celebrate its birth! I can’t wait until 2011 to see how other communities celebrate Canada Day!