Canada’s big day is just around the corner and there’s a lot planned for for the sesquicentennial celebration here in Chilliwack.
Organized by the Chilliwack Community Arts Council, City of Chilliwack, and other organizations and businesses, community members will enjoy activities, live entertainment, food, and shopping in honour of our beloved country’s 150th anniversary on Saturday, July 1.
“We have attempted to add more activities and representation of community organizations to the event… tried to fill up the park so someone can stay there all day,” says Patti Lawn, executive director with the Arts Council.
They are indeed expecting a big crowd that day.
“It’s Canada’s 150 birthday. It will be fun for all of us to celebrate together. I hope everyone in Chilliwack wants to come to the birthday party,” she says.
Folks can start off their day with the Kiwanis Club Annual Pancake Breakfast, complete with music from the Chilliwack Community Band, which goes from 8 to 11 a.m. at Evergreen Hall. For $5, you get pancakes, sausages and a drink. All monies raised from the breakfast remain in Chilliwack and directly support the Special Olympics annual event.
One of the great things this year is that all of the daytime and evening activities and entertainment will be taking place in one location at Townsend Park.
From 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., enjoy free family-friendly, hands-on activities from community groups including Chilliwack School of Performing Arts, Chilliwack Players Guild, Great Blue Heron Nature Reserve Society, and interactive demonstrations by Ever After Princesses, Chilliwack Spinners and Weavers Guild, Excel Martial Arts, Chilliwack Giants Football, Chilliwack Museum and Archives, and Chilliwack Heritage Society, with a collection of good old fashioned fun, games and history.
On the Prospera Community Stage, vibrant live performances from Rosie Ribbonstar, Excel Martial Arts, Ever After Princesses, musician duo Erik and Brittany, guitarist Nilan Ritter, and other local musicians and performers will entertain children and parents alike throughout the day.
Face painting will dress up the young and young-at-heart with wearable art, bouncy castles will keep the party hopping, and food trucks featuring a selection of delicious favourites will be on-site throughout the celebrations to feed hungry eventgoers. The food truck lineup includes Tubster’s Lil Dunkers, Mr. D’s Tasty Treats, The Tin Cow, The Bannock Wagon, Lisa’s Hawt Dogs, and the Kiwanis Club.
Featuring all things local, a special pop-up market, hosted by That Local Market in honour of Canada’s big day, will welcome local producers with an array of fresh, local produce and handmade products to entice shoppers.
“I believe we are all pretty proud to be Canadian,” says Lawn. “We have a lot of energy and fun when we celebrate something we love so I believe it will be an amazing day and wonderful evening.”
In the evening, starting at 6 p.m. on the Chances Community Stage will be the opening ceremonies, the celebratory singing of O Canada, and greetings from the MP Mark Strahl, Mayor Sharon Gaetz, and Chief David Jimmie. This will be followed by the grand unveiling of the completed Canada 150 Mural Mosaic community art project.
Performers Murphy’s Lagh, Dances with Lightning, and the Korean drum line will get the celebrations started with their culturally colourful acts, alongside Nearly Neil, channeling Diamond’s vibrant style, and Canadian Idol star, Jaydee Bixby, embracing his country roots.
Headlining the stage this year are the country-proud musicians, Canadian A, with their energetic renditions of popular, uniquely Canadian favourites.
Concluding the night, at 10 p.m., the dazzling annual fireworks show will light up the night in celebration of our proud country.
One of Lawn’s favourite attractions is the fireworks display, but she is also excited about the mural.
“I am really excited for the unveiling of the Canada 150 Mural Mosaic. This was a community collaboration that we completed in April. It brought together children and adults who were not necessarily artists to paint 4×4 tiles,” she says. “People will be amazed by the finished mural. This will be permanently installed on the outside of the Landing Sports Centre.”
As a special artistic touch to Chilliwack’s Canada 150 celebrations, local Stó:lo artist, Jason Roberts, has commissioned his Coast Salish Canada 150 Design as the emblem for the historic day. Channeling a spirit of remembrance and reconciliation, Roberts hopes his artwork will inspire continued acceptance and understanding as a country. This spirited design will be proudly emblazoned across commemorative volunteer t-shirts.
People attending the festivities are asked to carpool or take public transit (free of charge), as parking is limited.
Also free of charge that day will be swimming at the Landing Leisure Centre. And at 4:15 p.m. the official opening of the new spray park outside the centre will get underway.
Those who cannot attend the evening performances or fireworks display can live stream it at home.
“It is a great way to enjoy the music and the fireworks if you can’t make it down to Townsend. It is much better live though,” says Lawn.
Anyone wishing to volunteer on Canada Day can contact the Chilliwack Community Arts Council at firstname.lastname@example.org, 604-769-2787, or the City of Chilliwack Recreation and Culture department at 604-793-2904.
For more, visit the Canada Day event page on chilliwackartscouncil.com.