COMMENTARY – Canada prepares to celebrate 150 years in 2017

Commentary by Richard Froese

One week to go to Canada Day again and communities will gather for the big festivities.

Next year will even be bigger as communities across the region and nation celebrate the 150th anniversary since Canada was born under confederation – the sesquicentennial. Our country’s multi-cultural mosaic and history will come alive as communities mark the milestone.

Some will celebrate on the Canada Day weekend as the big bash. Others plan to stretch it out over the whole year like High Prairie which is preparing to stage a focal event every month. How will local communities build on their annual festivities to mark the big 150 next year? What events will be staged to reflect and honour the past to inspire the future?

Organizations have several months to plan for 2017 to celebrate the culture and history of Canada and the multi-ethnic mosaic that has evolved into the country’s heritage and spirit. While several hundred people leave their community and head out to the lake and campgrounds for Canada Day, others remain in their hometown and raise their true Canadian colours and pride, at events from Falher in the west, High Prairie, and Slave Lake to the east.

Anyone in the region on Canada Day will not want to miss out on any of these festivities in small communities.
Kinuso Canada Day parade and events, in conjunction with Swan River First Nations Rodeo, is locally known as a top-rate show. Kinuso is highly-renowned in the northwest as one of the best Canada Day festivities and parades as people from all over the northern part of the province show their true Canadian colours and spirit.

Nearby, the Canada Day bicycle parade in Joussard is also a big hit. Pioneer Threshermen’s Association at Triangle features an historical reflection with a parade of antique tractors, old-fashioned flour-milling and threshing. It’s just like it use to be to celebrate the festivities when it was called Dominion Day before it became Canada Day in 1982. Wherever you are, take the time to celebrate Canada Day, in your hometown or neigbouring communities, out at the lake or wherever you will be that day.

Each local region has its ethnic roots to specially spotlight. French is the flavour in the Smoky River region in Falher, McLennan, Donnelly and Girouxville. The High Prairie and Slave Lake areas have such a rich First Nations heritage, culture and presence that deserves much to celebrate.

Canada has many great assets and benefits that make this such a desired country for people to make their home. Look at all the many international cultures and languages in your region, and that shows how attractive, welcoming and, safe and secure our communities are for people of all generations. Just ask local residents who have also immigrated to Canada and Alberta and you will hear similar stories of people who welcomed the country, province and their home community.

Canada and communities of various sizes are enriched when they open their doors and welcome people from around the world. While moving to small towns is not so enticing to many Canadians, especially those who grow up in cities, immigrants love the small-town life in Canada. Without those people in our region, our local small rural communities would have significantly lower populations and would continue to struggle to be sustainable.

Happy Canada Day, and have fun with family and friends.

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