Commentary – Canada Day inspires spirit of 150 years

Richard Froese

Canada Day on July 1 has come and gone for another year.
As Canada celebrates its 150th birthday in 2017, the day was probably bigger and more memorable than in many years or decades.
Canada Day suitably fell on a Saturday, so communities used that weekend day to raise the flag and the spirit of the nation.
People in communities and tourist spots from Slave Lake to Falher celebrated the special day.
The Town of High Prairie had perhaps its largest event to honour the country as an estimated 1,000 people gathered at Jaycee Park. Many longtime residents of High Prairie say it may have actually been the first Canada Day community event in memory.
However, the town may have celebrated in a big way during the centennial in 1967 when the national holiday was then known as Dominion Day.
Like many other communities, people of all ages flocked to the event for fun, food and festivities. Activities attracted and featured various ethnic cultures such as Indigenous, who all shared their Canadian spirit.
The sesquicentennial event was a partnership of the Town of High Prairie, Big Lakes County and the High Prairie and District Regional Recreation Board.
Most events like Canada Day are usually most successful when local groups and organizations join hands to raise community spirit and pride.
With that success and strong community support, organizers are optimistic about the future of Canada Day in High Prairie.
It certainly was a great day for people who attended and participated.
Other major events were held in the local regions. Kinuso may well be the Canada Day capital of the region, with a full day that features a parade and a rodeo held this year at Spruce Point Park.
Triangle is popular for anyone who wants to mark the day with a flavour of pioneer life with antique farm equipment, an old-time threshing bee, blacksmithing and flour-milling. Fireworks are a tradition in some communities to close out the day.
High Prairie continues to raise the Canadian spirit next week. Canadiana is the theme for the highly-renowned parade of the 57th annual High Prairie Elks Pro Rodeo set for Aug. 1-2.
Known as the “biggest little parade in the Peace Country”, the parade on Aug. 1 kicks off at 11 a.m.
May the spirit of the Canadian sesquicentennial inspire communities to grow Canada Day celebrations!
Special milestones like a sesquicentennial of a nation spur citizens to reflect on the past and focus on the future. Next year, Canada Day will be held on a Sunday. Some communities also use the opportunity to celebrate the faith.
Back in my home town in Agassiz, B.C. in the 1980s and 1990s, when Canada Day was on a Sunday, the day started with an outdoor service of Christian churches in the area, mostly with music and a brief message to inspire citizens.
A church service has long been on the annual schedule of events for Canada Day held at Triangle inside an old church building, no matter the day of the week.
Churches are always willing to work together to show they value and love their communities.
God keep our land glorious and free, for the next 150 years.

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