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Choose your Family Day activity

There are many options for spending time with loved ones

By: Lucy Haines

  |  Posted: Saturday, Feb 15, 2014 06:00 am

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  • GIDDY UP – Sleigh rides are one of many activities available on Family Day.
    GIDDY UP – Sleigh rides are one of many activities available on Family Day.
    FILE PHOTO/St. Albert Gazette
  • SLIP-SLIDIN' – No Family Day would be complete without some sliding around on snow or ice.
    SLIP-SLIDIN' – No Family Day would be complete without some sliding around on snow or ice.

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What are you doing Family Day? Hint: Do something with the family, hence the name.

And here’s some trivia for you to share with said family: Alberta was the first province to create the February holiday when, in 1990, Premier Don Getty decided Albertans should take a day for “family time.” Today, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, P.E.I. and now B.C. make a long weekend of it mid-month.

St. Albert residents don’t have to venture far to enjoy the day, whatever the weather. The city-sponsored Family Day event is dubbed the Fire and Ice Festival, organized for the first time by St. Albert firefighters. Lacombe Lake Park is the site of the outdoor fun, with events running from noon to 4 p.m. and up to 5,000 people expected to take part.

Other options this Family Day include a free magic show at the St. Albert Public Library (1:30 and 3 p.m.), free family activities and hot cocoa at the Little White School in Mission, and sledding at nearby Seven Hills.

The Heritage Lakes Community Association invites all city residents to the grounds around École La Mission on Heritage Drive for an afternoon of sleigh rides, games and a warm-up around the fire pit with hot chocolate and s’mores.

Association president (and city councillor) Tim Osborne expects several hundred to stop by for the long-standing family event, running from 1 to 4 p.m. on Monday.

“We’ve been doing this for years – it’s a great tradition for our community, and it doesn’t matter if it’s cold. We’re tough,” said Osborne.

If it is too darn cold, check out the St. Albert Soccer Association tournament happening throughout the day at Servus Credit Union Place. Community youth teams will keep things warmed up at this annual event.

In the spirit of connecting with family, friends and community, the City of St. Albert is encouraging residents to unplug this Family Day. Part of a larger program challenging area municipalities to take time away from their plugged-in lives, the city is encouraging people to take a walk along the trails, cross-country ski at Kingswood day-use area, have a marshmallow roast at Lions Park, or build a snow fort in their own backyard.

“We’re all so over-connected, so it’s nice to be reminded to take a day, whichever day through the weekend, to spend time with others or even yourself,” said Colleen Lamble, community development co-ordinator with the city.

“When you stop and think about how good it feels to have a simple coffee with someone, take the dog for a walk or enjoy a neighbourhood block party, maybe it will happen more throughout the year.”

Lamble said residents can log the hours spent unplugged on Tuesday, Feb. 18 at www.fcssaa.org. The city also has ballot boxes at city hall, Fountain Park Recreation Centre and Servus Place to tally the hours spent away from the TV, computer and cellphone.

“It’s a friendly competition – just for bragging rights,” Lamble said, pointing to some 22 sites involved.

“And everybody wins. It’s not about who gets the most votes, but about connecting with family and friends. Make a meal together, have a street hockey game – it doesn’t matter what it is, it’s about the sense of belonging.”


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