Canada 150 parties bring the community together

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Don’t just wave your Canadian flag this year but instead, get out and celebrate the country’s 150th anniversary with your friends and neighbours.

St. Albert is all set to celebrate Canada’s sesquicentennial with roses, maple trees and block parties.

Sometime in the next two weeks 4,000 Canadian Shield rose bushes will arrive in St. Albert. Many of those roses will be distributed free of charge and even planted by members of the Canada 150 team members. The catch is you must host a block party.

One rose will be given to the block party host, and planted, as a thank you for organizing the event. In addition one special 150th anniversary rose will be given to each participating household resident, for them to plant themselves.

The Canadian Shield roses are hardy, Egar-Lee said and were grown especially for the sesquicentennial celebrations by Sunstar in Quebec. As part of her job as the Canada 150 ambassador, she learned how to correctly plant these scarlet-coloured roses.

“Say you have 25 houses taking part in the block party. My team and I will arrive and show you how to plant the roses and the other 24 houses each get their own rose,” said Rhonda Egar-Lee.

Egar-Lee anticipated that the rosy promise will increase the number of block parties held within St. Albert. Last year 132 registered block parties took place. This year the goal is for 150 events and the roses will be handed out on a first-come, first-served basis.

“As soon as you register how many people will be at the block party, we will set aside that many roses,” Egar-Lee said.

The rose bushes and Autumn Blaze maple trees, which will be distributed to each St. Albert elementary school, are possible through a $25,000 grant received from CN EcoConnexions and Communities in Bloom.

“As well, we will be planting a substantially larger legacy tree in September,” Egar-Lee said, adding that the location for the larger tree has not been decided yet.

Some 150th anniversary events are already underway. The final date for submissions to the 150 Canada Song Writing Contest is May 11. In addition, elementary-aged school children have been working with their teachers to write small stories about what Canada’s national anthem means to them. A children’s picnic will be held June 9 and at that time the young winning writers will be recognized.

“June 7 we will have a Seniors’ High Tea at the Red Willow Seniors Club. There is no charge, but there are seats for 80 and pre-registration is required,” Egar-Lee said.

Canada Day on July 1 will be celebrated with special flair this year and throughout the summer the Canada 150 committee will help community groups as they pay tribute to the anniversary, Egar-Lee said.

“Our role is to act as 150th ambassadors at other events, such as the St. Albert Minor Baseball Association Tailgate Party July 16.”

The biggest city-planned event happens September 8, with a huge communal block party on St. Anne Street.

“This will be the day to say, ‘We are St. Albert!’ It will be the largest block party in our history with live music and food trucks,” Egar-Lee said, as she explained that the final details of this party are still being planned.

Overall the goal is to help communities be more connected as they celebrate Canada’s 150th year legacy.

“Events such as the block parties add a sense of community. And the song-writing and the collection of stories that are told by the children and the seniors are all part of that legacy,” Egar-Lee said.

For more information about Canada’s 150th anniversary celebrations in St. Albert or to register for a block party, visit stalbert.ca/Canada 150

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About Author

Susan Jones has been a freelance writer for the St. Albert Gazette since 2009, following a 20-year career at the St. Albert Gazette. Susan writes about homes, gardens, community events and people.