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    Categories: Entertainment

A full day of national fun

Canada Day concert-goers pose for a photo at St. Albert Place.

The country seems to be doing okay for itself, even at a cool 149 years of age. I guess it’s time we threw a party that would make everyone say that they’re proud to be Canadian.

Canada Day is Friday and St. Albert is going to celebrate. From 9 a.m. till past the time when the sun goes down, there will lots of things to do and one big reason to do it. ‘Canada’ means ‘village’ after all so its birthday should be all about getting everyone in the village, town or city out to join in the festivities together.

That will likely make for a well-attended party from till dusk, said Jody Mather, the president of the Heritage Lakes Community Association.

“I think it’s just the sense of community that people like being part of on Canada Day.”

Things kick off from 9 to 11 a.m. with the Heritage Lakes pancake breakfast. Mather suggested that people popping by the park near Ă©cole la Mission (on Heritage Drive) might enjoy the least crowded opportunity for people to put on their red and white attire and wave a few flags.

“They’ve been increasingly popular. We’ve always done pretty well,” she said, noting that there have been a few years when the crowd swelled past the point of food supplies coming hot off the griddle. She added that a few extra volunteer hands would be much appreciated for the event.

A plate of pancakes goes for $4 but people can bring their own plate and fork to get a dollar discount. With all of those syrupy calories safely consumed, one can then proceed to go about the day expending them. Mather suggested that the site always has been a popular kick-off for the younger attendees.

“I think the bouncy house is always a highlight especially because we don’t have big lineups. The kids don’t have to wait too long to do the parachute games or the bouncy house.”

It’s open to everyone too, not just those who live in the neighbourhood.

From there, people can head on down to Riel Park for an afternoon full of more fun. Daniele Podlubny, community recreation manager with the city, suggested that people take the St. Albert Transit shuttle service as parking will be quite limited at Rotary Park located at the end of Rodeo Drive just in between the rugby club and the Kinsmen grounds.

“We’re expecting in the thousands,” she stated, suggesting that not even the threat of inclement weather can keep the masses away from a community shindig.

Walking and biking in are also encouraged. Cranky’s Bikes will have a check-in station available.

She said that there would be a whole bunch of activities for people to enjoy once they do get down there, including more bouncy houses, obstacle courses and other family fun.

“We’ll have face painting, plus some of our sport partners will have some canoe and kayak rides and playing football. And we’ll have crafts and a petting zoo.”

Snacks and treats will be handed out but food trucks will be available for those who want other fare. Food bank donations are also accepted and encouraged. The event runs rain or shine till 5 p.m. and includes a slate of performances to entertain the revelers.

There are a number of other activities at various sites around town too. People can have strawberry tea and enjoy more entertainment at the St. Albert Botanic Park from 1 to 4 p.m., free tours (plus old-timer crafts and ice cream) at the Father Lacombe Chapel from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., and other activities and entertainments at the Michif Institute/Métis Living Museum, Grain Elevator Park and the Little White School House from noon to 4 p.m.

The performances continue at St. Albert Place and run from 7 p.m. until 10:30 p.m. The day caps off with the main event: the fireworks display. Weather permitting, that spectacular extravaganza will commence at 11 p.m. from Mission Park.

Scott Hayes: Scott Hayes joined the St. Albert Gazette in 2008. Scott writes about the arts, entertainment, movies, culture, community groups, and charities. He also writes general news, features, columns and profiles on people.