Canada Day celebrations all set

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Parties popping up all over

It’s the big event that has been 145 years in the making, and it all happens tomorrow. Everywhere you turn, there’s something to do for people of all ages on Canada Day in St. Albert.

Roy Bedford, community recreation co-ordinator with the city’s recreation services department, is the person at the head of organizing all of the activities. Rather than calling it a logistical nightmare, he says it’s more like planning a really big party with a bunch of your friends.

“It is an absolute wonderful experience that takes an awful lot of effort on the part of many, many people, both some city staffers and volunteers out there and of course, the partner groups such as with the heritage sites,” he admitted.

“Yes, it’s busy and yes, there are lots of details to work out but the result is certainly worth it.”

Most citizens know what to expect as the city has the traditional spate of activities in the works, but they are all crowd pleasers. But there are some new things.

Lions Park is the site of the main event during the daytime. Bedford estimates there could be 7,000 or more people of all ages in attendance between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. Getting an exact number has always been a challenge but he’s got a plan for that too.

This year the city is going to be handing out wristbands just like the ones given out at last August’s Rendezvous 2011 picnic. They can be obtained at the main information tent or from roving volunteers offering them around the park and the other locations as well. They aren’t mandatory.

“It was a good idea. We’re using different colours for different sites. If people start, for example, at the Heritage Lakes breakfast, they’ll have a different colour. Every year, people ask us ‘how many, how many?’ and we’ve been guesstimating but we’re just trying to put some kind of hard number to it.”

This system will help them to calculate attendance at each event across the city. He anticipates that 3,000 people will be present for the Street Dance and Family Fun Night and the Battle of the Bands. That’s about the same for the heritage sites. The botanic park should see a little more than half of those figures.

“The fireworks … nobody has a clue about,” Bedford exclaimed. “You have people who are right around Seven Hills and you have people who are on the south side of the river and on the balcony of St. Albert Place and all that, so we’re not trying to count those people. I think it would just be pretty well impossible.”

He said that more than half of all of the households in the city participate in some aspect of Canada Day celebrations throughout the day. To bring those numbers up even further, he and his team of organizers have deliberately added activities to appeal to various demographic segments like the Battle of the Bands and this year’s longboard competition in Kingswood Park.

Bedford ended by giving praise to Building Assets and Memories, the group in charge of putting that competition together.

“One of the amazing things about that is it’s being planned by the youth for the youth. They’ve taken the responsibility and have had some adult support but they’re doing the work.”

Community coming together

The Heritage Lakes Community Association has been hosting its celebrations for a few years now. Co-ordinator Tim Osborne has seen the benefits of getting neighbours out of their houses and enjoying family friendly festivities in one grand display of true community.

“The whole point for our association is to give neighbours a chance to come together and build a sense of community,” he began.

“Things like the pancake breakfast are a great chance to do that. Different families with kids get to sit down and chat and share a few bites to eat. It’s just a great way for people to get to know their neighbours. The better people know one another, the stronger your community becomes. That’s very much the goal of our events.”

The HLCA hosts different events throughout the year, this being one of the largest ones on the schedule. It is open to everybody, not just residents of the Heritage Lakes neighbourhood.

“It has continually seen more and more people coming out so I think it’s become a good part of people’s Canada Day tradition here.”

Canada Day Celebrations

– Free cake and watermelon, plus live entertainment by Innovations Music
– Art Trail, Cruisin’ Clubhouse Games and KidSport street hockey
– Pedalheads for kids 12 and under (bring your bikes and helmets)
– Crafts, face painting and jumpy things
– Horse-drawn wagon rides, flight simulator and activities at the St. Albert Curling Club
– Displays by St. Albert Public Works, Fire Services and RCMP
– Hot dogs and drinks, plus other concessions available
– Free park ‘n ride from 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. at St. Albert Centre
– Second Annual Street Dance & Family Fun Night 5 to 8 p.m. on St. Anne Street. Games, crafts and dancing. Free admission.
– Battle of the Bands from 8 to 10:30 p.m. on St. Anne Street
– Fireworks by Thunder F/X at Seven Hills at 11 p.m.

Other activities around town

Father Lacombe Chapel
2 St. Vital Avenue
Tours, crafts, games, old-fashioned ice cream and lemonade, scavenger hunt, and slab cake.
Pay by donation
Noon to 4 p.m.
780-459-7663 or www.history.alberta.ca/fatherlacombe

St. Albert Botanic Park
265 Sturgeon Road
Strawberry tea
Pay by donation (suggested $5 each)
1:30 to 4 p.m.
780-458-7163 or www.stalbertbotanicpark.com

Heritage Lakes Community Association
école La Mission at 46 Heritage Drive
Kids activities including jumpy things, games (sack races, three-legged races, tug-of-war, water relay, hula hoops, face painting, sidewalk chalk drawing, and bubble blowing.
Pancake breakfast
$4 each ($3 if you bring your own cup, plate and cutlery)
9 to 11 a.m.
heritagelakes.wordpress.com

St. Albert Grain Elevators
4 Meadowview Dr
Tours, slab cake, kids crafts and games plus musical entertainment. Collect passport stamps for free Dilly Bar courtesy of DQ.
All activities free.
Noon to 5 p.m.
780-459-1528 or museeheritage.ca/heritage-sites

Art Gallery of St. Albert
19 Perron St
Square One exhibit
Free
Noon to 4 p.m.
780-460-4310 or www.artgalleryofstalbert.com

Art Gallery of St. Albert – Satellite Studio
15 Perron St
Maple Leaf Mark Making with Sarah Kelly and Caitlin Chandler. All ages can test out techniques of mark making using ink, watercolours and maple leaves.
$5 donation
Noon to 4 p.m.
780-460-4310 or www.artgalleryofstalbert.com

Woodlands Water Play Park
155 Sturgeon Road
Barbecue, bouncy castle, and enhanced activities
Free
1 to 4 p.m.
780-459-1600 or www.stalbert.ca/canada-day

Little White School House
2 Madonna Dr.
Tours of facility plus slab cake.
Free
Noon to 5 p.m.
780-459-1528 or museeheritage.ca/heritage-sites

Longboard Competition
Kingswood Park
Downhill race on one of the fastest sections of St. Albert roadways. Push race course winds along a 4-km course through the city ending at Festival Village where there will be local youth bands, food vendors and other exciting activities.
Full-face helmets and slide gloves are required; leathers or double denim are suggested.
No race experience required. Competitions open to anyone 6 to 21 year s old. Prizes in each category: Junior (6-9), Beginner (up to 21), Intermediate (up to 21), and Advanced (up to 21).
Registration before Friday $12 per race or $20 for both or on race day $22 per race or $40 for both.
Noon to 4 p.m.
780-459-1600 or www.stalbert.ca/canada-day

For more information on any activity, contact St. Albert Recreation Services at 780-459-1600 or visit www.stalbert.ca/canada-day.

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About Author

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.