Red and white were the colours of the day Monday, and it wasn’t just sunburned bodies.
An estimated 6,000 to 7,000 people showed up at St. Albert’s Lions Park to celebrate Canada’s 146th birthday.
Festivities kicked off with a 9 a.m. pancake breakfast hosted by the Heritage Lakes Community Association and wound down with fireworks illuminating the night sky at 11 p.m.
Roy Bedford, a community recreation co-ordinator with the City of St. Albert, described the attendance and atmosphere of this year’s events as “phenomenal.”
“Canada Day is many events within one. It is the successful collaboration between community groups, businesses and a couple hundred volunteers,” he said. “People just come together for the good of the community, bring their talents and skills and make it happen.”
Activities were non-stop from street hockey games and a petting zoo in Lions/Millennium Park, to Morse code demonstrations at St. Albert Grain Elevator Park, homemade ice cream at Father Lacombe Chapel and a strawberry tea at St. Albert Botanic Park.
Bedford explained the city aimed to hold activities that everyone could enjoy. The number of youth involved in this year’s events was especially exciting, he said.
“Sometimes all you hear about are youth causing problems, but there are so many out there being active in the community in a positive way. The number of young men and women from 14 and 15 years old and up who came out (was) really encouraging.”
The youth music show at St. Albert Place on Monday afternoon had teens head banging, while others raced down Woodlands Drive hill for a longboard competition.
Bedford also noted the cultural diversity of volunteers and residents that attended, making Canada Day as much of a celebration for the Canadian-born as it was for newly-minted citizens.
He commended the hundreds of volunteers who prepared and ran the day’s events, as well as the efforts of public works personnel for doing the grunt work.
“Everything from face painting to that fun stuff of moving tables at 12 o’clock at night … if we didn’t have them, it would be a detriment to the event.”