Sunday, February 25, 2024

This Weekend We Celebrate Being Canadian

No matter where you are in this municipality over the coming weekend you are bound to see an abundance of red and white as the Municipality of Meaford joins the rest of this nation to celebrate Canada Day.

From urban Meaford, to Bognor and Annan, there will be no shortage of fun to be found, no matter your interests.

In this municipality, the fun begins in Annan on Friday, June 30, at the ball diamond when the Annan community holds their annual Canada Day bash, which will include fireworks, something you won’t find at the urban Meaford celebrations.

Fireworks will also be part of Bognor’s annual Canada Day celebrations, on Saturday, July 1, but not before an evening of fun at the Bognor Park and the community centre. According to organizer Gary Shute, this year you can expect live music, games for young and old, along with their traditional classic car display, and of course a food booth operated by the local 4H Club. The fun begins at 6:30 p.m., and the cost is $10 per family.

For those opting to celebrate in the urban area, Canada Day will be filled with a host of activities and entertainment throughout the day.

As has become the tradition, Canada Day begins with the big pancake breakfast hosted by the Military Family Resource Centre and Meaford Rotary Club, from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m.

After you have filled up on pancakes, you will find a range of activities including an inflatable obstacle course, axe throwing, and canoe tours. There will also be a number of food and other vendors to explore.

Mayor Ross Kentner will open the ceremonies with Indigenous drumming and a flag raising at the harbour entrance flagpole.

Music lovers will want to find their way to the Rotary Harbour Pavilion, where local musicians will be performing beginning at 9 a.m. through to 6:30 pm. The Rotary Club will also be hosting a barbeque and a beer garden will be hosted by the Kinsmen Club.

At 12:45, the big attraction for this year’s Canada Day celebrations will be an air show performed by Gord Price of the Dam Pub. The 81-year-old pilot has been performing air shows since 1976, and his airborne antics are sure to thrill the crowd.

For the full event itinerary, visit www.meaford.ca/CanadaDay

All of the fun aside, Canada Day is not just a big party, though that is certainly the fun of it. It is also a day on which we might reflect on the good fortune we have received simply by being able to call Canada home, whether we were born here, or chose to move here from afar in search of a safe place to call home.

I have seen enough of this planet first-hand to know that in spite of our problems (some real, some perceived), we are fortunate indeed to live in one of the safest, wealthiest nations on Earth.

I have written before that, though I love this country, and there is nowhere else I would rather live, I’m not the most outwardly patriotic person. Not that I don’t feel fortunate to live here, I certainly do, but expressions of patriotism have always felt awkward to me, as it is a form of bragging that I have never really understood, since a simple stroke of fortune could have meant I was born in Lithuania or Argentina. I played no role in having been born here, and I take no credit for the state of this fine nation, so what am I to brag about?

That said, I have had the pleasure of exploring many corners of this planet, having visited some 25 or more countries on five continents, and without question there is nowhere else I would rather call home. We have it pretty good here in Canada, better than most of us realize, from universal healthcare, to the relative safety of our communities, to the many freedoms we enjoy, and for that we should certainly be thankful, and if being thankful to you means flying the red and white, or maybe even wearing a funny red hat, then go for it.

There is much to love about this country, not the least of which is the beautiful land itself, stolen from its rightful inhabitants, on that we can all agree. But few nations have a lily-white history, and the birth of our nation came with its own historical horrors, that in modern times we acknowledge, and attempt to reconcile in our minds. While we are celebrating our good fortune to call Canada home, I do think it is appropriate to take some time to reflect on our history, and the indigenous inhabitants of this land.

In my more than half century I have had the good fortune to live in three of our provinces – Ontario of course, as well as northern Manitoba when I was a child, and the Fraser Valley region of British Columbia in the ’90s. No matter where I have lived in this country, there have been beautiful natural landscapes right outside my back door. Whether it be the mountains in the west, or the lakes in Manitoba, or the Georgian Bay region where I have resided for the past 18 years, with its forests and farmland along with its stunning shorelines, you really can’t beat Canada for its clean, natural beauty.

So, Happy Canada Day, have some fun, enjoy some good food and entertainment, watch some fireworks, and take a moment to reflect on why this nation is worth celebrating, and how fortunate we are to call this country home.

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