By Stephen Dafoe
Morinville – Red and white will be proudly displayed July 1 when the Morinville Historical and Cultural Society raise the flag in honour of Canada’s 146th birthday. After an absence of many years, the society took on a community Canada Day celebration in Morinville’s centennial year. That celebration grew in 2012, and is schedule to increase again this year.
Although the event has grown in size and participation, organizer Murray Knight says patriotism and a sense of community remains at its core. “We as Canadians should be 146 years proud of our country and our flag, what it stands for and our stature in the world as a country,” Knight said. “This all starts at home, in our houses, in our schools, in our communities and – most of all – with us.”
Knight said the society is proud to be part of Canada Day and ensuring all citizens are aware of our past as a community, how the country evolved, and the work effort and sacrifices forefathers had to put up with, to achieve what the nation has today. “In today’s fast-paced society we seem to forget where we came from but to continue going forward we can never forget,” Knight said. “As for myself, I am very proud to be a Canadian, proud of my family’s effort to help make this country what it is today.”
Remembering Canada’s history and enjoying what it means to be Canadian will once again unfold itself in St. Jean Baptiste Park, where the event began again three years ago with a modest picnic in the park, the raising of the flag, and the singing of the National Anthem.
“I think we have moved forward by more members of the community becoming involved, coming out to partake in the event,” Knight said, adding throughout the years a simple gesture has kept the event truly Canadian. “The one thing that stands out in my mind is the planting of our flag on the lawns of the residents of the Town of Morinville. In 2011 we placed over 1,700 flags. In 2012 we placed over 3,000 flags, and this year we will be out placing them again. This action has generated very positive feedback from residents and visitors to our community and I believe it has helped to raise the profile of this event and our organization in our community.”
While residents will look to the ground for the opening message of Canada Day 2013, the evening will be marked for the first time with fireworks. “Every year I get calls on how come we don’t have fireworks, and the answer is very simply money,” Knight said, adding this year the society was able to have fireworks funding from Canadian Heritage, the Town of Morinville and members of Morinville’s business community. “As we all know volunteers are very important in making events and programs happen in our communities, but we as citizens seem to forget the members of the business community for all the monies they donate [so] these things can happen.”
The event starts at noon with an old-fashioned picnic in the park. Opening ceremonies will start at 12:45 p.m., followed by the raising of the flag and the singing of O Canada in English and French at 1 p.m. Cake, ice cream and watermelon will be served following the ceremonies. Children’s activities, including face painting and bouncy castles will take place alongside musical entertainment and games from noon until 2:30 p.m. Closing ceremonies and prize giveaways will take place at 3 p.m. The day will conclude with a fireworks display around 10:45 p.m.
Knight said between 70 and 80 volunteers will take part in putting on Canada Day in the park this year.
Below is a schedule of events and times.