by Stephen Dafoe

The Morinville Historical & Cultural Society are organizing Canada’s sesquicentennial celebrations locally, and like the last several years, the Society is planning a big bash in St. Jean Baptiste Park.

Organizer and spokesperson Murray Knight said a big part of this year’s event would be the unveiling of the Canada 150 Mural that was designed earlier this year and made up of many individual handpainted tiles created by students and residents of the community.

“We as a group are proud, proud from the standpoint that the town allows us to do this,” Knight said of the overall festivities. “It’s well accepted by our community, enjoyed and well-attended.”

The event takes place July 1 from noon until 3 p.m. in the park, and then will move to the Ray McDonald Sports Center grounds for the annual fireworks show around 10:45 p.m. Knight said the move to the arena was now necessary due to the number of modular classrooms at Morinville Public School.

Activities in the park this year include a hot dog lunch from 12 to 1:30 p.m., and face painting, games, bouncy castles and live music from noon until 2:30 p.m. The opening ceremonies will start at 12:45 p.m. with the raising of the flag, singing of O Canada and the unveiling of the Canada 150 Mosaic Project mural at 1 p.m.

Alexander First Nation has been invited, and Knight said a student from Alexander would be assisting with the flag raising.

Knight said one addition this year was the availability of the Edmonton Transit Pipes and Drum Band, something he is pleased to see added to the event. They will perform in the church parking lot for about 20 minutes.

“For us, 150 years is a big thing,” Knight said of the excitement about hosting the event. “The venue doesn’t change – it’s in the park in downtown Morinville. We have things for kids, grandmas and grandpas, live entertainment. It’s a great party for us here in Morinville.”

Another thing that won’t change is the placing of tiny Canadian flags on every lawn in Morinville. When the initiative started, the Historical Society could only get 1700 of the little paper flags. This year, as in recent years, they have been once again able to get the 3700 needed for all homes.

“We have people. We have flags. They’ll be out there in the morning,” Knight assures. “I have people that have been doing it with us since Day One. I have two little girls that will be asking me soon where their mom’s flags are. It’s an annual event for them.”

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