Canada Day fun, minus the fireworks


Christian Gammon-Roy


Another Canada Day celebration has come and gone in West Nipissing. This year’s event saw a return to last year’s format and partnership between the municipality and Dream Catchers youth theatre troupe, but added some new collaborations too. Once again, the day featured an indoor marketplace inside the Sturgeon Falls arena, which ran from 11am to 4pm, and a community concert in the evening from 6pm to 9pm. However, notable additions for this year were the inclusions of a 3-on-3 mixed basketball tournament hosted by Game On Sports, face painting and balloon sculpting by Tickled Teals Entertainment, as well as various musical guests, all just outside the arena.

Sadly, the traditional fireworks display had to be postponed due to a provincial fire ban. However that did not deter families from coming out and having fun. Organizers say it wasn’t possible to get an exact count due to so many simultaneous activities, “but at first glance we probably had around (…) 1,000 people. We are very happy with the turnout,” beams Catherine Levac-Lafond, Community Development Officer with the Municipality of West Nipissing.

“We love working with community partners, and Dream Catchers is no exception! Their energy and willingness to pull up their sleeves and put in the work is remarkable,” acknowledges Levac-Lafond. In fact, after the success of last year, she and the youth theatre troupe began meeting right away to start on this year’s festivities. That will be the plan again this year. “We are planning a post-event meeting in upcoming weeks and will be discussing future partnership possibilities,” she notes, hoping to grow the event more going forward.

In addition to local partnerships, this year’s Canada Day celebrations benefited from financial assistance from the federal government. In a July 27th press release from Nickel Belt M.P. Marc Serré’s office, the government announced $27,900 in funding towards Canada Day projects in his riding. The Municipality of West Nipissing was given $7,000 for local celebrations. “Canada Day is an important time to reflect, celebrate and spend time with family. The Canada Celebrates funding continues to support annual events that people of all ages look forward to. Thank you to volunteers and community partners for all the planning,” Serré declared.

When asked about when the fireworks might happen, Levac-Lafond advises residents to stay tuned. “The Municipality anticipates showcasing the fireworks later this year, but no date has been set at this time. A communication will come out later this Summer announcing the date,” she says, adding that the number one concern is public safety. In future, the municipality may even consider a different type of display – one that doesn’t present a fire hazard or unnerve pets and local wildlife. “We will continue to work with our local fire department and keep up to date with what other municipalities are offering to assess public safety,” concludes Levac-Lafond.

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