Wasn’t that a party? Huge crowds celebrate Canada 150

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Across South Niagara Canada 150 Committees were enjoying the fruits of their hard labour as huge crowds came out at every event to celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday.

“What a wonderful day,” Fort Erie Mayor Wayne Redekop said after the parade in Ridgeway. “I can’t remember having parades in Ridgeway in the past, except those associated with the Battle of Ridgeway.”

“It’s significant that we held this Canada 150 event here, the Fenian Raids and the Battle of Ridgeway in June 1866 was one of the major catalyst behind Canadian Confederation,” he said.

“This is a tremendous event that has been put together by a small group of people,” he said. “Mark Wilkie and John Hill are to be commended for taking this on.”

“The place is packed and people are enjoying themselves on this fun-filled weekend,” he said.

“It’s just been outstanding,” John Hill, co-chair of the Canada 150 Committee for the Ridgeway event said. “There’s a great crowd, the weather held off.”

“The Geronimo Skydiving Team came in with the big Canadian flag without a hitch,” he said. “What a great way to celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday, right here in Ridgeway, where it all began.”

“I’m just thankful for a sunny day, the rain held off for the parade and the opening festivities,” Mark Wilkie chair of the Canada 150 Committee for the event in Ridgeway said.

“It’s been a long hard year of planning and it looks like we are having a really successful day,” he said. “This is terrific, I am overwhelmed, I am really happy.”

Pelham Mayor Dave Augustyn was ecstatic with the day’s celebrations in Pelham.

“I am absolutely delighted with the day with the turn out by the community, “ Mayor Augustyn said before the annual parade.

“It’s such strong turnout here to celebrate Canada’s 150,” he said.  “I’m so very thankful for the volunteers, the hard work that they have done in organizing this and all the sponsors too.”

“It’s also a great time to reflect on our community and the benefits and wonderful things that we have in our community and our country,” he said. “It’s important for us to pause to reflect and be thankful for all the wonderful things we have in Canada, the best country in the world.”

In Welland, the City of Welland and the Welland Downtown BIA partnered up to present the Canada 150 event in downtown Welland.

“It’s completely amazing,” Welland Downtown BIA executive director Stephanie Hicks said. “The numbers are incredible. It’s way bigger than last year.”

“It’s been a great event, it has far surpassed our expectations,” she said. “The weather held out.”

Although there was a rain towards dinner time between the end of the Talent Showcase, the rain didn’t last for long and the place was packed again for The Kings Concert.

“We couldn’t have done this without all the volunteers,” City of Welland community development coordinator Sarah Ane said. “We have a ton of volunteers helping out here and a ton of seasonal staff helping out on the waterway. They have been working non-stop today making sure everyone has a good time. We just couldn’t do it without them.”

“The Canada 150 Committee has done an amazing job on the Talent Showcase too,” she said.

The stands were packed all afternoon as people watched all the finalist compete.

The results were announced before the concert, for results see the story: https://eriemedia.ca/wellands-top-talent-miss-dars-school-dance/ .

Welland MPP Cindy Forster was at several events throughout the region on Saturday.

“It’s been incredible,” Forster said. “Every event, very successful, lots of people having fun.”

In Port Colborne Optimist Club president Janet Pilon was grateful for the weather.

“I thanked monther nature on facebook today,” Pilon said. The Port Colborne Optimist Club were the organizers for Port Colborne’s event.

“Mother nature is on our side, there is a lot of people already enjoying everything, we have a lot of vendors, crafters ponyrides, hayrides, facepainting and jumpers,” she said. “There is lots of entertainment on the stage and it seems like everyone is really enjoying themselves.”

“It is an exciting July 1st, it is a sea of red and white here just as it is on Parliament Hill,” Port Colborne Mayor John Maloney said at the event.  “People are having a very informal great time and really just enjoying it.”

Regional Chair Alan Caslin spoke highly of Port Colborne and was happy to be there on this special day.

“Port Colborne is my favourite place in Niagara,” he said.  “I love coming here you have the lakefront, what a beautiful day.  It is Canada’s 150th Birthday, what a great way to spend it.”

MP Vance Badawey reminded us that while it is about a nation, it is also about every Canadian.

“This is what it is all about, we are celebrating people,” Badawey said. “Every single person here in this park, it is their birthday, it is Canada’s Birthday.

At Wainfleet’s event Mayor April Jeffs was very excited about Saturday’s turnout.

“We are very excited, when we turned the corner and saw all the people and the kids lined up, it was fabulous and it reminded me of the fall fair,” Mayor Jeffs said.  “And when we came into the arena and saw all of the people, it is almost full and all of the people outside and all of the neighbours and seasonal residents. It is great to see everyone here.”

All the hard work of each municipality’s Canada 150 committees paid off, each event in South Niagara was successful, people of all ages enjoyed themselves at the different venues.

Happy 150th Birthday Canada.



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