Canada Day celebrations are taking place all over Westman — and all over the calendar, too.
While Brandon will host its birthday party for the country on the traditional date of July 1, the government officially recognizes Monday, July 2, as the day to blow out candles.
The Holiday Act states “when July 1 is a Sunday, July 2 is a legal holiday and shall be kept and observed as such throughout Canada under the name of ‘Canada Day.’”
Some Westman municipalities are avoiding all confusion by simply celebrating all weekend long.
The Killarney Fair kicked things off early on Friday, with chuckwagon and chariot races, a beer garden and live music.
Minnedosa joined in on the action today with Fun in the Sun at Minnedosa Beach including sandcastle building, face painting and DJs at the Pavilion Deck.
Also today, Souris is offering free swimming, a free showing of “The Avengers” and fireworks later this evening.
Not to be outdone, Boissevain is also running weekend-long festivities, with a special flag parade Sunday to celebrate new immigrants to the community.
“We were able to buy all new flags for each country,” said economic development officer Dale Banman.
Flags from 18 countries will be presented, including Australia, Scotland, England, U.S., New Zealand and South Africa.
“We introduce who they are, and they come onstage” Banman said, adding each country’s anthem will be played for 20 seconds. The Canadian flag will be the last to arrive on stage, followed by “O Canada” and “God Save the Queen” to commemorate Queen Elizabeth’s Diamond Jubilee of 60 years on the throne.
In Brandon, two recipients of the Diamond Jubilee Award will be honoured at the Riverbank Discovery Centre as part of the city’s celebrations on Sunday. Don Berry and Margaret Wedgewood will be on hand to receive the award for their lifetime of work in the community.
The award ceremony will take place before the annual duck race at the Riverbank Discovery Centre, which is finally returning to the Assiniboine River.
“We’re very excited that so far everything is a go for the duck race,” said Rachelle Levesque from the centre.
Numbered rubber ducks will be dropped in the water from a bright blue box at 4 p.m. The plastic chicks correspond with tickets sold as a fundraiser for the Assiniboine River corridor.
“We like to consider this the essential park of Brandon,” Levesque said, explaining that dike construction following last year’s flood is keeping most of the pathways closed this summer.
For city Coun. Jeff Fawcett (Assiniboine), hosting the celebrations at the dry park is a great return to a Brandon tradition.
“There’s a sense of life returning to normal,” Fawcett said. “But there’s still an enormous amount of work to do.”
Those attending Sunday’s celebrations can help by eating some summer fare at the centre’s fundraising barbecue or by taking in the new styles worn by cute models at this year’s doggie fashion show.
“We’re going to be doing more summer stuff and camping things,” said Joanne Nichols, co-owner of The Paw Resort and Wellness Centre, about the fashions. “It’s a proper program, with music and commentary.”
Nichols said breeds of “all sizes” will be strutting their looks and that while it’s a big undertaking, it’s also “a lot of fun.”
While Riding Mountain National Park is home to many animals who can’t squeeze into pooch couture, campers will most likely be seeing large numbers of people.
“We do anticipate having a lot of people, our campground is near capacity,” said Richard Dupuis, manager of visitor experience at the park.
The Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra will play today with accomplished Manitoba fiddler and singer Sierra Noble.
On Sunday, live music and a giant birthday cake are all part of the celebration, complete with fireworks at dusk.
“For all the events bring a lawn chair or blanket,” Dupuis said. “And bring smiles while you relax and enjoy the festivities.”
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition June 30, 2012