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This article was published 3/7/2017 (1009 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
From a Syrian family spending their first holiday on Canadian soil, to the union of Mr. and Mrs. Canada, Canada 150, and Brandon’s 135, was one for the history books.
The Riverbank Discovery Centre hosted people from all over southwestern Manitoba who came into Brandon for the weekend’s festivities.
Mayor Rick Chrest greeted patrons at the event on the afternoon of July 1, and expressed his gratitude for Canada and Brandon on this special double anniversary.
"I find it neat that a mere 15 years after Confederation, Brandon became a city," Chrest said.
He emphasized that Brandon never held village or town status, but was deemed a city from the very beginning.
Taking in the sunshine and festivities was Chris Macdonald, along with the Hami family.
The family is new to Brandon from Syria; one of 14 refugee families settled in Brandon in the past year. They’ve recently been adopted by St. Matthew’s Cathedral.
The church of which Macdonald is a part has been helping the family access necessities since they immigrated to Canada approximately three months ago.
Macdonald had recently offered his back yard garden for the family to plant vegetables and work on together.
"They enjoy it here very much," Macdonald said. "They are tremendously happy about the reception they’ve had, and what’s been done for them here."
The family, all hard at work on their English skills, are thrilled to be in Canada, Macdonald said. Ahmed, 8, and Mustafa, 13, are practising English at school. Hamoud, 17, and Yasmin, 21, are learning English with their parents at Westman Immigrant Services.
Although they aren’t able to communicate in English yet, parents Mahmoud Hami and Adla Manla Ali offered snacks to anyone who came to sit and visit at their picnic blanket.
Celebrating his second Canada Day, Sunday Obayopo from Nigeria said Manitoba lives up to its licence plate slogan.
"Being what we have on the licence plate, ‘Friendly Manitoba,’ I think it has been a nice place to be," Obayopo said.
He hopes more of his friends and family from Nigeria will make the move to Canada.
"All my friends home. Canada is nice place to be," Obayopo said.
The chance to exhibit his potential, and live a comfortable, safe life are some of Obayopo’s favourite things about Canada.
Throughout the day, the Riverbank Discovery Centre offered cultural performances and displays, children’s activities, a family stage, duck race, a living Canada flag, fireworks and a free show by country band Doc Walker.
Main stage entertainment included Commonwealth Air Training Plan Museum fly past, an indigenous showcase, The 204 and the Prairie Steppers.
Also taking in the Canada Day events was Jannette Francisco, who immigrated to Canada a year and a half ago. She and her family are from the Philippines, but they immigrated to Canada from Singapore, where they had been working.
"So far it’s been very accommodating here in terms of the people we came across," Francisco said.
She noticed there has been a lot of jobs available in health care, and said she hopes to become a licensed practical nurse.
"We actually look forward to retiring here," Francisco said. "I would like to invite all my friends in the Philippines to come to Canada. It is so friendly and safe."
It’s a privilege to witness citizenship ceremonies each time, and to see the joy on someone’s face as they become a citizen of our great country, Chrest said.
"There was one about three weeks ago in conjunction with the Provincial Exhibition Summer Fair," Chrest said. "And that day we made 150, coincidental number, new Canadians that day."
There’s few things he gets to do in his job that make him more emotional than a citizenship ceremony, Chrest said.
On Saturday afternoon, Alycia and Curtis Canada of Boissevain tied the knot in Brandon at St. Augustine of Canterbury Church, making them Mr. and Mrs. Canada.
The couple met through mutual friends back in 2012, and went on their first date on Canada Day of that year.
"He picked the date," Alycia said. "He said if we’re getting married, it has to be on Canada 150."
"The people and the benefits of the country we live in are just great," Curtis said.
In addition to a Canada 150 wedding, Bryce Emerson and Kendra Crooks welcomed a baby girl at the Brandon Regional Health Centre on Saturday morning.
Elizabella Emerson shares her birthday with Canada 150.
» The Brandon Sun