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Happy Canada Day

Updated: Jul 6, 2023

Last Saturday, I had the privilege of emceeing the Port Perry Canada Day festivities in beautiful Palmer Park. Needless to say, aside from a bit of rain, the day was fantastic. For those of you who missed it, here are a few of the highlights.

The festivities began with the traditional Vets in Vettes (Corvettes) parade. A number of car enthusiasts, who own (mostly vintage) corvettes, drove along the parade route with passengers, who are veterans of our armed services. Marching bands and service groups hiked along, and the entire parade paid special tribute to those who gave so much.

The opening ceremonies, of course, held in the gazebo, featured dignitaries from Durham Region and Scugog Township. It was especially memorable this year because our Member of Parliament, Erin O’Toole, is retiring. I had an opportunity to speak about his career and how much he has done for the people of Scugog, regardless of political views. Our Member of Provincial Parliament, Todd McCarthy, was also on hand to talk about how wonderful our town is. Regional Chair John Henry took time from his busy schedule to join our celebration. The first speaker was Chief Kelly LaRocca, who is now in her sixth term as chief of the Mississaugas of Scugog Island First Nation. The ceremony ended with words from Mayor Wilma Wotten, who addressed the crowd of hundreds.

Right after the ceremonies, 1200 people were treated to cupcakes laid out in the shape of the Canadian Flag. Vos, Your Independent Grocer, once again provided this annual tradition. Maple Leaf Foods gave out hot dogs, and Dominos provided free pizza. There were numerous vendors offering sandwiches, ice cream, snacks and beverages.

Sadly, a thunderstorm rolled through in the afternoon, which put a damper on the events. People huddled under tents and in the gazebo, but thunder and lightning halted the proceedings for a few hours.

By late afternoon, the clouds disappeared, the sun came out, and the people returned. Live bands played wonderful music, and people danced on the grass. As dusk approached, more and more visitors, bringing lawn chairs, gathered in anticipation of the amazing fireworks display scheduled for 10 p.m.

As promised, the grand finale of the event did not disappoint. An amazing light show of fireworks lit the sky over Lake Scugog while more than a thousand people watched in awe.

As I mentioned, during the opening ceremony, we are fortunate to live in a great country, a fantastic province and a wonderful community, where we are able to celebrate our freedom and our inclusivity and preserve our way of life. Congratulations to the organizers for a job well done.

Jonathan van Bilsen is a television host, award-winning photographer, published author, columnist and keynote speaker. Watch his show, ‘Jonathan van Bilsen’s photosNtravel’, on RogersTV, the Standard's Website or YouTube.

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