The Canada Day celebrations in Ashcroft on July 1 got off to a slightly drizzly start, but that did not dampen the spirits of the 18 young participants in the bike parade, who rode their gaily-decorated bicycles along Railway Avenue beside the Heritage Park. Medals were awarded in a variety of categories before the celebration kicked off, by which time the rain had stopped, to the relief of the more than 160 people who attended, including several residents of long-term care at the hospital, who arrived via community bus.
Bike parade participants
A colour party from Royal Canada Legion Branch #113 and the Royal Canadian Sea Cadet Corps #347 Avenger paraded in, followed by the singing of “O Canada”. Bonaparte elder Diane Sandy addressed the crowd and sang traditional welcome and honour songs, before Ashcroft mayor Jack Jeyes said a few words on the occasion of Canada’s 149th birthday.
Face-painters were on hand, and the Lions cooked up hot dogs for everyone who wanted one. Andy Anderson did a ceremonial fly-past, and then “God Save the Queen” was sung before the traditional Canada Day cake was cut up and served. The park had been decorated with Canadian flags, and many in the crowd wore red and white in honour of the day.
This was the fourth time that the Winding Rivers Arts & Performance Society has hosted the Canada Day celebration in Ashcroft, and WRAPS president Barbara Roden, who emceed the event, acknowledged that the group could not do it without the hard work of many volunteers, as well as the financial support of the Lions, the Legion, Rotary, the government of Canada, and the Village of Ashcroft.
The event concluded with the musical group Back Porch lights—Nadine Davenport, John Kidder, and Kirk Watson—performing several songs, many of them classics of Canadian music such as “Canadian Pacific”, “Four Strong Winds”, and “Northwest Passage”. Many attendees then made their way to the Legion to continue the celebration with a variety of events commemorating Canada Day and the conclusion of Legion Week.
Judging by the reaction of the crowd, a good time was had by all. It’s hoped that next year’s event, marking Canada’s 150th anniversary, will be even bigger and better (and that the rain holds off entirely).