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Nanaimo celebrates national pride

Melissa Nobels from Vesta Entertainment celebrates Canada’s 147th birthday at Maffeo Sutton Park. The warm weather brought hundreds of people to the park for Canada Day celebrations, which included face painting, cupcake decorating, entertainment and more. - NICHOLAS PESCOD/The News Bulletin
Melissa Nobels from Vesta Entertainment celebrates Canada’s 147th birthday at Maffeo Sutton Park. The warm weather brought hundreds of people to the park for Canada Day celebrations, which included face painting, cupcake decorating, entertainment and more.
— image credit: NICHOLAS PESCOD/The News Bulletin

The weather on July 1 couldn’t have been any better as hundreds of people showed up downtown for Nanaimo’s official Canada Day celebration.

The celebration took place at Maffeo Sutton Park and featured live performances by The Midnights, Jake West, Trinitude, Luke Blu Guthrie and the Tidesmen. There were also plenty of activities for the kids, including face painting and cupcake decorating.

Ashley Ritchie, who was in attendance with her niece and daughter, said the cupcake building was one of her kids’ favourite activities.

“It’s nice to get out and enjoy the sun,” Ritchie said. “The kids obviously love being out here … They’re having a great time.”

There were also a number of organizations present at the park, including the Central Vancouver Island Multicultural Society, a Nanaimo-based charitable organization that provides settlement assistance to new immigrants.

Canada DayCindy Qin, an immigration settlement worker with the society, was on hand for the Canada Day celebrations. She explained that the society helps immigrants with everything from applying for Care Cards to getting social insurance numbers.

“When they come to our organization we will provide a service ... like ordering social insurance cards and health cards, and helping them with where they will live,” Qin said.

The society also provides English language classes and helps immigrants find employment opportunities.

Qin and her husband immigrated to British Columbia from China nearly a decade ago. She cited the province’s warm climate as one of the reasons for coming to Canada.

“The first thing is weather, especially in B.C.,” Qin said. “There is less pollution and the other thing is education for our children.”

Qin joined the society in 2012 and has been helping other immigrants settle in Canada ever since. She recently applied to become a Canadian citizen herself and is glad she made the move.

“I just sent the application to become a Canadian,” she said. “For me, I like it here and I want to be a real Canadian citizen. I know more about Canadian culture and the way of life.”

Qin was proud to be a part of the Canada Day festivities in Nanaimo.

“I am really happy to be part of this event,” Qin said. “I love my job to help new immigrants to settle in Nanaimo.”

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