Canada Day celebration offers free family fun

Canada Day celebrations kick off in Maffeo Sutton Park at 11 a.m.

Mark Zandee

Mark Zandee

Maffeo Sutton Park is party central this Friday (July 1) for people looking to celebrate the nation and their heritage.

Michele Duerksen, a recreation coordinator, said the City of Nanaimo is excited to offer people a chance to celebrate their heritage and participate in a free family event.

Canada Day celebrations kick off at 11 a.m. and the city expects a large crowd.

“It’s a great celebration of what Nanaimo can do and an awesome way to celebrate Canada’s birthday,” said Duerksen.

Families are invited to attend with a picnic lunch and enjoy a day of entertainment in the park.

“If you are looking to save money and have a free family-fun event, you can do that,” said Duerksen.

The celebration kicks off with the Parade of Flags, featuring the flags of various nations carried by representatives from different cultural groups and organizations.

Duerksen said the parade is an opportunity for groups to represent their country of origin and say how proud they are to be Canadian citizens.

For Shiva Ankrah, a recent immigrant to Nanaimo from the Republic of Ghana in West Africa, it’s his first Canada Day celebration as a citizen.

“It’s very, very beautiful,” he said. “Canada is very peaceful and quite beautiful.”

Since arriving in early April, he’s had a positive experience getting help settling in from the Central Vancouver Island Multicultural Society’s Immigrant Welcome Centre.

“Everything is absolutely good and the people are friendly,” he said.

One aspect he’s still getting used to is the cost of living, because it’s quite a bit more expensive than his native country.

But with the free celebration in the park, Canada Day is one opportunity people won’t have to shell out tons of money to participate in a spectacular party.

After the parade of flags, the Tidesmen Barbershop Chorus will lead the crowd in singing O Canada.

Until 3:30 p.m., people can enjoy interactive booths from Arts Alive, the Nanaimo Canoe and Kayak Club, the Nanaimo Astronomy Society, RCMP community policing and more.

From 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. there will also be live entertainment in the main stage, the Lions Pavilion, which includes Braeden Marshal, Third Rock, the Tidesmen and Aunti Bobbi, as well as roving entertainment.

The event also features a variety of food vendors.

For more information please go to www.nanaimo.ca or call 250-756-5200.