When I was very young my parents and I immigrated to Canada from Europe. It was 1967 and the whole country was celebrating the centennial. Everything was adorned with the centennial logo of a maple leaf. This meant nothing to me as I couldn’t fathom the importance of this celebration – I was just in a new country where everyone was covered in the Maple Leaf (in my limited English understanding, I thought they were saying “make belief”). I have never since questioned the importance nor the honour of living in this country of freedom, abundance and fellowship. Being Canadian defines me, and the values that I hold dear. Recent events in the world have just driven that point home with a sledgehammer.
So, it is with this background that I celebrate Canada Day each year; but I also celebrate Brantford – the home to so many good people with so much heart and soul. Brantford’s Canada Day celebrations come second to none. The committee that plans each year’s celebration works tirelessly to bring us a day full of activities, music, food and fireworks. Cheryl Antoski, Ward 4 Councillor, knows from past experience the amount of work that goes into this event. “Unbelievable staff pull off one of the best Canada Days in the country!” These events also happen because of dedicated volunteers (if anyone is interested, there is always room for more help -if interested go to the Canada Day website).
At the media launch, which was an event in itself, Dave McKee, Town Crier, proclaimed that this will be an event “the likes of which have never been seen before!” and the lineup certainly promises just that!
Brantford Has Talent winner Jack Demarest will be opening the musical events at 12:20. Next up at 1:00 is Pretzel Logic – a ten-piece band dedicated to the exploration and rendition of the music of Steely Dan. Virtuoso Johannes Linstead wows the crowd at 2:25 with his award-winning fusion Spanish-style guitar with Afro-Cuban, Middle Eastern, and Latin American percussion and instrumentation. The Ones offer Beatles cover songs from 1964- 70 and take the stage at 3:50. Freedom Train out of Hamilton, will entertain the audience at 5:40 with their spin on classic rock, R&B, funk and original music. A favourite at Brantford’s Canada Day – LeE HARVeY OsMOND, a psychedelic folk project, will be on stage at 7:30 head and liners 54-40 Vancouver’s post-punk icons from the early 80’s with a catalogue of hits that span 30 years, finish off the musical acts at 9pm.
“As far as I’m concerned, Canada Day only happens in Brantford!” – Tom Wilson of LeE HARVeY OsMOND
Independent Pro Wrestling, based out of Brantford since 2002, will have three shows during the day. They crown a new champion every year and all winners have been on WWE. They promise hard hitting high flying entertainment. “It’s hard to get excited for some events, but these events in Brantford are right up at the top” says Dirty Rex Atkins who tours all over Canada with his anti-bullying message.
As in past years there will be a citizenship ceremony at 9am in the Lions Park Arena, where inductees recite an oath of citizenship and receive their citizenship certificate – what a great way to celebrate the wonderful mosaic that is Canada. “What we do, we do from the heart” says Bob Coyne, Past Canada Day Celebration Chair, “You can feel the emotion in new Canadians becoming Canadians, solemnly raising their hands You realize how important it is to be proud of being a citizen of the best country in the world”
Featured also is the Rogers Marketplace and Made in Canada Exhibit A wide assortment of merchandise will be available for purchase including wares from across the city and beyond. Helicopter rides will be available from 11 – 5pm, weather permitting.
New this year “The Room: brought to you by the City of Brantford and Five Nineteen Productions. This escape room will challenge your skills to solve the test and escape in 5 minutes ($5 fee). The Young Canadian Area, sponsored by Clarence Street Dental for many years, will feature the Academy of Dance, Warhorse Warrior Challenge, TK Olympic Taekwondo, Bob the Builder, Paw Patrol meet and greet, the BarryO Kidshow, Masha & the Bear and 30 Dollar Weekend , as well as pony rides and the ever popular Campbell Amusements KidZone.
And for those 19+ years of age, the perennial beer garden will offer refreshments (please be sure to bring ID).
At 10:30 there will be an amazing display of fireworks to finish off the day in style, presented by the City of Brantford.
Parking for the event is available on-site for $5 with proceeds supporting the Rotary Club of Brantford – Sunrise. If you would rather not drive, there is a free Shuttle Service every half hour from 11 til 9pm. (see website for stop locations)