Prince George Celebrates Canada Day
Prince George, B.C. –The sun has finally poked through the clouds for this year’s 149th Canada Day celebrations at Lheidli T’enneh Memorial Park.
Thousands of people have turned out for all the usual fare – vendors, food stalls, a kid’s zone, and live entertainment.
Prince George-Peace River-Northern Rockies Conservative MP Bob Zimmer says it’s a day everybody can put their differences aside and celebrate our wonderful country.
“There’s a bunch of different groups that we ally ourselves with or groups that we come from but today and really everyday we’re all Canadians. It’s a neat way to come together.”
The day has had its fair share of emotion too, starting with the awarding of the Medal of Good Citizenship to Prince George resident John Scott.
Launched last year and judged by an independent panel, it recognizes individuals who have made outstanding contributions to their communities without the expectation of remuneration or reward.
Scott, a veteran who served his country for many years overseas, has done the same as a volunteer in Prince George.
His volunteerism includes his work with the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 43, the 2618 Canadian Army Cadets and the Northern BC Chapter of the Canadian Association of Veterans in United Nations Peacekeeping.
“John is I think exemplary of British Columbians. The fact they give out their heart and their life, their time,” says Prince George-Valemount Liberal MLA Shirley Bond. “You know what’s powerful is that John served his country but he’s gone on to serve his community and his province and I am so proud of the fact that we have someone in Prince George that’s earned this medal.”
Scott says it’s overwhelming to be recognized.
“Yes, it certainly is. And the community support when you see them standing out there and pleased for you.”
Today was also a day of firsts for the Syrian refugees who arrived in our city earlier this year. Shirley Bond made a point of recognizing them in her speech during the opening ceremonies.
“As someone who lives in Canada and was born here I am privileged to be Canadian and at a time when the world is closing their doors to immigrants I think it’s so symbolic that Canada opened its arms and said to people fleeing their homeland come and become a part of our country.”
Rose and Nael Toume were the first Syrians to arrive in Prince George in January and were moved by Bond’s words.
“It really touches our hearts, it’s amazing. We’re so happy to be here, it’s an honour. We are very blessed to come to Canada.”
Outside the speeches business was also good for local vendors, for example for the Yalenka Ukrainian Dancers, who are selling perogies and koobie as part of their annual fundraiser.
“We do this once a year, every Canada Day,” says Leanne Bodenham. “We expect to sell close to 5,000 perogies. When its cool, people like to eat perogies. When it’s warmer they go for the ice cream.”
She brought along her 10-year-old daughter Tatianna to help out.
“I think it’s really fun because it gives me a chance to showcase our culture as a prominent community with a big wide event.”
Today’s celebrations wrap up with fireworks at Connaught Hill park.