Canada Day has a slightly different flavour this year, but will be just as fun, say organizers from several different groups putting events on throughout the day on Thursday.
The annual celebration of the nation’s birth will be minus its traditional Water Street parade, but there’s plenty of other stuff to keep young and old occupied and interested.
At Marina Park on the main stage, musicians ranging from Mood Indigo to Garrick Sissons and the Retro-Fits will deliver a variety of musical offerings from 5:30 p.m. to 11 p.m., when the much-anticipated fireworks display again attempts to wows the 20,000 or so in attendance.
There’s also music on the Pagoda stage on Water Street, featuring the likes of Flipper Flanagan’s Flat Footed Four, Tracy K and Billy Manzik.
Meanwhile the Celebration Station area will include performances from the Youth Cheerleaders, the Thunder Bay Improv Group and Arabella’s Middle Eastern Dancers, and interactive fun with the Open Community Drum Circle with Sean Jesseau; also on hand will be the Thunder Bay Roller Derby League and the Thunder Bay Parkour Club. Melissa Wnuk, the city’s festival and events co-ordinator said rather than letting Marina Park construction shut down the celebration, they’ve actually expanded activities in 2010.
"We decided to extend the programming onto Water Street," Wnuk said Monday as the city, OLG Casino and Fort William Historical Park released details of their Canada Day schedules.
"This year we’ll have a little bit of a festival market feel. We’ll have an artisan alley on the street, concessions. Our second stage, our acoustic stage, will be located in the Pagoda parking lot. We’ll have kids inflatables, Sports Dome activities … all occurring on the street."
A Canada Day procession will be held in place of the parade, starting at Cumberland and Camelot streets, and include local dignitaries, the Thunder Bay Police Pipes and Drums, and local Olympians Haley Irwin and Jason Myslicki.
In conjunction with the city’s schedule, Casino Thunder Bay will be showcasing live entertainment 1:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. outside their downtown facility, featuring the music of the Sensational Hot Rods and the city’s own Bobby Curtola.
Once again they’ll also be hosting a collection of classic cars, starting at noon for all to see.
"It’s our ninth annual Cruiser Day Block Party on Park Avenue. We’re expecting hundreds of cars to come out as usual. We’re just asking everyone to register their cars by 12 noon," said Shantelle Graham, the casino’s sales and customer relations manager.
"We have more than $2,000 in cash and prizes for all participants for the day."
The cars will move closer to Marina Park as the afternoon wears on.
Not to be outdone, Marty Mascarin said Fort William Historical Park has plenty of activities for the entire family to enjoy, including games and crafts for children and contests with great prizes.
"One of our more popular contests is the Canadian Pride contest, where you dress Canadian. You get in your red and white and moose antlers. We’re always very impressed by the creativity and enthusiasm people demonstrate for that contest," Mascarin said.
Admission to FWHP will be reduced by half for Canada Day, he added.
While the celebration is all about fun, emergency official remind the public there are a few dos and don’ts. Most notably, said Thunder Bay Fire Service’s Brian Berringer, is to leave the fireworks to the experts.
"Fireworks are not welcome in the Marina," he said. "We want everybody who comes down here to be safe and happy and have a good time."
Thunder Bay Police Sgt. Jim Glena had another piece of advice for revelers looking for a good time.
"There is zero tolerance in the park for alcohol," he said.
Free parking is available at the Heart of the Harbour parkade on Court Street, and there are free shuttle buses running from the Thunder Bay Community Auditorium, Intercity Shopping Centre and the Thunder Bay 55 Plus Centre.
There is no parking, other than accessible parking, on site.
A proud Nova Scotian who has called Thunder Bay home since 2002, Leith is Dougall Media's director of news, but still likes to tell your stories too. Wants his Expos back and to see Neil Young at least one more time. Twitter: @LeithDunick
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