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Parade returns

If you love a parade, you’re going to love Canada Day celebrations in Thunder Bay.
Olivia Korkola will be one of the musicians performing on Canada Day, at both Prince Arthur's Landing and Fort William Historical Park. (Leith Dunick,

If you love a parade, you’re going to love Canada Day celebrations in Thunder Bay.

After at two-year absence to accommodate construction at Marina Park, the city is re-launching the cornerstone of the afternoon events on Canada’s birthday.

Meghan Shanks, festivals and events co-ordinator for the city, said the parade was missed by the 20,000 or so visitors who flock to the waterfront each year for the festivities and is a welcome addition to the 2012 event schedule.

“We’re very excited that we have the parade,” Shanks said. “They’re going to be lining up on Water Street and then they’re going to be coming in the new Pearl Street entrance and then weaving through the park to the main stage here.”

There’s a little something for everyone at Marina Park, which recently celebrated the opening of the new splash pad, the Baggage Building Arts Centre and the Water Pavilion.

“There is tons of stuff. We have made sure we’ve programmed the park from end to end. Something we are very excited about is we are offering a lot of try-it events this year,” Shanks said.

Kayaking, outriggers, canoes and a yoga class are among the free offerings during the day, with plenty of music, food and games to round out the activities.

“Also we’re really excited to have some barnyard friends coming to the park this year. They’ll be around the splash pad and you can visit with them and learn about them and what their roles are,” she said.
Of course the fireworks, postponed because of cloudy conditions a year ago, are the culmination of the day-long celebration.

“The fireworks show is always the highlight. People start flocking down later toward the park. We encourage them to come early because we pack the park. It is going to be a spectacular show and we’re crossing our fingers for wonderful weather,” Shanks said.

For those looking for a slightly different experience, Fort William Historical Park has an entire afternoon slate of activities to recognize the country’s 145th birthday.

Old meets new on Sunday, said FWHP spokesman Marty Mascarin.

“On the one hand we celebrate the heritage theme, the birth of our country and the fact that the Northwest Company played a key role in laying the foundation of Canada with some of Canada’s greatest explorers,” Mascarin said.

“Sir Alexander MacKenzie, Simon Fraser and David Thompson were all Nor’westers and they played a big part of building Canada. But on the fun side, the recreational side, we have plenty of family-friendly games going on, everything from log sawing to voyageur rescue to a variety of activities.”
Kids can take part in the 1815 scavenger hunt and all visitors are being encouraged to show their Canadian pride, with the best costumes winning prizes.

And to top off the excitement, a Canada Day birthday cake will be unveiled and shared with hungry celebrants of all ages.

Anyone wishing to stay a little closer to home during the day can head over to the OLG Casino grounds, where the 12th annual Cruiser Day Street fair is taking place.

“This year we’re inviting our local antique car club, as well as any member of the public who may have an antique car, to participate in this event,” said OLG spokeswoman Karen Marconi.

There’s also an afternoon performance at 2 p.m. by the Sensational Hot Rods and plenty of food and fun, Marconi added.

As always, the city will be providing free shuttle service on Sunday from the Community Auditorium and the Thunder Bay 55-Plus Centre to the Water Street bus terminal, from 4:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. Free parking is also available at the Heart of the Harbour parking garage.


Leith Dunick

About the Author: Leith Dunick

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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