By Jessica Lovell
Thousands of people are expected to make their way to Riverside Park on July 1 as the city celebrates Canada Day, and organizers want to make sure people leave their fireworks at home.
“We have to try to keep everybody safe,” said event chair Hazel Dickie of the Rotary Club of Guelph.
Each year, the Rotary club presents Guelph’s Canada Day festivities in the park, an all-day event that includes a wide variety of family-friendly activities, a midway, food vendors, music and entertainment, and, of course, a fireworks show.
This year’s event promises all the same fun as in previous years, and, to make sure it stays fun, organizers are making an extra effort to remind people that personal fireworks are not welcome at the celebration.
The rule is not new, “but this year, we’re making sure it is in every piece of media,” said Dickie.
Advertising for the event will state clearly that no personal fireworks are allowed in the park, and people entering the park will be greeted with the following sign: “Personal fireworks, sparklers, firecrackers are prohibited in the park. Use of personal barbecues is also prohibited. Immediate expulsion from the park will result from non-compliance.”
Fire safety is the key reason for the rule, as a stray firework could cause lead to a more serious incident, particularly if it were to land near a vendor tent or even near the area where the Rotary Club will be setting off its fireworks display, said Dickie.
“Sparklers are equally as dangerous,” said Dickie. “You can be burnt. They’re very, very hot.” As a safe alternative, the Rotary club will be selling glow sticks for a “minimal price,” she said.
People who do attempt to light sparklers or fireworks in the park will be asked to stop. “More than likely, that will be enough,” said Dickie.
The fireworks, which are scheduled for 9:45 p.m., are probably considered the main event, but there will be lots of other reasons to go to the park, too.
“There are events on all day,” said Dickie, noting the festivities officially open at 11 a.m.
“It’s a pretty all-inclusive event,” Dickie said. On the main stage, entertainment begins at 1 p.m. with a performance by the Coro Cant Italia Choir. Also scheduled is zumba, musical performances by a variety of bands and a citizenship ceremony.
The Rotary Club of Guelph Wellington will be holding the annual duck race, which last year raised $35,000 for local charities.
McCrae House happenings
Once again, McCrae House will be open for Canada Day and people are invited to celebrate the occasion with military flair.
“Our Canada Day festivities offer activities for the entire family,” Val Harrison, supervisor of visitor experiences, said in a news release. “This year, visitors can enjoy musketry demonstrations, a variety of heritage military displays, poetry readings, a kids’ obstacle course and, of course, birthday cake.”
The museum, birthplace of doctor, poet and soldier John McCrae, will kick off its birthday festivities for Canada starting at 12 p.m. on July 1. People can interact with re-enactors and military history enthusiasts and learn about artifacts and uniforms of the U.S. Civil War, the First World War and the Second World War, the release said.
There will also be an interactive reading with poets Honey Novick, John B. Lee and Bill Bisset reflecting on John McCrae’s poetry and poems of war and peace. People will also be invited to read their own poems or write one of their own.
Musical entertainment by Blue Yonder, home-front crafts and a junior boot camp obstacle course will also be part of the day’s activities. Admission is by donation.
Munsch fun at centre
The Macdonald Stewart Art Centre is inviting people to celebrate Canada Day with the stories and characters of local children’s author Robert Munsch.
The gallery, located next to the University of Guelph, will host an outdoor performance of “Love You Forever . . . and More Munsch” from 2 to 3 p.m. in the Sculpture Park.
The play, from To Be Determined Theatre Co., features scenes adapted from Munsch’s The Paper Bag Princess, Mortimer, Murmel, Murmel, Murmel, Zoom and Love You Forever. Admission is “pay what you can,” and in case of rain the show will go on inside.
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By Jessica Lovell