For the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic began, the Town of Gananoque will be able to take in a full Canada Day celebration.
"We didn't do much last year, didn't plan much because of COVID," said Doug Wark, the town's manager of community services.
"We were giving away stuff from the (Gananoque 1000 Islands) Visitor Centre, takeout bags for the kids, stuff like that, and we gave out Canada Day lawn signs. But other than that, we didn't do the fireworks and there wasn't much going on."
That all changes this Canada Day on Friday.
Free Canada Day festivities will be held at Joel Stone Heritage Park with opening ceremonies beginning at 10:30 a.m. Speeches from the Town Crier, First People's Circle of Thousand Islands and Poet Laureate are scheduled, along with appearances from local dignitaries.
At 11 a.m. it's the Mad Hatter's Tea Party for the kids, featuring cupcakes, juice, crafts, games, face-painting, along with giveaways.
Then, beginning at 7:30 p.m. there will be live music, trivia and more giveaways. The live music will be performed by local band Lost Channel.
Fireworks are scheduled to begin around 9:45 p.m.
"It's going to be a pretty good show," Wark said. "It'll be out on the river, on a barge which gives a nice viewing for everyone. We'll fill up the park and keep the people there for the music, with the idea being that they're down there anyway for the music, they stay, and people fill in the area and watch the fireworks from there. Plus, people can watch it from the marina. People can also come from boat. Plus, you can see it from across the river."
The 15th annual 1000 Islands Family Ribfest will also take place this weekend at the Lou Jeffries Gananoque and TLTI Recreation Centre. Ribfest begins Thursday at 4 p.m. and runs until Sunday at 8 p.m. The event is hosted by the Rotary Club of Gananoque and the Lions Club of Gananoque.
For a full list of planned activities for this year’s Ribfest, go to ganribfest.com.
Canada Day activities in TLTI
The Township of Leeds and the Thousand Islands will not be celebrating Canada Day on July 1, and instead will do so on Sunday, July 3 at Seeley's Bay, with a full slate of activities planned.
The festivities aren't occurring on Friday due to the unavailability of a pyrotechnician until July 3.
The event begins at 11 a.m. on Sunday and runs until dusk, which is when the fireworks are scheduled. In between, there will be festivities like a vendors' market, kids bingo at the Pavilion, face painting, a parade at 3 p.m., canteen barbecue at 4 p.m., volleyball at 4 p.m., along with karaoke and the Amazing Race in the park at 5 p.m.
A treasure hunt will begin at 6 p.m., and so too will live music in the park. The Amazing Race finale will occur at 7 p.m. with the last remaining two teams. Fireworks are scheduled to begin at dusk.
(Keith Dempsey is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of the Brockville Recorder and Times. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.)
Keith Dempsey, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Brockville Recorder and Times