There will be 12 hours of activities at Bower Ponds for Canada Day this Friday. (File photo by The Canadian Press)

There will be 12 hours of activities at Bower Ponds for Canada Day this Friday. (File photo by The Canadian Press)

Red Deer to celebrate diversity on Canada Day

Red Deer Cultural Heritage Society hosting a day of activities, music on Friday

A variety of different cultures will be in the spotlight at Red Deer’s Canada Day celebration.

The Red Deer Cultural Heritage Society is bringing 12 hours of activities, music and – of course – fireworks to Bower Ponds on Friday, July 1.

This year, the society is partnering with the Red Deer Local Immigration Partnership, which will be on site with their Proud to Be Your Neighbour anti-racism campaign.

Starting at 11:30 a.m. and running until midnight, there will be performances from groups representing a variety of different cultures, including Ukrainian, Philippine and Salvadorian dancers, and Métis fiddlers. Additionally, there will be international food booths.

“We’re not celebrating the birthday of Canada … we’re celebrating all of the cultural, ethnic, linguistic and geographic diversity that we have in Canada,” said Delores Coghill, Red Deer Cultural Heritage Society manager.

“We’re not celebrating Canada Day as the formation of (the country) because it has a negative connotation for so many. This way we can celebrate Canada as we are now.”

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Claude Godin, Face the Earth, Trent Agecoutay and Rellik will perform on stage during the evening. Fireworks are at 11 p.m. There will be bouncey castles and children’s activities throughout the day as well.

It’s been a couple of years since Red Deer has had a big celebration on Canada Day, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We’re the first big event since COVID-19. The Westerner Days are coming too, but we’re just before them,” said Coghill.

“I’m looking forward to seeing how many people do come out.”

Prior to COVID-19, the society’s Canada Day celebration would draw 5,000 to 10,000 people. Coghill said it’s tough to estimate how many will converge on Bower Ponds for this year’s event.

“It’s on a Friday, which changes things – it’s on a long weekend. That factors in, the weather will factor in. We’re anticipating there will be (a good turnout) because people are anxious to get out,” she said.

Coghill said it has been a bit difficult to get different performers for this year’s event because some groups haven’t met over the past couple of years due to COVID-19.

“Hopefully they can be involved next year,” she said.

People can access Bower Ponds via walking or use a park and ride system from Sorensen Station, which starts at 10:45 a.m. There is a $1 fee for the park and ride shuttle, but admission to the Canada Day celebration is free.

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