It didn’t matter where they came from or what they looked like.
That’s because hundreds of Red Deerians who celebrated Canada’s 151st birthday at Bower Ponds were Canadians first — waving their red-and-white flags, oh so proudly.
Red Deer resident Janelle Spady, was at Bower Ponds Sunday with her family. Spady said celebrating Canada Day is a family tradition for her husband Kurt and children Ava and Jackson.
She said she keeps coming back at Bower Ponds because she can’t help but feel proud when she looks around at the colourful crowd — eating, cheering, and spending quality family time together on Canada Day.
“It gives you the warm fuzzy feeling,” said the Red Deerian. “It makes you feel grateful to be living here in this wonderful country.”
Linda Wynia, a 43-year-old Red Deerian, donned on a Canadian flag and a hat, like she does every year, as Canada celebrated its 151st birthday. She said she feels patriotic when she looks around at all the people soaking in the festivities.
People from all walks of life brought their sunscreen and water bottles to celebrate Canada Day at Bower Ponds starting at 11:30 a.m. Many put their blankets down in front of the stage and watched local performances from singing, dancing and even a Chinese fashion show, which was new this year.
The lineup featured a wide array of entertainment including: St. James Gate; Phillippine, Country Pride and the Fanatullen Scandinavian dancers; Brad Abel; the Red Deer and District Chinese Community Society and Alecia Aichelle.
Delores Coghill, Red Deer Cultural Heritage Society manager, said the entertainment was presented by the society in its 49th year.
“This day just gives me chills every year because it’s such a multicultural event. We see a lot of new immigrants, and they’re just wanting to know what Canada is all about,” said Coghill. “Everyone is just happy to be here and happy to be Canadian.”
Food trucks lined up at the entrance offering a taste of the world from — Chinese, Jamaican and German, and many more.
Many people had scheduled to stay for the festivities for the entire day, which concluding at 11 p.m. with a fireworks show.
Adam Lebert, from Kamloops, B.C., was visiting Red Deer and celebrating Canada Day with Central Albertans for the first time.
“I would come again,” said Lebert, adding he enjoyed the scenic celebration by the pond.
“I like the different types of people that are here (today) that make up Canada — a lot of colour, a lot of different backgrounds, different heritage – it’s awesome,” he said.
Jennifer Mukunja, has been celebrating Canada Day since 2009 when she first came to Canada from Kenya.
But the celebrations were extra special this July 1 because she became a Canadian citizen recently
“It feels awesome and totally worth it,” said the Red Deerian. “We feel like we belong here not that we didn’t belong before, but it’s a different sense of belonging.”