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Niagara-on-the-Lake
Thursday, August 11, 2022
Celebrating together: Canada Day in NOTL
Richard Harley
Richard Harley
Richard Harley
Richard Harley
Richard Harley
Richard Harley
Richard Harley
Richard Harley
Richard Harley
Richard Harley
Richard Harley
Richard Harley
Richard Harley
Richard Harley
Richard Harley
Richard Harley
Richard Harley
Richard Harley
Richard Harley
Richard Harley
Richard Harley
Richard Harley
Richard Harley

It was full steam ahead for Canada Day celebrations this year, with events taking place across Niagara-on-the-Lake to celebrate the country’s 155 anniversary.

There was one thing as common as the colours red and white on the streets — people expressing how grateful they were to celebrate Canada together after two years of pandemic separation.

“The last two years have been awful, just awful,” said Cheryl Taylor, manager of NOTL’s Victoria Teas & Coffees, at the triumphant return of the cake parade on Friday.

“All the traditions like the Santa Claus parade and the peach festival. I feel sorry for the little ones because they haven’t been getting to make those memories,” Taylor said.

She said the best thing about this Canada Day is that it marks a return to in-person celebrations.

Taylor had run out of her store in order to grab some pictures of the parade and partake briefly in the festivities before returning to work.

And it was a sight to behold. A 1,000 pound cake was led by a police car and the 41st Regiment Drum & Fife Corps down Queen Street as thousands of bystanders looked on.

The cake, donated by Willow Cakes & Pastries, was a massive pastry replete with a maple tree made out of frosting.

“This will definitely be a Canada Day to remember. It’s the first one after COVID and so far it is the best one we have ever had,” Lord Mayor Betty Disero said as she marched down Queen Street accompanied by NOTL councillors, MPP Wayne Gates and MP Tony Baldinelli.

“Looking forward to a positive future,” she said.

“What a great day to experience Canada Day,” Baldinelli said during an interview as he walked down Queen Street.

It was his first time ever at the cake parade.

“I’m gonna be serving some later,” he said.

The cake was marched down into the lowest point of Simcoe Park where hundreds of people descended on the politicians who were serving up slices.

“It’s fantastic to celebrate together. It’s my birthday, too,” said St. Catharines resident Chris Jameson as he dug into a piece of cake surrounded by family and friends.

“It’s great to see people out and having fun,” he said.

Over at Fort George the historical site was a revolving door of visitors from early in the morning until late at night.

“We commemorate the war of 1812 and when we’re talking about Canada today our very nation actually was on the brink of not being able to exist if the war had gone differently,” said Dan Laroche, site supervisor of Fort George.

“The second part is who did the successful defence of Canada — and that’s the British military alongside local militia and alongside Indigenous warriors, many of whom died defending what is our country today. That’s the big deal.”

Laroche gave an enthusiastic presentation on the importance of the War of 1812, dressed head to toe in traditional military garb from the time.

People had come from as far as Calgary and Louisiana to partake in the Canada Day festivities at the Fort.

“We wanted to do something historical today,” said Milton resident Terrence Cochrane at the Fort.

Cochrane and his wife and children were dressed patriotically in shirts covered with red and white maple leafs.

“We’re feeling thankful and privileged to live in a country like ours,” he said.

At the entryway to the historic site, the Niagara-on-the-Lake Museum’s tiny museum was standing guard.

The tiny museum was showing historical items particularly relating to the thousands of Canadian troops who trained in NOTL during the First World War.

Volunteer Scott Steele was manning the tiny museum.

“It’s just nice to be able to get out and meet people and share some stories,” Steele said.