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Saturday, July 13, 2024
Editorial: We love ya, Canada Day. We just can’t hear ya
"Despite best intentions, our town crier just can’t cry loud enough to overpower hundreds of enthusiastic people waiting for cake," writes Richard Harley. DAVE VAN DE LAAR

What are we singing? Who is that man with the moustache shouting things at the crowd? Is he just dressed up for funsies?

And also, is that band just air-playing today?

‘Cause, I can’t hear it.

These are all fair questions if you’re a bystander at the Canada Day celebrations in Simcoe Park — because you really can’t hear anything at all. And people were asking on Monday.

The Canada Day festivities around town, as always, again this year were a tremendous community gathering.

Thousands managed to find scarce parking, then turned out to watch the cake parade, fill the park for the afternoon and attend the various celebrations of our nation’s birthday.

But at Simcoe Park, there was one big problem.

Despite best intentions, our town crier just can’t cry loud enough to overpower hundreds of enthusiastic people waiting for cake. Nor can people hear the brass band or any of the other entertainment.

And not just this year. It happens every. Single. Year.

So why?

We aren’t sure who exactly is responsible for the sound on Canada Day, whether it’s the town or the celebration’s volunteer organizers, but for goodness sake, can someone please turn up the volume?

We’ve heard mutterings and whispers that perhaps some fusty town bylaw bans sound amplification in the bandshell at Simcoe Park.

That’s believable, given the track record of some of our town’s amusing and ridiculous bylaws.

The irony would be palpable. No loud noise … inside a bandshell.

Remember when the town enacted a noise bylaw that essentially prevented people from shouting?

Remember when the sound bylaw actually cost the town a sizable chunk of money in court after a resident complained about the outdoor pickleball courts?

How could we forget?

The irony is, the Canada Day cake parade is almost guaranteed to be the time you’ll see the most politicians in Simcoe Park.

Everyone’s there. Wayne Gates, Tony Baldinelli (not that we need to address this extremely easy-to-deal-with town issue provincially or federally), Lord Mayor Gary Zalepa. Couns. Tim Balasiuk, Gary Burroughs, Wendy Cheropita, Erwin Wiens.

Literally all the big decision-makers in one place, every single year, and not one of them has, to our knowledge, tried to ensure people can hear the speakers, musicians and others. It’s embarrassing.

Don’t get us wrong. There is a lot to be proud of when it comes to Canada Day in NOTL.

The band by the wading pool in Simcoe Park is amplified. Thank goodness.

And the cake is always gigantic, delicious and the parade is a fun and unique way to do it.

The Rotary barbecue is always great — though be careful what you’re ordering. Pork on a bun means one thing at the Virgil Stampede (back bacon deliciousness) but at the Canada Day barbecue it was about a tablespoon of bland-tasting pulled pork.

Not nearly as good — and yet, it’s double the price. We get it, it’s for a good cause. But then again, so is the stampede, and they manage to keep prices fair.

Do we really want people to think opportunistic price gouging represents our Canadian spirit?

Over at Fort George, admission is free. That’s more like it. And it’s a fun time for all, showcasing some of the history tied to our town.

All this greatness, all this fun, all the high spirits and red-clad people.

It leads up to one major event, the cake parade — and then we drop the ball so significantly on sound it must absolutely baffle anyone who hasn’t seen it crash and burn before.

All of this money, all the planning, to end with a soundless failure. One that could be so easily fixed.

Sound is important, especially for major events like Canada Day and Remembrance Day (which had its own sound problems again this past year).

Two monumental days to be a patriot, to celebrate everything we have in this country, province and town.

July 1 is a time to celebrate being Canadian and we should do it like we’re actually proud.

Back in the day, bands used to play in Simcoe Park. Believe it or not, this town used to be pretty fun.

If we can’t allow amplification in the bandshell, we may as well not have one.

It’s not trivial; it is a representation of a larger picture.

So, let’s stop embarrassing ourselves. A lot of people put in a lot of effort to make Canada Day special. Let’s give the audience a real show.

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