Canada’s birthday bash on the beach

Parksville is home to one of the biggest Canada Day celebrations in the province; fun to be had in Qualicum Beach and Bowser too

ne of the biggest Canada Day celebrations on Vancouver Island is gearing up for Monday in Parksville and the local Rotary Club organizing it will use it to mark 100 years in the province.

The Rotary Club of Parksville is sticking with their winning formula with a few minor improvements said incoming Rotary president Raven Pruden.

One notable change will see the day’s activities open downtown, where the traditional Shriner’s pancake breakfast will be relocated from Community Park.

“That’s the biggest change, people can go downtown early for the parade and they don’t have to go up and down the hill into the park,” stage manager Megan Olsen previously explained.

The popular breakfast will run from 7:30 to 11 a.m. in the Coastal Community Credit Union parking lot, keeping cars out of Community Park which will be closed to traffic for the day.

The parade, expecting 100-plus entries, kicks off at 10 a.m. following its familiar route from Shelly Road, along Highway 19A and up Craig Street to city hall.

Activities start in the park at noon on the main stage in the big field with a celebration of Rotary’s 100 year’s of service, opening speeches and O Canada.

Pruden points out they will be looking for donations at the main entrance and any extra help they can get in general to help keep the big event running.

An acoustic showcase will ease people into the day’s music amid the park filled with vendors, children’s games, rides and family activities of all sorts.

Pruden emphasizes they have made a special effort to keep the fair activities cheaper this year to encourage families to come out and enjoy it.

At 4 p.m. Victoria’s folk/rock Archers will play for an hour, followed by the local Electric Kool-Aid and then Peak Performance runner up Jordan Klassen at 6 p.m. with his gentle folk stylings, followed by local favourites and Rod and Gun regulars Baby Jane at 7 p.m.

The big headliner this year is U4, who bill themselves as “Canada’s premier U2 tribute” and will bring a big show to Parksville’s big park starting at 8:30 p.m. and running through to the fireworks spectacular at about 10 p.m.

Anyone interested in volunteering, donating or getting involved in any way is encouraged to contact Olsen at olsen_megan@yahoo.com or 250-937-0999 or Pruden at rpruden@shaw.ca.

Bowser

The national birthday will also be celebrated at the Bowser Legion from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The Bowser festivities will include all the traditional family activities with entertainment, a barbecue, kids’ activities including face painting, cotton candy, hay rides by tractor, a fishing game and others, plus a growing classic car show and shine.

Tried last year for the first time, they had 30 cars and this year they already have 100 registered.

The Arrowsmith Pipe Band will play around 1:30 p.m. along with O Canada and the formal cup cake “cutting” a bit later, at 3 p.m.

Qualicum Beach

People will assemble in the old bus garage parking lot for Qualicum Beach’s Canada Day parade at 11:30 a.m.  Monday morning and march to the Legion around 11:45 a.m.

The ceremonies will officially kick off there at noon followed by entertainment by Bent Rhym, Sharon Lafferty’s Clog Dancers and The Arrowsmith Pipe Band.

There will be hamburgers, hot dogs and refreshments available. MLA Michelle Stillwell will cut the cake at 2:15 p.m.