Canada 150 scores big

Pictou-Advocate-opinion

By any measure — and despite some adversity — Canada 150 celebrations in Pictou County and elsewhere hit many right notes.

Residents and visitors thronged to the Tall Ships over the weekend in Pictou, New Glasgow and Westville hosted annual pre-Canada Day and Canada Day events and a Canada 150 baby boy was born at 6:03 a.m. on July 1 at the Aberdeen Hospital.

All the Tall Ships will gather in force later this month in Halifax but five of them spent the weekend in Pictou Harbour. They were of varying types — the classic schooner-rigged Bluenose II, along with the Latvian sloop Spaniel and larger ships from Ecuador, Spain and The Netherlands.

An estimated 15,000 people took advantage of the opportunity to board the vessels, listen to the variety of musical entertainment offered on July 1 and visit the sites downtown. Shops and attractions like the Northumberland Fisheries Museum and Hector Quay were well attended.

Food and hotel establishments were full much of the time during the festival.

It also has to be said that there were actually six tall ships to view and tour. It’s just that there happened to be five visiting ones to complement the Ship Hector at its permanent mooring beside the heritage quay. We have an ongoing heritage of sail that is only enhanced when the Tall Ships festival occurs.

All of this occurred despite uncertain weather that began to break clear later in the weekend.

Pre-Canada Day events in New Glasgow entertained with music, dancing and more. Rain held off long enough on July 1 at the New Glasgow Farmers Market for the official opening of the mixed garden behind the all-weather barn overlooking the East River. A ceremony was barely completed before a steady rain started, portending a wet viewing of the annual Canada Day parade in Westville.

The rain evidently did not dampen the spirits of those present, for attendance was reported to be similar to numbers at past parades in more ideal weather. People were assured that the fireworks would be like ones rarely seen here and they were both audible and visible from a fair distance.

As Westville event organizer Tom Steele said beforehand, there was ample opportunity for residents and visitors to sample the best that events in Westville, New Glasgow and Pictou had to offer.

Canada Day came and went quickly, with so much taking place at one time, but Canada 150 has a more lingering quality to it. Canada Day was a reference point, but many milestones will be marked before the calendar year ends.

It is an opportunity for self-examination by Canadians, a chance for them to note what to be proud of and what work is left to do. Canada has come this far. There is no going back, and the future holds promise.