Edmontonians flock to Canada 150 celebrations – via Edmonton Journal

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Yuan Dimla, 3, was all smiles during Canada Day at Edmonton's city hall on July 1, 2017.
Yuan Dimla, 3, was all smiles during Canada Day at Edmonton’s city hall on July 1, 2017. Larry Wong / Postmedia

Canadians draped in red and white were out in full force Saturday to celebrate the country’s 150th birthday in Edmonton.

The sesquicentennial celebrations were marked by a full day of events across the city including at Edmonton City Hall and the Alberta legislature grounds.

Festivities at the legislature started bright and early at 7 a.m. with a Canada Day Road Race around the legislature grounds and ends with a bang — a fireworks show in the River Valley.

The morning pancake breakfast hosted by the Aga Khan Council for Edmonton saw many dignitaries help flipping batter – including Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson and Alberta Premier Rachel Notley – for the many hungry residents.

This led into a citizenship ceremony seeing 47 residents pledging the oath of allegiance and officially becoming Canadian citizens. Many other ceremonies happened across the country welcoming new citizens into the diverse landscape of Canada.

“Across this city, across this province, across this country, new Canadians said and gave that oath to Canada and each and every time one of you did that, each and every Canadian grew stronger,” Notley said to the new citizens following the ceremony. “Thank you to all of you for making all of us that much stronger.”

Celebrations also took over city hall with many activities for all ages. The wading pool was a popular spot for children during the hot afternoon.

But entertainment and tours inside the building also gave the opportunity to cool off indoors.

A mural mosaic made up of many different pieces created by individual Edmontonians was unveiled in the afternoon. The mural is part of a larger Canada 150 mosaic that includes over 80,000 individual paintings and 150 murals created in cities across the country.

Other outdoor activities included two stages, The Works Art and Design Festival and Turban, Eh which allowed residents to pick a turban, with many different colours offered, and have it tied for them to wear throughout the festivities.

We caught up with people who were out and about in Edmonton to celebrate the nation’s special day to talk about how they celebrate Canada Day and what it means to them.

Micah Cavelin, 26, became a Canadian citizen during the day’s citizenship ceremony at the Legislature grounds and she hopes to become a paramedic and serve in the Canadian Armed Forces. Edmonton

Name: Micah Cavelin

Age: 26

Cavelin, who has resided in Edmonton for the last five years, was one of the 47 people granted Canadian citizenship on Canada Day. She came to Canada from the Philippines and has a dream of becoming a paramedic as well as serving for the Canadian Armed Forces.

“I am proud to be Canadian because there’s lots of opportunities here,” she said.

Cavelin said she was very excited when she heard she had the opportunity to become a citizen during this special day and she immediately went out and bought her outfit for the occasion.

She said she was going to celebrate her new home with birthday cake and enjoying the fireworks.

“I’m feeling so powerful that I can do anything and I’m blessed that I have this opportunity to be a citizen,” she said.

Married couple Santhosh Pottokkarn and Ginija George were in line for Canada birthday cake to celebrate the day at the Legislature. Edmonton

Names: Santhosh Pottokkarn and Ginija George

Ages: 30

Pottokkarn and George were standing in the long line for cake following the citizenship ceremony.

The married couple met in India but moved to Canada, originally for school, and immediately started “loving this country.”

Pottokkarn said they have always liked to engage in the Canada Day activities and usually go to the legislature for the celebrations as well as take in the other events happening around the city.

“I love to be a part of the community,” he said.

George said the freedom, equality and safety Canada offers makes them proud to live here.

“Here they treat men and women equally,” she said.

They are expecting their first child — a baby girl — in September.

“I’d love to raise my family here,” Pottokkarn said. “It’s a peaceful country. I feel myself blessed to be in this country.”

Cindy Danyluk-Boisvert, 56, spent the last few weeks designing and making this outfit to celebrate Canada Day as well as her 10-year wedding anniversary. Edmonton

Name: Cindy Danyluk-Boisvert

Age: 56

The Mill Woods resident spent much of her afternoon talking and posing for photographs with people drawn to her Canada-inspired outfit and welcoming personality.

She said she has always had a special place in her heart for July 1. Danyluk-Boisvert and her husband Andre were celebrating their 10th wedding anniversary and also had their first date on Canada Day.

She said she wanted to wear something special to symbolize the occasion and did research into what women wore 150 years ago – which she discovered to be hoop skirts.

“I wish I would have planned this like a year ago but it just came to my head,” she said. “So I’ve been working day and night for two weeks solid.”

She said her favourite part of Canada Day is talking to fellow Canadians and spreading joy.

“I have met so many beautiful, happy people and that’s what Canada Day is about. That’s what Canada is about,” she said.

She said Canada’s diversity and people “striving to get along” are what makes her proud to be Canadian.

“I think we’re very well known globally for that fact, so we do have a lot to be proud of,” she said.

Sonia and Dyhaine Campbell were at city hall for the afternoon and received turbans from the Turban, Eh event hosted by the World Sikh Organization. Edmonton

Name: Sonia Campbell and Dyhaine Campbell, 15

The mother and son pair spent most of the afternoon at city hall enjoying the entertainment and festivities offered.

Sonia said they particularly wanted to attend the events this year because it is the 150th anniversary of Confederation.

Both of them got turbans from the Turban, Eh event hosted by the World Sikh Organization of Canada to commemorate Canada Day.

“It’s fabulous and a nice colour,” Sonia said of her turban.

“It was really interesting to experience this,” Dyhaine said, noting it is something he’s never done before.

Sonia came to Canada from the Caribbean many years ago and said “it’s awesome living here.”

Dyhaine has lived in Canada his whole life and said the different seasons in Canada offer different feelings and experiences and is something he loves about the country.

“You get to experience it all and enjoy it,” he said.

Dianna and Kellan Poon, 5, were at city hall to see the unveiling of Edmonton’s mural to commemorate Canada 150 that Kellan had a part in creating. Edmonton

Name: Dianna Poon and Kellan Poon, 5

Kellan Poon and his mother Dianna were at city hall for the unveiling of Edmonton’s mosaic mural which Kellan drew a piece of — with only “a little bit of help.”

The mural, featuring people from different backgrounds in Churchill Square with Edmonton City Hall as the backdrop, was chosen by the city’s celebration committee as it demonstrated Edmonton’s diversity and inclusivity.

Dianna said she wanted to honour this special day by going down to city hall and taking part in the activities with her son.

“He likes to get wet and go in the pool and just see what people do here to celebrate,” Dianna said. “It’s a big year right, 150.”

“We’re going to go watch fireworks,” Kellan said.

Dianna moved to Canada from Taiwan and has been in Edmonton for 14 years.

“There’s just such love here and care and people are accepting,” she said. “We’re free.”

When asked what he liked about Canada, Kellan’s answer was easy.

“Cause it’s fun.”

Name: Benj Carson

Age: 38

Carson was spotted at a food truck sporting a Canada Day onesie he received as a Christmas present.

“It’s one of the only red and white things I own,” he said.

He said his wife and daughter have one as well, but his wife decided to leave hers at home.

The family from Vancouver traveled to Edmonton for the week, where Carson lived previously, to celebrate Canada Day with his parents who live here.

He said Canada’s diversity is what makes the country a special place.

“People from all over the world come here and make it home,” he said. “It’s a very welcoming and open country.”