Canada Day Celebrations ~ Northumberland


by Festival Nomad, Gary McWilliams

Welcome to Canada Day in Northumberland

I had been thinking about this concept for some time, so this year I thought I would try it out. The concept was very simple, try to visit as many Canada Day Celebrations as possible. We chose to try it in Northumberland County because we knew the area well and because the towns we choose were within easy traveling distances.

Brighton’s Canada Day Celebrations

The first community we decided to visit was Brighton. The celebrations were being held in the Proctor Park Conservation Area. Although we arrived fairly early, there were still plenty of people milling around. All the tents and activities seemed to be in place. Once the first couples we met were Rick and Judy Norlock. Rick is the Northumberland-Quinte West Federal Member of Parliament. Rick and Judy were touring the various Canada Day celebrations in their district. They had just come from a breakfast in their home area of Warkworth (our next stop). We stopped and chatted for a few moments and then continued up a hill towards the Proctor House Museum. The community’s Canada Day Pancake Breakfast was set up on the grounds just outside the Museum. We joined the line up to purchase our pancakes and sausages. Once we had finished eating, we headed back down the hill to where a petting zoo had been erected. We looked at all the animals and Judi “posed” with her “friends” while I took some “cute” pictures! We then left to travel to our next Celebration. On the way out we passed a Highland Band that was practicing for the Brighton Canada Day Parade.

Warkworth’s Canada Day Celebrations

Warkworth is approximately a half hours drive northwest of Brighton. Once we had found out where the celebrations were taking place, we parked our car. The celebration organizers were just completing their Canada Day preparations and town’s people had started to arrive. A number of tents and displays were set up around the perimeter of the park. The local fire department was there with a display. Unfortunately shortly after we had arrived, one of their trucks had to leave on an emergency call! Warkworth is a wonderful little town with lots of community pride. It is also the home of two great events, the Warkworth Long Lunch and the Warkworth Western Weekend. Their Canada Day Celebration was no less enthusiastic! There were lots of activities for the whole family and, best of all; it was all “free”! We stayed for the singing of “O Canada” by the Warkworth Kids’ Choir and for some free munchies! Our next stop, Campbellford.

Campbellford’s Canada Day Celebrations

From Warkworth we drove the 20 kilometres to Campbellford. Campbellford is a beautiful community located on the Trent Canal. It is also the home of the Canadian two dollar coin, better known as the “Toonie”. The Toonie’s Polar Bear design was created by Campbellford artist Brent Townsend. Brent is an internationally recognized and collected wildlife artist! The Celebrations were being held at the Old Mill Park which is located right along side the canal. Several large boats were moored on the park’s docks. By the time we arrived, the Canada Day Celebrations were underway and there were plenty of people in the park enjoying all the activities! In the park’s Gazebo children’s entertainer, Andrew Queen, was performed to the delight of the audience, big and small! After Andrew had completed his song, he introduced the Campbellford Town Crier. The Town Crier then welcomed everyone to the 2009 Canada Day celebrations. Other dignitaries spoke to the crowd and then a Canada Day birthday cake was unwrapped. We were all invited to joined in and enjoy a piece of cake. We were then off to Hastings!

Hasting’s Canada Day Celebrations

We traveled back east to the Village of Hastings. Their Canada Day Celebrations were in full swing! Hastings is picturesque village located along the Trent River (part of the Trent-Severn Waterway). We found a convenient parking spot and then walked down to the town’s riverside park. The park was filled with people who were enjoying Canada Day entertainment. When we arrived, a country singer and her band were in the park’s gazebo and were just completing their performance. Once they had finished their final song, a new group of musicians began setting up their equipment. This was a young lively group who sang and fiddled to the immense enjoyment of the audience. People were clapping and dancing to their music. There was even a couple in a motorboat dancing the rhythm of the fiddles! We slipped away and walked back to our car.

We had a wonderful day. It was great to see how other communities enjoyed their Canada Day Celebrations. We planned on visiting other Ontario communities next year!