Helicopter visit highlights Canada Day
A cake auction on the deck of Ottawa House, the Parrsboro Citizens Band playing in the yard, air cadets raising the Canada flag, and Conrad Byers in a top hat.
All the ingredients of Canada Day at the historic seaside museum were there, and the only thing missing was Parrsboro Mayor Doug Robinson, although his absence did not go unnoticed. A fly past from a naval helicopter out of Halifax in tribute to the ailing mayor was a highlight of the event.
The helicopter carried men who served with Robinson in the Royal Canadian Navy, and they visited with him at his home after landing on the beach near Partridge Island.
Speaking as Sir Charles Tupper, the Father of Confederation and former prime minister who once owned Ottawa House, Byers spoke about the historical significance of the site, and wondered what those who came before would think of the Canada of today.
"I often think, wouldn't it be great to be able to sit here on this verandah with Sir Charles Tupper, his family and friends and other Fathers of Confederation, and try to answer all their questions about what happened since the great experiment they began 142 years ago today," said Byers. "I think they would be both amazed and pleased with what became of their initial efforts of nation building."
Byers also quoted Joseph Howe, a contemporary of Tupper's and opponent of Confederation, who once spoke about the importance of a nation preserving its records, repairing its great public structures and fostering national pride and love of country.
"Today, I believe both Howe and Tupper would be pleased by our obvious efforts to celebrate our nation's achievements, preserve our nation's records and repair our great public structures... such as this historic site and the Ottawa House museum," he said.
The event also included greetings from master of ceremonies Colin Curleigh, Cumberland South MLA Murray Scott, Parrsboro deputy mayor David Harrison, and Parrsborough Shore Historical Society president Frank Hartman.
Hartman described Canada Day as a time for all Canadians to come together and proudly celebrate the values that make Canada a great nation, and to remember those Canadians fighting to spread those values around the world.
"As we look at the flag flying so proudly, not only do we see the maple leaf and the red and white colours, we also see the true meanings behind them, such as freedom, justice, respect, equality, unity, peace and accomplishment," said Hartman. "It also reminds us of those who fought and died to preserve those values."