It was a wet and soggy Canada Day in Amherst, but that didn’t deter area residents from celebrating.
Heavy rains over the weekend and on July 1 itself forced Amherst Recreation Department staff to move the planned festivities from Victoria Square downtown to the Amherst Stadium.
Vendors set up inside the stadium while there were bouncy castles and other games both inside and outside the arena – along with numerous food opportunities.
“The spirit of this town is amazing,” Mayor David Kogon said.
Kogon said people sometimes take Canada for granted. He told the story of a childhood friend, who is now a judge and was recently at a conference in Tanzania.
“When he met some of the stakeholders in their criminal justice system and they found out he is from Canada a few came up and discussed their having been to Canada and that their favourite place in Canada is Nova Scotia,” Kogon said. “The thing that got me was how impressed they were with the hospitality, warmth, kindness, generosity, tolerance, acceptance and interest with learning about other customs and cultures when visiting Canada. He said it was his proudest day to be a Canadian.”
Kogon acknowledged the absence of former recreation director Bill Schurman who recently left his position to return to Prince Edward Island to be with his family.
“Bill is not here in body, but he’s certainly here in spirit,” said the mayor, who was wearing a jacket that definitely had a Canadian theme that was adorned with Canadian flags in the shape of moose.
Cumberland County Deputy Warden Joe van Vulpen commented on the spirit shown by the community in the recent situation involving Bailey Chitty, who was one of two Canadian women rescued from a short captivity in Ghana.
“When I think of Canada Day, I think of the things that have happened recently that to my family is really special because when you come home to Canada from abroad you come home to where it’s safe and one of the most beautiful countries in the world,” van Vulpen said. “We’re very fortunate to have that.”
He also pointed out the numerous attractions Canada has to offer as well as those in Nova Scotia and Cumberland County, starting in Amherst and going around the Bay of Fundy – parts of which could become a UNESCO geopark by next summer.
“In Cumberland County and Colchester, we’re looking at an international geopark. Right here in Cumberland County we have just as much to offer on an international stage as anywhere in the world and we’re very close to getting that designation,” he said. “What a difference that will make for Cumberland County and Amherst.”
Also participating were Margaret Smith from the Lord Amherst Chapter of the IODE and Treeva Hebb from the Tantramar Chapter of the IODE as well as members of Branch 10 of the Royal Canadian Legion, the Amherst Police Department, Amherst Fire Department and Cumberland RCMP.
Members of town council were also on hand to hand out cake.
Fireworks were cancelled that night and will be held at another date later this summer.