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Wellington celebrates Canada Day on the ground and in the sky

Story and photos by Sharon Harrison
It was a familiar Canada Day streetscape in Wellington and a celebratory mood for the long-time tradition each July 1st as Main Street transforms into a sea of people, and an ocean of red and white.

The people came out in droves, bringing happy smiles and infectious laughter and the weather more than co-operated as the sun shone down on Wellington this Canada Day under a cloudless sky, as the country marked its 157th birthday, where Canada flags from the tiniest to giant versions came at every glance.

But it was the parade everyone came to see and experience, and one that never disappoints, as it wound its way from the arena, down Belleville Street and west along Main before heading back to the arena staging area via Consecon Street.

Leading the parade was the Napanee and District Caledonian Pipe Band, along with the Wellington on the Lake Residents’ Association, the County Ukulele Band, the Prince Edward SxS ATV Riders, sponsors Wellington Rotary,  99.3 County FM, and members of Prince Edward Fire and Rescue among them, together with an assortment of automobiles, some old enough to be from another era, some colourful, and some just different.

And yes, the Cherry Valley Frasers and their remarkable vintage vehicle made it to the parade, because no parade is complete without the family presence.

Bay of Quinte MPP Todd Smith, County mayor Steve Ferguson and Hillier councillor Chris Braney were all spotted in the parade, with Bay of Quinte MP Ryan Williams on foot handing out flags.

The largest, and noisiest, parade participant could be found skyward in the form of a humongous CC-130J Hercules aircraft, courtesy of the Royal Canadian Air Force base at Trenton who undertook a flypast for the occasion. The plane flew the length of the parade route, and later impressively banked along the shoreline, and while its speed was a little too fast for some to see it (along with dense tree cover in places), it circled back, returning a few times, much to the delight of onlookers.

While Canada Day activities and musical entertainment enjoyed in past years after the parade, in the park and at the school, were off the schedule this year, leaving a gaping hole in the afternoon’s celebrations, the park was still full, with many grabbing lunch from the numerous markets vendors next door.

The usual Saturday market was popular and came with a little live music to keep folks entertained, and where scrumptious local fresh strawberries were the focus at the United Church folks who once again had their famous, and very popular, Canada Day strawberry social, where strawberries and ice cream were dished up, along with cake.

Lunch on the lawn provided by the Anglican Church was also popular, as was the sale of thrift items from the What-Not-Shop with books, games, house wares and the like up for grabs for just a donation. And Friends of the Wellington Library also held their annual used book sale.

The ever-popular adventure playground in the park was a hit with all little ones, and the stony beach with low water levels meant paddling was made easier for the smallest paddlers, where others were kept occupied climbing the bare rocks, while some skipped stones on the big lake which was as calm as a mill pond.

Other Canada Day long weekend events held across the County included the equally-famous and much-enjoyed street dance in Wellington Sunday, followed by a fireworks display, along with a chicken barbecue at the Wellington Legion.

Canada Day was also enjoyed at Benson Park on Monday with a variety of activities and fun for the whole family, including live music, games, a dog show and a dunk tank. Armoury Square had kids’ crafts, and for those who still wanted to dance the day away, Picton Legion was the place to be with the Reasons performing.

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  1. Welly guy says:

    great day I used to be on some of the committees that bring us celebrations and I know it upsets people that there may not be fireworks somewhere or a parade or games but the reality is the cost fireworks probably cost Wellington close to $15,000 or more this year plus all the volunteers time. It is alot and I swear we get a deal from Mystical the fireworks supplier. There is just not enough money anymore not enough volunteers just not enough of that old county get the job done attitude.

  2. Gary says:

    Oh there were flags flying in Picton on every lamp post,just not Canada’s flags!

  3. Brenda Little says:

    As the organizer and grand Marshall of the parade, I’d like to applaud the Wellington Rotary, a major sponsor for the parade. Funds this year were scarce so park activities were out of the question.

  4. angela says:

    Kudos to Wellington for a wonderful Canada Day celebration. It put the half-hearted efforts of Picton, the county town, to shame. Very sad that few flags were flying on Picton’s Main Street and there was no parade and no fireworks – almost a non-event.

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