Gyro Park was awash in a sea of red and white on Monday. The laughter and music echoing throughout the downtown, as thousands gathered to celebrate Canada’s 146th birthday.
For much of the day and long into the night, the revelry continued, as young and old, shared the joy of living in such a wonderful country.
“Canada is an amazing place and we should never forget just how good we have it here,” said Paul Lamoureux, who is in the Peach City with a group of friends from the coast. “The freedoms that we have to go wherever we want, whenever we want is the message we want to send to our kids. Right now they only see what’s in front of them but one day we want them to understand that as Canadians.
“When they get older the kids will remember coming to Penticton every year and the reason we celebrated Canada Day.”
Standing with three-year-old Ryleigh Lucas perched on his shoulders he couldn’t help but laugh at the kids dancing to the music in front of the stage.
“This is all about them,” he said. “A lot of people take it for granted because they don’t know any different but when you get out in this big world of ours and you see how little other people have and just how great our country is, I can’t help but feel blessed every time I come home.”
Someone else at the park with a youngster in tow was David Snyder, who was with his grandson Jonny Snyder. David is the father of Jonathan Snyder the Canadian soldier who died in Afghanistan in 2008. Jonny is named after his uncle and is the son of Adam Snyder. David agreed with the importance of instilling a sense of patriotism in kids at an early age.
“This is important,” he said sitting in the shade at a picnic bench. “This is nice to see lots of people out, it is a family day and it’s nice to see a lot of children out with their dads and grandfathers.”
The day’s festivities began in the morning with the pancake breakfast with acting Penticton Mayor Garry Litke demonstrating his flipping prowess and kicked into high gear at noon with the cutting of the giant Canada Day cake.
Former city council colleagues MP Dan Albas and recently-elected MLA and former Penticton mayor Dan Ashton joined the other volunteers in dishing up the sweets.
As in past celebrations, the night ended with a bang with the fireworks exhibition at the Lakeside Resort.
For video of Canada Day celebrations in Gyro Park in Penticton click here.