A different Canada Day
By Chad Ingram
Canada Day is the biggest day of the year in Minden, and so it’s strange that this year, a tradition that is so familiar to so many of us will not unfold.
Amid the COVID-19 crisis, the Township of Minden Hills has of course and rightfully cancelled its annual Canada Day celebration, an event that typically brings hundreds upon hundreds of residents and visitors into the village’s downtown each July 1.
many, probably most, of this publication’s readers will know, that
celebration starts fairly early in the morning with a kids’ fishing
derby along the Gull River. That fishing derby comes replete with some
pretty sweet prizes, courtesy of local businesses.
There is a singing of O Canada and a musical performance in the parking lot at Minden Auto Care. It’s there that speeches and a celebratory cake cutting also take place.
Along a blockaded Water Street, near its intersection with Bobcaygeon Road, are tents operated by vendors and non-profit organizations. Further down Water Street, beyond its intersection with Milne, an assortment of classic cars line the roadway down to its intersection with St. Germaine.
Excitement and attendance builds toward the noon hour, when registration for the day’s main event – the Crazy River Raft Race – gets underway at Rotary Park. Teams comprised of family members and friends take off in homemade rafts, vying to be the first to cross the finish line, which is the Sunnybrook Bridge, “the bridge,” that allows Bobcaygeon Road to traverse the Gull River in the heart of Minden’s downtown. Along the way, racers are cheered on by hundreds of onlookers, many of them clad and painted in patriotic red and white. The raft race is followed by the rubber duck race, after which someone will head home with a slightly thicker wallet. The day is capped by an evening fireworks display at the fairgrounds.
It is a day of camaraderie and jubilation. It is a day of community spirit.
This year, of course, none of these things will come to fruition. Canada Day in Minden will be a shadow of its usual self, as we all continue to take the necessary precautions to keep one another safe during the COVID-19 crisis. Days at the dock, physically distanced backyard barbecues and Zoom get-togethers will replace a massive street party.
however, doesn’t mean we can’t still come together in some capacity.
The federal government, through Heritage Canada, is hosting a virtual
Canada Day celebration, which will be available at https://www.canada.ca/en/
The Township of Minden Hills is holding a Canada Day photo contest, and rules and submission forms can be found at https://mindenhills.ca/events/
Hopefully, before too long, we will find ourselves celebrating along Water Street once again.
Happy Canada Day, everybody.