By Ron Giofu
A new festival is on its way to Amherstburg this summer in recognition of Canada 150.
From July 1 to Aug. 13, the Ontario 150 Tour will travel to six Ontario ports starting in Toronto, then on to Owen Sound, Sault Ste. Marie, Midland, Amherstburg, and finishing in Brockville. Amherstburg’s event will take place Aug. 5-6 and will be known as the “Canuck It Up!” festival.
In collaboration, Fort Malden National Historic Site of Canada will present the Tall Ship Appledore V and a “Raiders, Rebels and Redcoats” re-enactment that takes place at the Fort and in the streets that same weekend.
Manager of tourism and culture Anne Rota said the new event came about through the successful submission of a co-op grant application and in collaboration with lead organization – Water’s Edge Festival and Events based out of Toronto.
“Amherstburg is the only municipality in southwestern Ontario to be included in this commemorative tour, thus maximizing impact for visitation and economic benefit for the town,” she said.
Calling it a 150th “signature event,” Rota compared it to the Roots to Boots Festival in 2012 and the Sails to See Festival in 2013.
“We’re anticipating about 25,000 people to visit our town Aug. 5-6,” she said. “This event will be fun and everything Canadian. We just want to celebrate all the good things about Canada and about Amherstburg.”
Multiculturalism, inclusivity and participation will be the overarching themes of the event, she added. Highlights of the festival include Rhythm of the Nation; an interactive street dance and musical performance centered on nationally-renowned street artist DJ Creeasian. This artistic piece was written specifically for Canada 150.
There will also be “n action packed” West Coast Lumberjack Show, the world’s largest rubber duck in support of Ducks Unlimited Canada, the Amherstburg Farmers and Craft Market, local performances of all genres, a Kids Fun Zone and more.
All activities will be free and souvenirs, such as Canada 150 t-shirts and caps, will be available at the Gordon House.
Rota said the town anticipates the town to be full of activities that weekend.
“It’s going to be high energy and high fun,” she said.
The event is being recognized as a major festival locally for the Canada 150 celebrations and could be one of several this year.
“We’re always proud that Amherstburg seems to be the epicentre for large scale community events,” she said.
The Canada 150 red and white tulips, planted in the King’s Navy Yard Park last fall, should also be blooming soon and the town encourages people to come down to the park and view the tulips when they are in full bloom.