Amherstburg celebrates Canada’s 151st birthday

 

By Jonathan Martin

 

A sea of red and white swarmed Amherstburg’s downtown core last Sunday to take part in the town’s annual Canada Day festivities.

The celebration was split between Fort Malden National Historic Site of Canada and the Treats N’ Eats festival at Austin “Toddy” Jones Park.

The day kicked off with more than 2,000 runners streaming through the streets in the Canada D’Eh five kilometre run and concluded with a shoreline packed with onlookers enjoying the annual fireworks display.

In an address to festivalgoers at the start of the day, Amherstburg mayor Aldo DiCarlo thanked some of those responsible for putting on the massive festival.

Fireworks explode over the Detroit River as thousands watch from the shoreline during Canada Day celebrations
Sunday night in Amherstburg.

“First, I’d like to recognize the members of council here today,” he said.  “I’d like to thank all the town employees who worked quietly behind the scenes to ensure the day goes off without a hitch.  Primarily, but not entirely, these are the people in the tourism department, the parks department and, this year, to keep things cool, even the fire department joined in to spray down the runners this morning.  This event wouldn’t even get started without their dedication.

“Second, I’d like to thank the staff of Fort Malden for providing us with the most beautiful backdrop in the region.

“Third, I’d like to thank Chris and Debbie Uszynski and their team at RunningFlat for kicking off the day’s festivities.  Year after year they spend the day before setting up and then spend most of Canada Day tearing down.  We are very fortunate that they have kept this event in Amherstburg, as I can’t imagine Canada Day without the Canada D’Eh Run.

“Of course, we also have to thank the day’s volunteers.  It takes a great many people to put on this event and many of them are doing it for nothing.  At least, nothing but knowing they are doing their community a great service, which is the biggest reason we are so grateful.”

DiCarlo went on to name a long list of people involved in the day’s events by name, lauded the spirit of the town and expressed his best wishes for Amherstburg’s visitors before handing the mic over to Essex Member of Parliament Tracey Ramsey.

Ramsey took a different note in her address.

Stefan Coutu of Windsor plays Quidditch with his grandmother, Beth Dubeault.

She began by recounting her attendance at a citizenship ceremony earlier in the day.

“I stood proudly beside them and took that oath,” she said.  “Take a chance today as a family or by yourself to say that oath, to reaffirm your oath to Canada and the commitment that we have to our beautiful country.”

Ramsey went on to ask her listeners to “show (their) patriotism” through their purchasing power.  Canada returned fire last week in the so-called trade war the United States began by slapping duties on Canadian goods such as aluminum and steel.  Ottawa announced financial aid packages for affected Canadian industries and put its own tariffs in place amounting to $16.6 billion.

Rebecca Mickle sings as part of the Canada Day celebrations held at Fort Malden National Historic Site of Canada.

The dispute has brought out increasingly nationalist tones in Canada’s politicians, as well as declarations of solidarity with Canadian industry.  On the same day Ramsey spoke at Fort Malden, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau visited Leamington.

Southwestern Ontario is an area that will be particularly affected by the ongoing trade dispute, since its industries use and manufacture items that are being heavily taxed.

Ramsey said the Canada Day celebrations mark an opportunity for Canadians to make a change.

“Over this next year, I challenge us all to support one another and buy Canadian,” she said.

 

 

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