By Mike Anderson
Georgina residents were happy to put the pandemic in the rear-view mirror, as hundreds showed up to celebrate Canada Day on July 1.
York-Simcoe MP Scot Davidson’s free Canada Day BBQ at the Georgina Pioneer Village was followed by the Town’s festivities at the ROC, which featured live bands, beer gardens, and activities for kids, culminating with a spectacular fireworks display at 10 p.m.
Most people were just glad to gather again as a community and express their appreciation for Canada.
“I think it’s wonderful,” said Risa Brazil from Willow Beach.
“We are standing up for our beautiful country and getting shivers again.”
“After two years of not having in-person events, it’s fabulous to be back in person at the rock with so many people, entertainment, music, and volunteers,” said Mayor Margaret Quirk.
“It means a lot to me, in terms of the spirit of the community, the spirit of our country, the freedoms that we enjoy.”
“We have to acknowledge our Indigenous communities as well. That there’s a history that we have to learn, and there’s a path of reconciliation that we need to continue on.”
“It’s vital for the community to get together in person, especially to celebrate joyous and happy occasions. This is what brings us together. And, this is what unites us,” added Rabbi Yossi Vorovitch, who brought his three children, aged 3,4 and 5, to Canada Day at The ROC.
“I brought them out today for them to experience what Canada is about; how we all get together with unity and respect for one another.”
At his BBQ, Davidson stressed our veterans’ role in defending Canada and our rights and freedoms.
He introduced James Parks, 97, a WW2 veteran who landed with the Royal Winnipeg Rifles on D-Day at Juno Beach on June 6, 1944.
Parks, who now lives in Mount Albert, reminded the crowd that thousands of Canadian soldiers gave up their lives to keep Canada free.
“We’re here because of the many people before us who helped preserve our community and Canada,” he said.
“There has always been pressure to disrupt our society. But I have a lot of faith in Canadians, regular people on the street. They are the people that come forward. They answer the call.”
The event’s highlight was a flyover by an RCAF CC-130J Hercules aircraft from 436 Transport Squadron at 8 Wing in Trenton.
Later at the ROC, Davidson quoted Wilfred Laurier, Canada’s seventh prime minister (1896 to 1911).
“He was asked, what is Canada to you? And his response was simple. Canada is free, and freedom is its nationality,” Davidson said.
“The promise and opportunities here in Canada are something that many of us take for granted. And if you look at what’s happening in Ukraine and Afghanistan right now, it’s a strong reminder of how fortunate we are to be able to call this country home and why we must always safeguard Canadian values.”
York-Simcoe MPP Caroline Mulroney echoed the importance of celebrating Canadian values.
“Canada’s about freedom. It’s about the freedom to be who you are, the freedom to worship the way you want, and the freedom to work hard — to achieve your dreams,” she said.
“Today is our opportunity to celebrate those values and to recognize the remarkable contributions of our diverse community.”
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