Lacombians got out early to celebrate Canada’s 152nd birthday before the weather literally put a damper on festivities.
A free pancake breakfast in the Co-op parking lot on Monday morning – complete with musical entertainment, face painting and a coin sand pile for the kids -0 was the biggest attraction, drawing hundreds of citizens in the morning while the sun was still out.
Shortly after, festivities moved downtown to the Royal Canadian Legion Branch No. 79 for the Colour Guard march and the annual flag raising ceremony, where dignitaries payed tribute to those who who have served and shaped the country.
“Every year on July 1, we celebrate the people, the history, the institutions and values that have helped shape our country. Canada Day presents a unique opportunity for each and every one of us to proudly acknowledge and celebrate our rich heritage, our democratic values and support our diversity and multiculturalism,” said City of Lacombe Mayor Grant Creasey during his speech. “This year we also mark the 75th anniversary of D-Day and the Battle of Normandy. This is often described as when Canada came of age – one of the best known chapters of a dark time in (WWII) and our brave Canadian service members, including those from Lacombe, paid a pivotal role in this campaign.
“Let us never forget their heroic struggle and sacrifice against the forces of hate and intolerance in what proved to be a hard-won victory.”
The city has had its fair share of veterans in both world wars, Vietnam, Korea, and more recently in Afghanistan. Just a few of those veterans were on hand during the ceremony, but one was Legion executive member John Mellon, where serving in the Canadian Armed Forces runs in the family.
“My dad was in the First World War – he was wounded at Vimy Ridge. I have followed in his suit; I joined up for Korea – I don’t have any war medals, but I’m still in service,” he said. “It’s home, it’s always been home. I’ve been all over Canada…It’s a big country when you get out there and I thoroughly enjoy going out and seeing it.
“To me, it’s the best county in the world and I think it’s well worth fighting for, as our ancestors have done.”
Afternoon celebrations were focused on heritage, with all of Lacombe’ museums open, including blacksmithing demonstrations at the Blacksmith Shop Museum, as well as crafts, lawn games and a petting zoo at Michener House Museum. Events at Michener House were cut short, however, as rain and gusts of wind blew through the community around 1 p.m.
The Lacombe Market at Cranna Lake, as well as concerts from Mike Szabo and the Nova Scotiables would go ahead, but wind gusts would ultimately force the cancellation of the annual fireworks.