By John Swartz
Orillia’s Canada Day at the recreation center still had a lot of people on hand in the final half hour of activates.
Event chair Brian Hare was busy cleaning up the eating area, careful to leave the few lonely pieces of Mariposa Market birthday cake in view for stragglers to have. Kids were swimming and knocking themselves out in the inflatable toys part of the divided gymnasium. In the other half of the gym about 20 kids were racing each other in cars, some motorized, and shooting hoops
“The turnout was pretty good,’ said Hare. “It was probably the most people we’ve ever had for the opening ceremonies. The Pancake Breakfast was very successful; we sold out of sausage and pancakes. We had lots of kids for the The Wheely Great Parade, it went quite well.
The event was moved from Couchiching Beach Park this year because of road construction and the committee struggled to find an alternative location that would accommodate the traditional midway and fireworks at one site. That was not to be. The midway was cancelled for this year (fortunately the midway company expressed the desire to return next year) and the fireworks happened at Tudhope Park. Because of activities booked at the Orillia Recreation Centre for July 2, the committee had to curtail the daytime part of the event at 2 p.m. so staff could clean up (and there was a lot to clean up) and be ready for Sunday.
“It went very well. It was a bit chaotic, a few hiccups and whatnot, but other than that we got things rolling nicely,” said Hare.
Meanwhile Charles Pachter had a Canada Day open house at his studio/gallery on Western Avenue during the afternoon. He showed several new paintings, including a recently completed one of Gordon Lightfoot.
Couchiching Craft Brewing closed their parking lot, set up picnic benches, an outdoor stage and invited community groups like the Orillia Museum of Art and History to set up booths. OMAH partnered with Alair Homes to give kids at the family event an opportunity to contribute to an art piece which will be displayed at the museum.
Oh, it tried to rain, a little, but nobody was having any of that.
2-year-old Emma Cleaveley was happy to get one of the last pieces of birthday cake from mom, Jenny, she just wasn't as happy about having her photot taken as her 5-year-old brother, Noah was.
(Photos by Swartz – SUNonline/Orillia)