Larger crowds at Canada Day fes­tiv­i­ties

Or­ga­nizer Allan Nathanson says chang­ing times of events in Syd­ney area were ‘com­mon-sense’ ap­proach

Cape Breton Post - - FRONT PAGE - BY CHRIS SHAN­NON

New Cana­dian Sheikh Ali brought his three young chil­dren to Neville Park in Whit­ney Pier to celebrate the coun­try’s 148th birth­day on Wed­nes­day.

Ali grad­u­ated as an in­ter­na­tional stu­dent from Cape Bre­ton Univer­sity. Once he earned his ac­count­ing cer­ti­fi­ca­tion at Saint Mary’s Univer­sity, he de­cided to raise his fam­ily in Syd­ney.

Orig­i­nally from Bangladesh, Ali was granted Cana­dian cit­i­zen­ship two years ago. He said his chil­dren be­came cit­i­zens upon their birth in Canada.

“The peo­ple here are so nice. You can stop and talk with any­one,” he said as he pushed his youngest child, Ab­dur-Rah­man Sheikh, in a stroller.

Un­like larger ur­ban ar­eas, Ali said no­body seems to be in a rush and it’s the re­laxed at­ti­tudes of so many he found at­trac­tive.

“And there’s the nat­u­ral beauty. You can drive some place 15 to 20 min­utes to get to a nice beach and see the ocean.”

A large crowd turned out for the Canada Day morn­ing cel­e­bra­tions in Neville Park.

It in­cluded a pan­cake break­fast and mu­sic, with en­ter­tain­ment for the chil­dren.

The Cape Bre­ton Re­gional Mu­nic­i­pal­ity’s recre­ation depart­ment repo­si­tioned the times for lo­cal events so there would be lit­tle, if any, over­lap, al­low­ing fam­i­lies to at­tend one event af­ter another.

Allan Nathanson, or­ga­nizer for the Neville Park Canada Day fes­tiv­i­ties, said switch­ing to an ear­lier time made sense to him and it has al­most dou­bled the num­ber of visi­tors this time. “It’s very grat­i­fy­ing,” he said. He said he’s given up try­ing to keep an of­fi­cial tally of how many peo­ple at­tended, but he be­lieved it was close to 1,000 peo­ple.

Nathanson said when the out­door break­fast be­gan at 9 a.m., he saw fam­i­lies with younger chil­dren. And that was the case through­out the morn­ing.

“If you look around here, there are all small kids. You don’t have the 10 and over — it’s all lit­tle kids, which is in­ter­est­ing,” he said.

“And so where are those kids? They’re home in bed sleep­ing in, so what you see here is all lit­tle kids, which is great.”

Ali’s two old­est, Ab­dul-Aziz Sheikh, 4, and Rukiya Sheikh, 2, were com­pet­ing for his at­ten­tion. Both wanted bal­loon an­i­mals.

One ta­ble over, two-year-old Ky­ron Phalen of Syd­ney was hav­ing his face painted so he could mas­quer­ade as a puppy dog.

Ky­ron’s mom, Natasha Gaigneur, said it was Ky­ron’s grand­mother’s idea to at­tend the fes­tiv­i­ties at Neville Park.

“We al­ways go some­where on Canada Day. We’ve tried Peters­field Park, Queen El­iz­a­beth’s Park — we go pretty much ev­ery­where,” she said.

As the Neville Park cel­e­bra­tion slowly wound day around noon, Gaigneur said her fam­ily would take in the af­ter­noon at Peters­field Pro­vin­cial Park in West­mount.

Ac­tiv­i­ties there con­tin­ued un­til 4:30 p.m. with sev­eral chil­dren’s games and en­ter­tain­ment pro­vided by the Pri­va­teers.

Edwardsville res­i­dent David Rud­der­ham spent the en­tire af­ter­noon at the park. He said it’s been a fam­ily tra­di­tion for the past 28 years.

“My girls grew up here, run­ning around play­ing with their friends and that, and also lis­ten­ing to the en­ter­tain­ment. It’s just a good place to sit down re­lax un­der a tree and have a good day with ev­ery­body,” he said.

It was a sim­i­lar story in Do­min­ion where Terri Lynn Fougere brought her three chil­dren to fes­tiv­i­ties at Hawks Field so they could en­joy a stress-free day fol­low­ing the end of the school year.

Fougere and her chil­dren Emily, 8, Han­nah, 6, and Jesse, 2, were all wrapped in the red and white of the Cana­dian flag. Emily even sported maple leaf eye­glasses.

“We al­ways dress like this. It’s the kids’ idea. They like to make their own stuff for ev­ery­thing — Hal­loween, Canada Day,” she said with a laugh.

In North Syd­ney, Canada Day cel­e­bra­tions kicked off at 4:30 p.m. in the park­ing lot be­side Emera Cen­tre North­side.

Some folks left early, in­clud­ing one woman who didn’t want to give her name, say­ing that the venue lacked the at­mos­phere of Archibald Wharf, where pre­vi­ous cel­e­bra­tions had been held. In May, the CBRM coun­cil gave fi­nal ap­proval for the con­tro­ver­sial sale of the wa­ter­front greenspace to Cana­dian Marine En­gi­neer­ing Ltd.

But the venue was of no con­cern for Glace Bay res­i­dents Brian and Jackie War­cop, who made their an­nual pil­gram­mage to the North­side for the July 1 cel­e­bra­tions.

“We come over here ev­ery year — to­day we started at In­dian Beach and then made our way over here,” said Brian, a re­tired coal miner who brought along two lawn chairs that came com­plete with roofs.

The cel­e­bra­tions moved to the Syd­ney wa­ter­front for an evening con­cert that at­tracted about 2,000 peo­ple and in­cluded per­for­mances by the Jor­dan Musyc­syn Band and the Barra MacNeils.

The evening con­cluded with a fire­works dis­play over Syd­ney har­bour.

CHRIS SHAN­NON/CAPE BRE­TON POST

Sheikh Ali of Syd­ney took his three young chil­dren to Neville Park in Whit­ney Pier to en­joy the games and ac­tiv­i­ties Wed­nes­day morn­ing. Ali, sec­ond from right, is with his chil­dren, from left, Ab­dur-Rah­man Sheikh, Ab­dul-Aziz Sheikh and Rukiya Sheikh. Ali is orig­i­nally from Bangladesh but re­ceived Cana­dian cit­i­zen­ship two years ago.

CHRIS SHAN­NON/CAPE BRE­TON POST

All dressed for the oc­ca­sion of Canada’s 148th birth­day, Do­min­ion res­i­dent Terri Lynn Fougere and her kids donned the red and white with a few flag and maple leaf ac­ces­sories to match. Fougere’s chil­dren, from left, are Han­nah, 6, Jesse, 2, and Emily, 8, and they took in Canada Day ac­tiv­i­ties at Hawks Field in Do­min­ion on Wed­nes­day.

DAVID JALA/CAPE BRE­TON POST

While most of the large crowd at Syd­ney’s wa­ter­front cel­e­bra­tions lis­tened to the live en­ter­tain­ment, one-year-old Tarin­abo John found that her Cana­dian flag made an ideal toy.

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