Sun draws crowds to Hatley
The Hatley Canada Day parade route was packed with people on Sunday, all seeming to enjoy the parade which was a long one this year. So many horses showed up that organizers really had their hands full getting them lined up behind the Hatley United Church before the start.
Floatmakers got creative with the parade theme, Canada Then and
Now. A shiny, new green John Deere towing a rusty brown 1929 Farmall was a good example of that. “My tractor usually starts but this morning it wouldn’t!” explained the Farmall’s owner, Francis Fecteau of Compton. One hay wagon float featuring farmstead items from yesterday and today had the perfect finishing touch: two young boys walked behind it, one dressed in today’s worksuit while the other was dressed in old overalls. The floats that took home cash prizes were: the De Boer Family, CAB RH Rediker, Amanda and Joe Hamel Nursery, Hatley United Church, Mccully Clan, Hatley 4H, Universalist United Sunday School, Cole Bradley and the Jeanson Family, Shazamfest, the Firewood Boys and the Stanstead Rednecks.
Former radio personality Royal Orr and David Price, the president of the Borough of Lennoxville, shared the emceeing duties during the Opening Ceremony at the Gazebo at noon, following the parade. The Mayor of Hatley, Jacques de Leseleuc, was the first elected official to address the crowd that had gathered: “We welcome all citizens, visitors, maybe some from the United States, we have a big welcome for you. We congratulate the organizers for their devoted effort in making such a successful event. Happy Birthday Canada!” “As Canadians we share and enjoy a level of freedom and tolerance that is not better anywhere on earth,” said Orford MNA Pierre Reid who spoke next.
“Isn’t it a great day? This is awesome to see,” said NDP Compton-Stanstead MP Jean Rousseau as he looked out over the crowd. “Be sure and vote. Voting is something precious and some people have paid with their blood so you can vote,” said Mr. Rousseau who was perhaps thinking of the possible upcoming pro- vincial election since the next federal election is a long way away.
The Opening Ceremony really got lively next as Mr. Rousseau, who is also a musician, got ready to sing “O Canada”. “I’m going to sing it the way I learnt to sing it on
Hockey Night in Canada,” joked Mr. Rousseau. He and Mr. Reid, who were also joined by Hatley mayor Jacques de Leseleuc and Ayer’s Cliff mayor Alex Van Zuiden, then enthusiastically sang the first half of the National Anthem in French, finishing in English.
The North Country Swingers ‘pulled out all the stops’ for their square-dancing demonstration this year, hiring a popular square dance caller from the Montreal area, Corey Lowden, to call the dances for them as they twirled around the pavement in front of the gazebo. There was no shortage of contestants for the Children’s Games that took place on the grass in the middle of the Commons. After all, the first, second and third placed finishers walk off with cash prizes that can add up. Hatley children seem to do quite well in the Children’s Games which include foot races, threelegged races, sack races, down on all four races, and the tug-of-war. Rumour has it that they practice during the year in preparation for those traditional competitions that return every year!
The fireworks, provided by the municipality of Hatley, ended the celebrations in the evening.
The flag-waving at Hatley’s Canada Day starts at a young age!
Waving flags during the Hatley Canada Day Parade were (l. to r.) John Maguire, from Toronto, Noah Knapp, from Stanstead, and his grandfather Barry Deadman, from Sawyerville.
These four, MNA Pierre Reid, Ayer’s Cliff mayor Alex Van Zuiden, Hatley mayor Jacques de Leseleuc and NDP MP Jean Rousseau, sounded so good singing “O Canada” they could start their own foursome!
The Sherbrooke Shriners are a perennial favourite at the Hatley Canada day Parade.