Red Grossinger figures Canada Day is one of the most meaningful events for a community to share together.
He has been organizing Canada Day in Whitehorse for some 15 years and along with entertainment producer Lauren Tuck, and the rest of the Canada Day committee, he aims to create a celebration that encompasses Canadians of all stripes.
“First of all we present it bilingually, in French and English,” Grossinger says. “Then we have a number of musicians that are French, English, First Nations, Filipino — there’s quite a mix. The entire program is based on showing that we are Canadians of various backgrounds. This is for all Canadians. This is why I figure this is one of the most important celebrations there is.”
Canada Day in Whitehorse will offer a mix of the outdoors, art, food and drink all taking place at Shipyards Park on July 1. The event is free to attend, but you are on the hook for any foodstuffs or libations.
Opening ceremonies will be at noon, following a parade to Shipyards Park at 11 a.m. Wall-to-wall musical entertainment takes place from noon to 6 p.m. This is in addition to a beach (well, grass) volleyball tournament, a rubber duck race, firefighting demonstrations, and a food court.
In short, a lot of events for a wide variety of interests.
And Grossinger has noticed that Whitehorse residents enthusiastically connect with the community through an abundance of sports and arts activities.
“I never saw a town with so much going on,” says Grossinger. “It’s probably because of the type of people that we have. Most people here enjoy the outdoors, and at the same time we enjoy the arts as well. Almost everyone is involved in something. And you don’t see that in big cities, you don’t see that at all. You don’t see that anywhere else.”
Grossinger, a Montreal native, fell in love with the place while serving with the Canadian Military here in the early ’80s. After 30 years of service he retired in Whitehorse.
With a rich Quebec accent and easy laugh, Grossinger’s manner belies the organizational task in front of him.
“It’s not easy at all,” Grossinger says. “We’re lucky that we have a tremendous amount of volunteers from the Legion. Our main thing is to find enough money to make it happen, and with them we don’t have to pay for parade directors, security, that sort of thing.”
The Heritage Department, the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 254, the Elks Lodge 306 and the city of Whitehorse all sponsor Canada Day celebrations.
Festivities will end at 6 p.m. in order, Grossinger says, to allow people time to get to other celebrations they may be having. Ultimately, he feels that this is an event that will allow people to have a great time while reminding each other of the connection they share in being Canadian.
“This is why we have Canada Day — this is why we have to show that we are true patriots — and there’s only one anthem, regardless of what language a person sings it in. Still the meaning is the same.”
See page 6 for a full schedule of events.