Summer sun brings with it loads of visitors to the various Yukon campgrounds, especially on the long weekends. Those folks joining the campers for the Canada Day long weekend will be missing out! On July 1, Canada is celebrating its 150th birthday. The festivities, therefore, will be 150 times bigger than they have been in the past.
There is a lot happening this year, but there are a few gold nuggets that are the must-see-and-do’s.
This FREE event is for all ages and has something for everyone. Free and extended transit through the City of Whitehorse bus system will get you to and from Shipyards Park without the hassle of finding a parking spot. This would also be a great time to bike down and take the bus home, as you’ve probably been meaning to do since the sun came out.
Festivities start at 9 a.m. and continue non-stop at Shipyards Park until 11:30 p.m. There are three main areas where you can take in the entertainment:
The Riverfront stage, which will house the opening and citizenship ceremonies, Commissioner awards, the CIBC Stand for Canada program, plus musical acts and performance artists featuring Juno award winner July Talk.
The Kid Zone has the Aurora stage, the Yukon Sourdough Rendezvous Prince and Princess Competition, and free family-friendly workshops;
The Community Commons has the new Cultural Connect Festival tent programmed in partnership with the Multicultural Centre of the Yukon where you’ll experience the amazing cultural mosaic Whitehorse has to offer, learn about something new happening in your communities, plus a marketplace to scope out a little trinket to buy; and kid friendly firefighter fun zones.
The day starts at 9 a.m. with the annual Knights of Columbus pancake breakfast, where you will be serenaded by long-time Yukon artists Hank Karr and the Canucks. The breakfast is by donation. After eating your fill, walk off breakfast by heading over to Main Street to watch the parade, starting at 11 a.m.
The parade, one of the annual highlights of Canada Day, is put on by the Royal Canadian Legion, Branch 254 who have organized a spectacular visual display of Canadian pride that you won’t want to miss. You’ll see the Commissioner of the Yukon, the Member of Parliament, the Mayor of Whitehorse and many more dignitaries on parade alongside colourful and interactive floats. The parade starts on Main and 4th will flow down Main Street and Second Ave, ending at Shipyards Park.
Follow the parade to the Opening Ceremonies, starting at noon at Shipyards Park. The Commissioner will hand out awards and welcome new citizens to the Canadian family. Be a part of CIBC’s Stand for Canada program, which aims to unite the community to bring to life to what we stand for as Canadians.
Enjoy lunch from the many food vendors. There is something for everyone, from hot dogs to shawarmas to Filipino delicacies. Food vendors will be open for business all day, so mix it up with something different for dinner!
Activities get started at 1 p.m. around Shipyards Park. The Kids Zone features five free workshops, aimed at children of all ages. You can explore everything from making a DIY Operation game with Yukonstruct, to creating swans out of recycled material with artist Leslie Leong.
While you are there, look towards the Aurora stage to see performances from Marc Albert, Lara Lewis and even bhangra dancing with Gurdeep Pandher.
Wandering face painters will come to you, so you don’t lose your spot in any lineups.
If you want to try something different, head over the parking lot where the Community Commons area plays host to the Cultural Connect Festival, marketplace and Firefighter Fun Zone.
The Riverfront stage will feature local, national and international acts all day long. At 2 p.m., the Riverfront stage opens with the Inuvik Drummers and Dancers presented in partnership with the Adäka Festival. Brought together in 1989 by a younger generation of adult Inuvialuit, this group was inspired by the elders of the original Mackenzie Delta Drummers and Dancers. Other groups to check out include:
Award-winning Canadian indie rock group July Talk headlining the event at 10:30 p.m.
Adäka special guests, the Te Arawa Waka, who are haka dancers from New Zealand;
Vision Quest, an award-winning First Nations Hip Hop group consisting of MC’s Nick Johnson, Yudii Mercredi and DJ Mackenzie Smith aka MK Ultra);
Local French hit band Soir de Semaine;
Local acts Patrick Jacobson Band, The Midnight Sons, The Ukes of Hazard, The Quiet Revolution and more.
By 12:30 a.m. you will have had a full day, so grab the free bus and head on home for some well-deserved rest.
Things to Make Your Canada Day Even More Special
Plan to take the free transit, as there will be only accessible parking at the park.
Bring cash for food and trinkets.
Download the schedule of events at Whitehorse.ca or check the map and schedule printed in the June 21 issue of What’s Up Yukon.
Bring a water bottle to fill up at the water station.