News Local

Port Hope has plans for Canada 150 celebrations

Cecilia Nasmith

By Cecilia Nasmith, Northumberland Today


The beautiful heritage aspect of Port Hope makes it a perfect place to celebrate Canada's 150th birthday, council heard last week during its committee-of-the-whole meeting.

And the report from events co-ordinator Jeannie Maidens and community-development program manager Julia Snoek outlined many ways the Parks, Recreation and Culture department is making it possible.

Visual reminders will be everywhere, with official Canada 150 flags at each facility and two portable teardrop flags on stands with the official logo available for display at special events. Parks staff are planting in reds and whites in downtown-area gardens, and the Heritage Business Improvement Area's decoration plans include complementary red-and-white hanging baskets.

The department is working together with Marketing and Tourism to support and promote an assortment of events. A banner logo has been created to brand them, and a website where you can keep up with them throughout the year (

Celebrations have already begun at the Port Hope Public Library, where they organized a series of local-history lectures in January and February.

As well, Swim Across Canada is a special Canadian challenge now going on at the Jack Burger Sports Complex, where participants can record their laps in the 25-m. pool to see if, collectively, the community can swim across Canada by July 1.

Similarly, a Wheels Across Canada Challenge will see if the young people who frequent the skate park can cross Canada as well.

The municipality is exploring the development of programs to name trails and recognize athletes, both of which will offer a platform to highlight local heritage and achievements. Its Tree Advisory Committee is working on a tree planting in a local park of 13 varieties of trees, in honour of each of Canada's province and territories.

Canada Day weekend will be a three-day celebration hosted in partnership with the Kinsmen Club of Port Hope. It begins with an outdoor movie in Memorial Park, and ends July 2 with a Canada Day demolition derby at the fairgrounds.

July 1 brings the Canada Day parade, entertainment and refreshments in Memorial Park, a spectacular fireworks show, and an invitation to the Canada Day audience to take the re-affirmation of the Citizenship Oath together.

Additional events in the report include:

• National Flag Day on Feb. 16 will incorporate a special recognition of the Canadian flag and a raising of the Canada 150 flag.

• The March 5 figure-skating club gala March 5 at the Jack Burger Sports Complex will feature local talent and all-Canadian music.

• The Amazing KIDVENTURE March Break Camp (March 13 to 17) at the Town Park Recreation Centre will include a variety of Canada 150 activities that will celebrate Canada's different regions, including a reading by local author Ted Staunton and workshops to create lighthouses, drums and a drum circle. Similar weekly themes will be offered at weekly Summer Day Camp sessions.

• Float Your Fanny Down the Ganny on April 8 will encourage crazy crafts and costumes with a Canadian theme. Spectators will be invited to dress in red and white, and special engagement activities will be offered in Fannyville and at the Kids Zone.

• The local synchronized swimmers' showcase April 30 will feature choreography with a Canadian theme.

• National Youth Week is May 1 to 7, and young people will be invited to participate in a photo contest exploring what they love about Canada.

• The Country Market and Nature Fest May 28 is an annual spring market and collectibles sale that will include shape-note singing, a nature walk and a special Canada 150 quilt display.

• Arts Festival at the Port Hope Farmers' Market Aug. 12 is an annual event that reflects the colourful mix of Northumberland's cultures by showcasing its artists' diverse skills and products. Among the hand-made Canadian products available will be the quintessential Canadian dessert — the butter tart.

• The Port Hope Fall Fair, Sept. 15 to 17, has taken Canada Eh! as its theme, with a salute to Canada's 150th anniversary at their 187th annual fair.

• Culture Days, Sept. 29 to Oct. 1, will see Port Hope events that include a participatory art piece open to all.

• The Port Hope Santa Claus parade on Nov. 25 has A Canadian Christmas as the theme for its 81st annual outing.

Announcements of other celebrations are still to come from a number of Port Hope community organizations that have received grants through the Ontario 150 Community Celebration Program.

The Port Hope Canada 150 website also has news of Canada-wide observances, such as the free Discover Pass from Parks Canada that gives free entrance to national parks, historic sites and marine-conservation areas in 2017.

The Canada 150 buzz has created a powerful nation-wide momentum, the report said.

“Residents and visitors are encouraged to explore the many offerings of the Municipality of Port Hope and connect with this energy, connect with each other and enjoy our wonderful community.”