June 26, 2015 - 9:16 AM
The Canada Day celebrations at Kamloops Riverside Park have to be some of the best in the country. With a pancake breakfast, free cake, Art in the Park, live music all day, and ending with fireworks, there is something for everyone. The water park and river to cool off in, which we will totally need this year, are bonuses. The thousands who show up are testament to Kamloops knowing how to celebrate our country.
Of all the things which will happen on Canada Day in Riverside Park, I would say the very best thing will happen at 9 a.m. at the Rotary Bandshell. Long before the main events of the day, long before the politicians say their speeches, and long before there are lengthy lineups at all the concessions, the most important event of the day will happen.
At 9 a.m. on July 1 at the Rotary Bandshell, immigrants to Canada will be sworn in as new Canadians. Wonderful for them, wonderful for their families and friends, and wonderful for the rest of us too.
Western Canada has only had non-First Nations settlements of any numbers for just over 125 years. Most people in Kamloops who aren’t First Nations are either recent immigrants or can trace their arrival to Canada back only a few generations. I am no different. My mother, all my grandparents, and most of my aunts and uncles all immigrated to Canada. Most non-First Nations people I know are just as newly arrived to Canada as I am.
Successive waves of immigrants from different parts of the world contribute to Kamloops. Some immigrants to Kamloops are doctors, professors at Thompson Rivers University, software programmers at local hi-tech startups, and business owners. Some work in the local sawmills, others for the railways and mines. They give back as community volunteers as well.
While people come to Canada as immigrants, once they are sworn in as Canadians, they aren’t immigrants anymore. They are Canadians.
Anyone who is motivated enough to leave behind their homeland to come to an unknown place is willing to try new things and take risks to succeed. I believe that spurs new arrivals on to strive harder and give back more.
So if you have a chance on July 1, take the time to welcome some fellow Canadians. Go to Kamloops Riverside Park’s Rotary Bandshell at 9 a.m. on Canada Day and be part of their swearing-in ceremony. Say hello to some new Canadians. We’re lucky to have them call Kamloops home.
On Canada Day, celebrate one of the things that makes Canada a great country. Celebrate new Canadians.
— Nancy Bepple is a recovering politician and local news junkie. She expects she will never recover from her love of the banjo.
News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2015