VERNON – The Canada Day celebrations in Vernon this year includes what promises to be an emotionally charged moment.
The City of Vernon is unveiling the new Patrick Nicol memorial in Polson Park, the venue for the annual festivities. Mr. Canada Day, as Nicol was known, died earlier this year after a long battle with cancer.
After feedback from the community, city councillors decided to create an area of Polson Park called Patrick’s Gathering Place. It will feature benches and a memorial plaque. A formal dedication ceremony will be held at 1 p.m. with Nicol’s brother John Nicol on hand.
Planning for this year’s Canada Day events was tough for the committee in the wake of Nicol’s death.
“This year is proving to be a challenge without Patrick's leadership and guidance but we are hoping the community will support us in helping make this year a special tribute in his memory,” the committee’s vice chair Ken Barker said in a letter to the city.
The Canada celebration kicks off at 10 a.m. in Polson Park with opening prayer from a member of the Okanagan Indian Band.
The family friendly event includes lots of free activities for the kids including a visit from Cinderella and Elmo. There will be face painting, live music, food vendors and, of course, birthday cake.
Make sure to bring sunscreen and a hat. Environment Canada is calling for sunshine and a high of 29 on July 1.
The party doesn't stop after the Polson Park festivities. The evening free events, which include a fireworks display, will be held at the DND grounds.
The Legendary Lake Monsters will perform and a family movie will be shown before the fireworks are set off by firefighters from Vernon Fire Rescue Services with help from members of the BX, Swan Lake and Coldstream Fire Departments.
The pyrotechnics are expected to light up the sky at dusk.
Expect the usual traffic congestion following the fireworks display.
Here’s the entertainment schedule at the Polson Park band shell:
10:00 a.m. - Opening Prayer - Local Elder
10:05 - 10:25 a.m. - The Pow Wow Dancers
10:30 - 10:55 a.m. - Sadok Ukranian Dancers
11:00 - 11:40 a.m. - Melina Schein Moore (Classical)
11:45 - 12:25 p.m. - Lee Dinwoody (Country)
12:30 - 12:50 p.m. - Rick Shadow (Magician)
12:50 - 1:05 p.m. - Kal Highlanders Pipe Band
1:05 - 1:25 p.m. - National Anthem - sung by Justin Moore - Introduction of Vernon Dignitaries - Presentation by Mayor Rob Sawatsky to John Nicol in honour of Patrick Nicol 'Mr. Canada Day' - free Canada Day Cake & Maple Sugar Cookies
1:30 - 2:10 p.m. - Kath and the TomKats (Jazz, Blues, Classic Rock)
2:20 - 3:00 p.m. - The Keys (Honky Tonk Rockin' Blues)
3:10 - 3:50 p.m. - Jesse Mast & Ben Klick (Country)
4:00 - 4:40 p.m. - Amistad (Alternative Rock)