VIDEO: Thousands celebrate Canada Day, mark milestone year in P.E.I.

Teresa Wright
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A big celebration for Canada Day 2014 in Charlottetown was promised, and if you ask the thousands who took in the many festivities and events Tuesday, they would say the organizers certainly delivered.

The whole city was abuzz with activity throughout the day as people decked out in their most festive red and white attire traveled to and from the numerous events taking place across the city.

The day ended with a two-part fireworks display from two barges moored in Charlottetown Harbour. The display's were the same, with many low firework elements, a handful of towering aerials and some heart-shapes punctuating the approximately 15 minute show.

A few comments from the throngs of people exiting through Charlottetown afterwards suggested that the display was not as spectacular as had been anticipated but oohs, aahs and shrieks of delight were event all through the crowds during the actual show.

Kim and Greg Barnes of Kitchener, Ontario were looking especially festive with Canada hats, Canada tattoos and flags all over.

They travel to a different city in Canada every year for Canada Day and decided this year to come to P.E.I. when they heard about the 2014 celebrations in Charlottetown.

“A couple of years back we did Newfoundland because they celebrate first. P.E.I. has got the Charlottetown Conference, we thought ‘Why not? They really did it first,’” Greg said.

“When we started researching and saw what there was to offer, well here we are,” Kim added.

Their colourful Canadian attire got them lots of attention downtown, especially with a group of American cruise ship passengers.

Vanessa Myles and Chantal Lilly-Lace from Manitoba were also getting attention for their outfits Tuesday as they strolled through the downtown in vintage gowns. Lilly-Lace, who was wearing a Victorian-style hoopskirt, said they came to P.E.I. because they were excited at the many historical events being offered throughout the province.

They took in one of the daily vignettes of the Fathers of Confederation at Province House Tuesday.

“The two of us, we love history… we could sit on a beach at Lake Manitoba for a fraction of the cost, but that’s no fun, we’d rather come here,” Myles said.

“This place is like paradise, with the beaches and all the history here.”

Prince Edward Island is marking 2014 as a major milestone in commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the Charlottetown Conference, where the Fathers of Confederation met and agreed on the idea of building a nation.

With the province pouring almost $30-million into celebrating this anniversary, there were twice as many events to mark Canada’s birthday in Charlottetown this year.

The morning began with 24 people from eight different countries getting sworn in as Canadians on the waterfront.

Then the P.E.I. 2014 Celebration Zone was officially opened to the public. This 70-day cultural festival is a central part of the 2014 celebrations, with free events, activities and concerts taking place every day throughout the summer.

Later in the afternoon, a whole lineup of free concerts drew thousands of Islanders and visitors to the Charlottetown event grounds.

David Myles, Roch Voisine, George Canyon, Tegan and Sara, Classified and the Barenaked Ladies each performed a set, bringing an eclectic mix of people to the free event.

Some came as fans, wanting to hear their favourite artist. But most were there to take in some fun in celebration of Canada Day.

People were in a festive mood, in spite of the scorching sun and humidity with temperatures that reached into the mid-thirties.

Jessica Carmichael was feeling especially festive, as she was celebrating her 14th birthday.

“It feels pretty special because earlier people were singing happy birthday, and it felt like they were singing it to me.”

Julie Gagnon brought her two teenaged daughters to the concert grounds Tuesday to celebrate the national holiday.

Gagnon served as a medic in the Canadian military reserve for 13 years, so she said she feels especially patriotic on Canada Day.

“I love my country, it’s a very great place to live, so I think to celebrate every July 1st, it’s a time to gather and enjoy the spirit of being Canadian.”

Organizations: Province House, Barenaked Ladies

Geographic location: Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, Canada Kitchener Ontario Newfoundland Manitoba Lake Manitoba

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Recent comments

  • Truth Seeker
    Truth Seeker
    July 02, 2014 - 13:48

    I had a wonderful time and so did our 3 year old. It was easy to get around, the parking was fine, anything was available within a couple of paces in one direction or another. I could point out imperfections too but I would rather just enjoy a pleasant day with my family celebrating our nation because she needs our love. The event organizers did a great job and the talent was top notch. Thank you!

  • Clara-Lynn
    July 02, 2014 - 10:10

    30 million $$$ and I am without a doctor...come on PEI Government and get your heads out of your butts and put that money where it is needed. The fireworks were yet another year of disappointment...10 min and they were done....those are what people wait ALL day to see. I can't believe the government are so proud of wasting 30 million dollars on ONE DAY of events when that could have helped our Island for a FULL YEAR!!!

    • huh
      July 02, 2014 - 12:50

      30 million for one day? Where on earth did you come up with that???? And you think the reason you don't have a family doctor is because MONEY isn't being spent on it?

  • Not to complain but ...
    July 02, 2014 - 09:55

    While I understand it's hard to please everyone, I have a serious complaint about the event grounds. The entertainment was great, I enjoyed watching the performances. However, perhaps I was given incorrect information, I thought the event grounds were supposed to be a family orientated event. What would be the point of holding such a huge and expensive celebration if it was only to cater to 19 and over? There was absolutely NOTHING for the kids to do at the event grounds. There was a bubble machine at the entrance that wasn't even set up by the event staff and was part of the Art in the Open display. There wasn't one proper set up for children. No bouncy castles, or face painting, nothing whatsoever to cater to anyone who brought there children to the event. I'm saddened to see what should have been a family orientated event for Canada Day and all of the money spent to promote the event and host the event be an absoulte bust for anyone that went as a family with children.

    • Jon
      July 02, 2014 - 13:15

      Love the name "not to complain but...." I will cause I'm an Islander. Did you check out the Celebration Zone? Went their with our kids and had a great time on bouncy castles, kids area and photo booth

    • omg
      July 02, 2014 - 15:16

      I swear that if everyone got everything they wanted, and got paid to attend, they would complain that they were not paid enough to go AND it cost too much because others got paid too.

  • oliver
    July 02, 2014 - 09:13

    I sure hope nobody was lured here by the "biggest" fireworks in Canada, because it was a bust. People could not believe that's it, waited for more to come, which never came. That is what happens when everything gets hyped out of proportion, but I guess the herd of people hired for this foolishness have to ear their wages by bragging things up. Meanwhile the taxpayers are taken to the cleaners. But what can we expect with the shallow Premier we elected for ourselves.

  • Susan G.
    July 02, 2014 - 08:54

    Great fireworks picture and very fitting for the 2014 celebration that it also includes Province house. Well done!

  • frustrated
    July 02, 2014 - 07:53

    what would make me happy is if they would spend my money and your money that we pay in taxes on something important like doctors n hospitals instead of partying it all away.robert ghiz needs to get his priorites in order.

    • WTF
      July 02, 2014 - 11:42

      Hospitals? You realize that the only reason anything other than the QEH exists is political pandering to Summerside and the "rural" vote? Just a drain of money from the taxpayers of Charlottetown to the welfare/EI recipients outside. At least that is what I hear.

  • J
    July 02, 2014 - 07:12

    When will we Islanders get it through our heads that the rest of the country doesn't care what we are celebrating it's all in our heads. How much searching did the media have to do to find someone from off Island to interview and.... Since when do you need tickets for free events??? only on PEI.

    • ok
      July 02, 2014 - 15:11

      That must be why, when watching national broadcasts, I kept seeing them cut to Charlottetown, rather than Moose Jaw.

  • same story
    July 02, 2014 - 06:59

    What would it take to make you people happy? Stuck in traffic what a shame.

    • Thank You
      July 02, 2014 - 09:56

      I couldn't agree more. The fireworks seemed fine to me and most people I have talked to. The benefit of having two barges seems to be that people would have a better vantage point to see the same show from almost anywhere on the water front. I guess next year, there will have to be separate shows done in everyone's back yard. Then maybe there will be a couple less complaints. If you don't want to get "STUCK" in traffic, STAY HOME!! Terrible that you have to be stuffed in the same small space of your car with your family and possibly have to converse face to face with your family... Complain, Complain...

  • Also disappointed
    July 02, 2014 - 05:16

    The fireworks were pretty but over in approx 12 minutes. Thought that it would last longer since it was suppose to be the biggest in Canada. We were stuck in traffic, not moving for after an hour, within blocks of downtown.

  • Ann
    July 02, 2014 - 00:18

    I had to leave the free concert before Barenaked Ladies had finished in order to try to catch the fireworks (no way I could get to the side of concert grounds closest to water). Lots of people knew there were two barges but no one seemed to know where they were. Then, as I got closed to the waterfront the first bang went off. I looked at my cellphone and it said 9:57pm. Hmmm, not 10pm. I was at the HMCS Queen Charlotte site in 2 minutes and we had a great view of one barge. Not sure where a person could have seen both barges from along the Charlottetown waterfront so what was the point? Overall a great day despite the difficulty in getting any accurate information. Oh, btw the concert "free passes" were a joke. They had an entrance marked "no pass" and people just walked in ALL day. Other people tried to sell theirs online to people who didn't know they could have just walked in (no waiting until 7pm).

    • huh
      July 02, 2014 - 10:03

      wow. Started at 9:57 (by your account) instead of 10? Perhaps you can lobby the government for free counselling for all the hardship you endured on Canada Day.

  • disappointed
    July 01, 2014 - 22:12

    Sorry but I found the fact that they split the fireworks didn't seem to be very effective . They may of been the largest but half at each end didn't work very well from a view in the middle . Last years seemed to have more BANG in constant succession and they lasted longer .

    • andy
      July 02, 2014 - 06:40

      I thought the fireworks were impressive. You could obviously tell that many of the individual shells being fired were different and of a higher quality with multiple colours and forming shapes, etc. But for our majority uneducated audience, I would agree with you - don't split the show - have it on a single big barge out off Victoria Park and go for quantity over quality so it stretches the show out longer. And have shells that go higher into the air.