This year we spent Canada Day with friends in Canmore, Alberta (26 km from Banff or 95 km from Calgary) an old coal mining town that has become a lovely international recreational resort town since the 1988 Olympics.
While many cities and towns endeavoured to create a special Canada's 150 anniversary celebration (for example Calgary's fireworks was 10 minutes longer than Ottawa's), Canmore has a long tradition of celebrating Canada Day. This year's celebration included a block-long artisan market, parade, live music in their Centennial park and fireworks in Millennial Park.
One of the first things that impressed me while flaneuring downtown Canmore before the parade were the unique and intriguing storefront window reflections.
The (Candy) Canada Day Parade
We were treated by our friends to ring-side patio seats at Mountain Mercato for the colourful Canmore Canada Day Parade, which allowed us to enjoy lunch and beverages while watching the parade. The 45-minute parade was perfect with lots of kids dancing and riding decorated bikes, a few bands and event a float by the local thrift store (pick-up truck with lots of stuffies). It doesn't get more authentic than that.
One of the features of the parade was lots of candy being handed out to the kids - often by older kids. There was a lovely sense of play near the end as almost every float had young adults with super soakers playfully shooting at the audience on a warm summer day.
The parade was fun for everyone.....
In Calgary, Canada Day is like a pre-season game for the "Greatest Outdoor Show On Earth" the Calgary Stampede, which starts with one of the largest parades in North America and ends every night with fireworks. Every year, the 10-day Stampede starts the Friday after Canada Day.
In fact, the Calgary District and Agricultural Society (precursor to the Stampede which still includes a major agricultural exhibition) held the first exhibition in 1886, making it almost as old as Canada.