Rain or shine, Canada Day events will be going on all day Sunday at Lakeside Park.
Opening ceremonies begin at the park at 10:30 a.m. with speeches by local dignitaries and the singing of O Canada, followed by the cutting of a giant Canada Day cake. Live entertainment will run throughout the day and over two dozen local businesses and service groups will have displays and activities set up in tents around the park.
The Nelson Electric Tramway Society and the Nelson Credit Union teamed up to offer free trolley rides from Lakeside Park and the Prestige Lakeside Resort and back. And, as always, the Lions Club will serve a pancake breakfast for $5 a plate ($3 for kids) on Baker Street from 8 to 11 a.m.
The only thing weather dependent is the fireworks display, scheduled to wrap up the event at 10 p.m.
The Nelson Chamber of Commerce, which organizes the annual Canada Day celebration, fundraised $7,500 for the fireworks and executive director Tom Thomson said if Nelson Fire and Rescue deems it unsafe to ignite the fireworks, they’ll be saved for a different special occasion, such as BC Day.
But Thomson is optimistic that the show will go on.
“We’ve never, in my memory of organizing it, had a Canada Day where it rains all day,” Thomson said. “Sometimes it’s overcast, but it always clears up. I just hope some grey clouds don’t keep people from coming out and enjoying themselves, even if they do have to bring an umbrella.”
The Tramway Society went to great lengths to ensure it would have a trolly running on Canada’s birthday. After all the rain and flooding this month, they needed the help of Nelson Fire and Rescue to pump water off the rail beds near the Lakeside Park soccer fields. Tramway society volunteers then replaced some water damaged railway ties and shoveled dirt and debris off the tracks in the Chahko Mika Mall parking lot.
Now they’re just waiting to see if the ground will be firm enough to run their main 44-seat trolly.
“If the ground is too soft, we have the smaller Birney car we can run as backup,” said Chris Holland, a tramway society board member. “We want to make sure we’ll have a car on the tracks no matter the weather.”
Nelson’s Canada Day celebrations typically attract 4,000 to 6,000 people throughout the day, with people coming from neighbouring communities. This year, with Castlegar postponing it’s Canada Day festivities people may be coming from further afield.
Thomson said the Chamber looks forward to organizing the Canada Day celebration each year as a way to give back to the community.
“It’s a great family fun day and a way to bring the community together to celebrate,” Thomson said. “We’re happy to be a part of it.”