By Chad Ingram
Canada Day is the biggest day of the year in Minden and so it’s strange that this year a tradition that is so familiar to so many of us willnot unfold.
Amid the COVID-19 crisis the Township of Minden Hillshas of course and rightfully cancelled its annual Canada Daycelebration an event that typically brings hundreds upon hundreds ofresidents and visitors into the village’s downtown each July 1.
Asmany probably most of this publication’s readers will know thatcelebration starts fairly early in the morning with a kids’ fishingderby along the Gull River. That fishing derby comes replete with somepretty sweet prizes courtesy of local businesses.
There is asinging of O Canada and a musical performance in the parking lot atMinden Auto Care. It’s there that speeches and a celebratory cakecutting also take place.
Along a blockaded Water Street near itsintersection with Bobcaygeon Road are tents operated by vendors andnon-profit organizations. Further down Water Street beyond itsintersection with Milne an assortment of classic cars line the roadwaydown to its intersection with St. Germaine.
Excitement andattendance builds toward the noon hour when registration for the day’smain event – the Crazy River Raft Race – gets underway at Rotary Park.Teams comprised of family members and friends take off in homemaderafts vying to be the first to cross the finish line which is theSunnybrook Bridge “the bridge” that allows Bobcaygeon Road to traverse the Gull River in the heart of Minden’s downtown. Along the way racers are cheered on by hundreds of onlookers many of them clad and paintedin patriotic red and white. The raft race is followed by the rubber duck race after which someone will head home with a slightly thickerwallet. The day is capped by an evening fireworks display at thefairgrounds.
It is a day of camaraderie and jubilation. It is a day of community spirit.
This year of course none of these things will come to fruition. Canada Day in Minden will be a shadow of its usual self as we all continue totake the necessary precautions to keep one another safe during theCOVID-19 crisis. Days at the dock physically distanced backyardbarbecues and Zoom get-togethers will replace a massive street party.
That however doesn’t mean we can’t still come together in some capacity.The federal government through Heritage Canada is hosting a virtualCanada Day celebration which will be available at https://www.canada.ca/en/
The Township of Minden Hills is holding a Canada Day photo contest and rules and submission forms can be found at https://mindenhills.ca/events/
Hopefully before too long we will find ourselves celebrating along Water Street once again.
Happy Canada Day everybody.