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Wilmot Township celebrates Canada Day back at William Scott Park

By Galen Simmons

Fireworks, a dunk tank, games, races, bounce houses, live music and so much more.

It was a classic Wilmot Township Canada Day celebration at William Scott Park in New Hamburg July 1 with residents of the township and the surrounding area dropping by to join in the fun on a picturesque summer day.

“I’m so excited about all the events that we have going on and really thrilled to have you all here,” Wilmot Mayor Natasha Salonen said during the day’s opening ceremony after sisters Joanna Gustini-Wilkinson and Danielle Gustini sang O’ Canada backed by the New Hamburg Concert Band. “I know for myself, I’ve been coming to Canada Day here since I was a little girl. I know it’s changed throughout the years, but one memory my family kept reminding me of; when I was about two, we came for the fireworks show and we were up pretty close, and I started to scream. So my day ran me out like a football to get me away. Although it’s not something I remember, it’s something that gets a lot of laughs around the dinner table quite often.

“I hope that today, you and your family can make a lot of memories that you remember for many years to come. If you hear screaming at the fireworks, I can confidently tell you it will not be me. I do like fireworks now and do not scream at them.”

During the opening ceremony, which was preceded earlier in the day with a traditional Indigenous sunrise ceremony conducted by an elder from Crow Shield Lodge and a Firekeeper, Salonen delivered remarks from Kitchener-Conestoga MPP Mike Harris, who was unable to attend the Wilmot Canada Day celebrations, and Kitchener-Conestoga MP Tim Louis also greeted those in William Scott Park.

“From coast to coast to coast, Canadians are celebrating and I think there’s nowhere I’d rather be than right here in New Hamburg,” said Louis, who spent part of the morning and early afternoon at the Wilmot celebrations. “ … From my family to yours, enjoy. … It’s going to be a wonderful day and we couldn’t ask for better weather.”

Rochelle Unrau, chair of the township’s Canada Day taskforce, and taskforce council liaison Coun. Steve Martin also took to the microphone to thank the myriad volunteers, sponsors, donors, entertainers, township staff and councillors, community groups and other organizations that helped make the 2024 Canada Day celebrations a success.

“There was lots of hours put into this event by the 2024 Canada Day taskforce,” Unrau said. “ … These members volunteered their time to have this event come together and, if it weren’t for them, this event would not be possible. Thank you, 2024 Canada Day taskforce. We hope you all enjoy the day we worked so hard to produce.”

After the opening ceremony concluded, Salonen cut the official Canada Day cake. The Optimist Club of New Hamburg was also on hand serving up hamburgers, hot dogs and fries throughout the day, and the Junior Optimists ran three-legged and potato-sack races, as well as a scavenger hunt for the kids.

The day’s live music and entertainment included performances by David Martin, Eric Traplin, Dolinar, Dosman and Dunn, the Randy Satchell Band, Smile N’ Wave and Counting Down the Hours.


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