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Wilmot Township’s Canada Day celebrations heading back to Scott Park

Updated: May 31

By Galen Simmons

Wilmot Township’s annual Canada Day celebration is making its triumphant return to William Scott Park in New Hamburg this year to take full advantage of recent restorations made to the historic waterwheel.

Refurbished last year, the waterwheel will offer a wonderful backdrop for the many events, games ceremonies, musical performances and, of course, the fireworks that make the township’s July 1 celebrations so special each year.

“They’ve just refurbished (the waterwheel),” said Lillianne Dunstall, a volunteer serving on a subcommittee of this year’s Canada Day task force. “We received a $300,000 grant from the government, so it’s just been refurbished, and the promenade with the lights right by the river there; it really is quite stunning.

“ … (Canada Day) was at Scott park for many years but then it moved over to the grandstands by the Legion where they have the fall fair. It’s a very large venue and the last couple years, it hasn’t been attended by a lot of people, so it was almost dwarfed with this huge venue. So this is a little more intimate and there’s a lot of trees for shading, which we thought was going to be really important for the kids.”

This year’s celebrations will officially run from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., however it will begin with a traditional Indigenous Sunrise Ceremony at first light. The official opening ceremony takes place at 11 a.m., followed by the cutting of a Canada Day cake and a performance by children’s entertainer Erick Traplin.

The event includes vendors, bouncy castles, potato-sack races, face painting, an egg-and-spoon race, a scavenger hunt, three-legged races, bubble-making a craft table, costume characters, a gaming trailer and so much more.

“One of the great things we’re also having is Janet Divita – who has her childhood educator (certification and) she is the designated family grouping program at YMCA daycare in Shakespeare – is going to have a toddler event, so there is going to be all sorts of games and activities for the toddlers. … One of the things that’s really getting the kids excited is we’re going to have a dunk tank. The W-O (Waterloo-Oxford District Secondary School) principal, Carolyn Salonen, has agreed (to sit in the dunk tank) as well as one of the teachers, and I’m trying to get some of the other teachers.

“ … So there will be teachers and school staff. I can imagine the kids will be lined up around the block to get their favourite teacher.”

Live musical performances will take place into the evening including the Guistini sisters singing O’ Canada, the New Hamburg Band, The Randy Satchell Band and more.

The New Hamburg Board of Trade will take to the stage at the waterwheel to bring greetings at 12:20 p.m. and there will also be an official grand opening for the newly refurbished waterwheel.

The Canada Day event will be capped off with a fireworks display along the Nith River starting at dusk.

Event organizers are still looking for both volunteers and sponsors to support the Canada Day celebrations. Dunstall says Canada Day is an excellent way for local students to get volunteer hours toward their 40-hour high-school requirement and the day will be a fun opportunity for older volunteers to support their community. To apply to volunteer at the event, visit

For more information about sponsoring the Canada Day event, contact Coun. Steven Martin at 519-807-5214 or

People should come out and enjoy the day as it is geared to appeal to all ages,” task force members Lou Divita said. “Many of the participants in this event are local community members. We've tried where possible to make sure that this is an event for the whole community by the whole community. We also welcome all from surrounding communities to come out as well.


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