Let The Celebration Begin . . . Canada Day 2024 In Windsor Essex & Chatham-Kent

On July 1, 1867, the British North America Act created Canada. In June of 1868, Governor General Lord Monck declared in a proclamation that all subjects across Canada were to celebrate July 1.

From that day forward, July 1 has been celebrated across the country in a variety of ways. In 2024 it will be the 156th time to celebrate the day that was once known as Dominion Day, which is currently referred to as Canada Day.

Growing up in the Windsor area, the International Freedom Festival was the highlight of Dominion Day.
Started in 1959, this celebration included a downtown parade, attending the carnival at the riverfront, visiting vendors and of course, the fireworks on the Detroit River — a magnificent display of camaraderie
between two nations with a joint celebration of two weeks leading up to July 1 and July 4 (Independence Day in the United States).

Today, a variety of events occur to mark Canada Day. Celebrations take place across Windsor Essex and Chatham-Kent regions with family- oriented events planned by towns and in Windsor, which begin mid-June and end at, or shortly after, July 1.

We, at Biz X magazine hope to assist long-time residents and newcomers to this area by providing a brief overview of some events celebrating Canada Day in the area. (Please note Leamington events for this time frame can be found in the cover story of this edition).

While every effort is made to ensure the information given here is up-to- date, things can change and activities may be added or cancelled. It is always best to check the individual websites/social media pages listed throughout this article before you and the kids head out.

So sit back, grab your favourite beverage (whether it be a double double or a glass of Canada Dry!) and let us fill you in on where you need to be for the Canada Day holiday.

TOWN OF AMHERSTBURG

Approximately a half hour drive from Windsor, the historic Town of Amherstburg has many events planned to celebrate Canada Day. The town has celebrated this national holiday with various events for over 15 years. For this year, their events are held at Toddy Jones Park and King’s Navy Yard Park on July 1 from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m.

All events are free to attend and geared towards families. Jake Kigar, Tourism Coordinator with the Town of Amherstburg comments: “The Canada Day event in Amherstburg is more than just a celebration of our nation, it’s a way to honour our region’s heritage and create stronger connections within our community. With our funding partner Heritage Canada, we are putting on a fun full-day event with many activities from morning to night, celebrating the best of what Amherstburg has to offer.”

A 5K walk/run/wheel and kids dash — starting in front of the Fort Malden National Historic Site — marks the beginning of the festivities.

The day continues with a Mighty Machines display where Town municipal vehicles are parked all around Toddy Jones Park for visitors to explore. Food trucks and activities for the children are also inside the park grounds. As well, the Fort Malden National Historic Site (located directly next to Toddy Jones Park) is running heritage demonstrations and is open to the public at no charge the entire day.

Inside the Open Air footprint in the downtown core, patios are set up for dining and shops are open to visit (extended one day for this particular weekend). Games and live entertainment run morning to night. Live music takes place in King’s Navy Yard Park at 6:30 p.m. with Adam Butcher, and at 8:30 p.m. Buck Twenty takes the stage. (Get more information on Open Air Weekends in the Food For Thought column on pages 16 & 17). Following the music, fireworks illuminate the sky over the river starting at 10:10 p.m.

THE MUNICIPALITY OF CHATHAM-KENT: TILBURY

Chatham-Kent includes the towns of Tilbury and Wallaceburg and these two locations have special events planned to provide their residents with many fun-filled, family functions. Celebrate Canada Day with the Tilbury BIA at the Canada Day Fireworks Celebration taking place at the Tilbury Memorial Park on Thursday, June 27, 2024.

“Last year we were fortunate to have over 3,000 people attend this event,” says Gloria Mailloux, Tilbury BIA Executive Director. “We are thankful for the support of local businesses that help to make the
fireworks an annual success.”

The Tilbury fireworks have been delighting residents for over 50 years. The 2024 festivities feature live music by The Ashley Lynn Experience, a Top 40 cover band, starting at 7 p.m. with the fireworks going off at dusk (10 p.m.). This family-friendly event also features free cupcakes provided by Tilbury Foodland, glitter tattoos for the kids, glow necklaces and balloon twisting. Food is available to purchase as well.

This year’s presenting sponsor is Brady’s Drug Store and their staff aim to spark a little excitement by handing out complimentary tickets to those who show their Canada Day spirit, for a chance to win a $250 gift card to Best Buy. The winner is announced just before the fireworks begin.

“Brady’s Drug Store is a family-owned pharmacy, and being part of the local community is important to us,” expresses Tim Brady, Pharmacist and Owner. “We hope the whole community celebrates with us at
Memorial Park.”

Mailloux also wishes to thank the Municipality of Chatham-Kent and their Rocket sponsors: AutoLiv, AWC, BrokerLink Insurance, and the Tilbury Lions Club. In case of inclement weather, the fireworks rain date is Sunday, June 30.

THE MUNICIPALITY OF CHATHAM-KENT: WALLACEBURG

This year the quaint town of Wallaceburg is celebrating two events on Canada Day, as July 1, 2024 also marks the 40th anniversary of the Wallaceburg & District Museum.

The opening ceremonies for the day begin at the museum (505 King Street, right in the centre of the town) with Chatham-Kent Mayor Darrin Canniff, Councillor Aaron Hall, and Councillor Carmen McGregor singing our national anthem. Next there is the cutting of the Canada Day and 40th anniversary cake.
Many free activities take place for the kids from noon to 5 p.m., including temporary tattoos, face painting, and bouncy castles.

There are also plenty of games to play and a Canada Day photo booth. Booked entertainment includes, Wallaceburg Martial Arts and at 12:30 p.m. Check 7 performs, followed by Paula and the Cornhuskers at 2
p.m., with a 3:30 p.m. performance by Crystal Gage. Upstairs in the Jeanne Gordon Hall, there is a running slide show of the museum, documenting the last 40 years.

Vendors, a BBQ, and lemonade stands are also on site. Those planning to attend are advised to bring a lawn chair, sunscreen, and an umbrella.

Marketing and Events Coordinator Leesa Ervin has been running the Canada Day event for over five years and indicates that 2024 is the first year the Wallaceburg & District Museum is hosting the event.

“Celebrating Canada Day and the 40th anniversary is extremely important to the community as it brings people together,” states Ervin.

CORPORATION OF THE TOWN OF KINGSVILLE

Nestled on the north shore of Lake Erie, Kingsville is Canada’s southernmost town and its municipal organization has numerous events planned for July 1, which are free to attend.

The Corporation of the Town of Kingsville hosts their annual Canada Day celebration at the Kingsville Arena Complex (1741 Jasperson Drive) starting at 4 p.m. The opening ceremonies commence with a welcome from the Mayor/Council, a Sacred Fire hosted by Caldwell First Nation, and songs. A free cupcake giveaway begins at 4:30 p.m., immediately after the ceremonies, while supplies last.

Come enjoy a wide array of fun for all ages including a foam party, bouncy castles, mini golf, free-play with disc golf and Spike Ball, a marketplace, Canada Day trivia and more. Native plants are also available at no charge (while supplies last) courtesy of Communities in Bloom. From 6 to 7 p.m., those aged 15 years and up can create Graffiti Palette Art (registration required).

Musical entertainment begins at 8 p.m., featuring Canadian Goldrush and Carson Janik at 9 p.m. Also, fireworks are scheduled for 10 p.m., weather permitting.

“We have an awesome lineup of fun for the whole family,” points out Karen Loney, Kingsville’s Manager of Recreation Programs and Special Events. “Come enjoy a whole evening of fun, free of charge, and end it on a high note with a beautiful fireworks display.”

THE MUNICIPALITY OF LAKESHORE

The Municipality of Lakeshore invites everyone to bring the whole family out to celebrate with them from 2:30 p.m. until 10 p.m. on July 1, 2024, at Lakeview Park and West Beach (River Street, Belle River).

Since the early 2000s, this free event features a variety of family- friendly activities throughout the afternoon. There are crafts and yard games with live music and other entertainment available for your enjoyment.

Many local community groups have booths on site, food and beverage vendors are present and there is also a beach volleyball tournament (you must register to participate) with a fireworks display at dusk to wrap up the day’s festivities.

“Canada Day is a great way for residents and visitors to come together in celebration of our communities and country,” states Mayor Tracey Bailey. “This year, the community of Belle River is also celebrating its 150th anniversary. We invite you to come out to honour this milestone with us and enjoy all the Canada Day festivities that Lakeshore has to offer.”

TOWN OF TECUMSEH

Another local municipality just outside Windsor is the Town of Tecumseh, and their Community & Recreation Services department hopes everyone can join them to celebrate diversity, inclusivity, and
multiculturalism at their Canada Day Celebration presented by CCS Engineering & Construction.

The celebration, held at Lakewood Park South (13451 Riverside Drive) on July 1, 2024 from 1 to 4 p.m., is free to attend. All ages (five and up) are welcome to participate in the events. There is a free community BBQ (while supplies last) courtesy of Zehrs in Tecumseh. Many family-friendly activities, including bouncy castles, pony rides, crafts, balloon twisting, putt-putt golf, and lawn games are available for everyone to enjoy. Members of Tecumseh Fire & Rescue Services will be on hand misting the crowd, and visitors can watch the Border City Barkers dog show, along with various multi-cultural group performances.

A bike valet is also available and active transportation is encouraged due to limited onsite parking. Don’t forget to bring a reusable water bottle, as there is a hydration station available to fill-up your bottles.

THE CITY OF WINDSOR

And last, but not least, is the City of Windsor, which celebrates being Canadian, all month long. The festivities in Windsor include the eagerly anticipated World’s Finest Shows @ Riverfront Windsor with plenty of games and rides from June 14 to 30. Tickets are available for purchase inside the carnival, located at the Festival Plaza, 450 Riverside Drive East. (Doors open at 4 p.m. on weekdays and noon on weekends).

On Monday, June 24 the 66th annual Ford Fireworks once again are set off from barges on the Detroit River. This event is recognized as one of the most spectacular fireworks displays in North America and begins at 9:55 p.m.

Next up, thousands of spectators excitedly line the streets each year to watch the parade on July 1 and take part in all the activities.

The parade was originally part of the International Freedom Festival, which began in 1959, and the Windsor Parade Corporation (under the expertise of Executive Director Maggie Durocher) has organized it
since 2004. For 2024, bands, horses, supersized inflatables, community groups, and the Windsor Parade Corporation’s giant Canadian flag, all come together in a sea of red and white to celebrate Canada Day in downtown Windsor (this year’s theme).

The parade rolls out at 11 a.m. from the corner of Ouellette Avenue and Wyandotte Street. It concludes on Riverside Drive at Caron Avenue, around 12:15 p.m.

“We are proud to support this event and look forward to welcoming everyone to our vibrant downtown district,” says Downtown Windsor Business Association (BIA) Chair Chris MacLeod.

Windsor West MP Brian Masse adds that the parade “is one of the best days we have in our community.”
In addition to the parade, whether you are two years old or 100 years young, all ages are welcome to visit the Fan Zone activities, located at University and Ouellette Avenues.

The Fan Zone begins at 9:30 a.m. and runs until 1 p.m. and includes a sweet treat — a free Canada Day Cupcake (sponsored by Blimeys British Store & Gift Shop) lovingly made by downtown BIA member,
Spoontastic Treats.

Visitors can also enjoy the entertainment, get free Canada Day swag, colouring pages, and play games. This is a great opportunity for families to come early to the parade and partake in a bit of the fun while visiting the downtown core.

All activities are free thanks to their generous sponsors: the Government of Canada (main presenter) in part with the Downtown Windsor BIA.

There is also a Canada Days Arts Fair from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on University Avenue between Pelissier and Ouellette. Vendors are on hand looking to promote and sell their one-of-a-kind items, like vintage
clothing, home decor, collectibles, crafts, art pieces, electronics, books, and toys.

BE PROUD TO BE CANADIAN

We hope we have given you lots of ideas to get “oot and aboot” this Canada Day, to take in as much of the action in Windsor Essex and Chatham-Kent as you can.

Get together with your family and/or friends and share the love we all have for our country with each other. Happy birthday Canada!