If there had been a roof Stelly’s marching band would have blown it off. (Nick Murray/News Staff)

Packed Canada Day in Sidney sees parade, dog show and a helicopter rescue

Fun event attracts hundreds decked out in red and white, activities all day

Canada Day celebrations crowned the Sidney Days series of events, providing colour, spectacle and fun as the town drew Peninsula residents from far and wide.

Early risers started the day with a delicious pancake breakfast, hosted by the Sidney Lions at the Mary Winspear Centre, before crowds bubbling with anticipation chose a spot on Beacon Avenue to watch the parade. Promptly at 11:30 a.m., hundreds of people thronging Beacon Avenue watched as a lively procession passed through the centre of town. The excitement built as the strains of a pipe band could be heard even before they marched proudly into view at the head of the column.

Proud members of the Legion and ANAvets, resplendent in medals, followed their colour party, brandishing large flags, before performing a perfect eyes right to the appreciative local dignitaries sitting on a raised platform. These included Saanich Peninsula Legion President Mary Truttman and 99-year-old veteran Commander Peter Chance (retired).

ALSO READ: Thousands wave the flag at Saanich’s Gorge Canada Day Picnic

Colourful floats, music and dances then wound along the town’s main thoroughfare, with the red and white crowds cheering their appreciation. Every piece of the parade was a highlight; with vintage vehicles, a Chinese cultural dance group and even a clown show featuring. At points during the festivities, all eyes were trained on the sky as a flyby from 443 squadron scorched overhead, teasing the helicopter demo to come later.

At 1 p.m., guided by proud firefighters, curious members of the community nosed about the impressive new Community Safety Building. Reports of middle-aged residents using the curly-wurly slide, installed in lieu of a pole, are as yet unconfirmed.

ALSO READ: Greater Victoria hosts 40 agencies in major search and rescue exercise

Like a sugar-filled magnet, kids were drawn to the Family Fun Fair at Iroquois Park, braving the soaring temperatures to have fun and let off some steam. This was complemented by stirring performances from the Peninsula Readers and Peninsula Players’ companies, with the dulcet tones of Wavelengths Choir following, in the early afternoon.

Part of the day’s attraction was the sheer diversity of things on offer. From music to great food, Sidney demonstrated the warm hospitality it has become famous for. The much loved Dog Show took place at 3 p.m., with cute mutts and rapscallion rovers literally enjoying their moments in the sun. This followed a dramatic Helicopter Water Rescue Demo from 442 Squadron on the seafront that many in attendance rated as one of the day’s highlights. The helicopter hovered daringly close to the water, simulating a rescue, and then flew almost above the pier where it dipped its nose in a salute of appreciation to the spectators. With spray from the rotor blades whipping into the crowd, everyone cheered and waved at this thoughtful gesture.

ALSO READ: Sidney Paramedics move into Community Safety Building

Perhaps less effective, but still a huge hit, was the hotly contested 32nd annual Slegg Build-a-Boat challenge. Ten teams made an impressive stab at building seaworthy craft and then braved the placid, yet treacherous, waters lapping Diver’s Point. Two Beauties and a Beast sped into the lead and never looked back, with the other crews struggling to get out of the shallows, before floundering and ultimately foundering. Overall, the same couldn’t be said for a wonderful day of celebration.



nick.murray@peninsulanewsreview.com

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Two Beauties and a Beast at the top powered out into the lead, while the rest of the field floundered and foundered. (Nick Murray/News Staff)

A young soccer fan brought the ‘beautiful game’ to the streets of Sidney. (Nick Murray/News Staff)

The BC Aviation Museum showed off the nose cone of the Lancaster bomber they are in the process of restoring. (Nick Murray/News Staff)

All the floats were lovingly created and quirky. (Nick Murray/News Staff)

The parade was a big hit with the kids, especially when Thrifty Foods workers, dressed as vegetables, threw sweets into the crowd. (Nick Murray/News Staff)

Canada Day in Sidney was a patriotic family fun-fest. (Nick Murray/News Staff)

With veterans marching, some in the community were keen to show their support for currently serving troops. (Nick Murray/News Staff)

The elegant dance and dress of a Chinese cultural dance group was a big hit with the crowds. (Nick Murray/News Staff)

The pipers led the parade and the anticipation built as their rousing notes were heard before they appeared into view. Here a piper and his supportive sister takes a well earned rest. (Nick Murray/News Staff)

The thing of nightmares? Thankfully the kids seemed to enjoy the clown show, with the comics zooming around in their undersized vehicles. (Nick Murray/News Staff)

Mayor Cliff McNeil-Smith on parade. (Nick Murray/News Staff)

The town criers and Peninsula Players brought a touch of old-world elegance to proceedings. (Nick Murray/News Staff)

Colourful costumes were part of the fun. (Nick Murray/News Staff)

The Panorama Rec brought Slider along to keep the kids entertained. (Nick Murray/News Staff)

Every size of Maple Leaf flag was present. (Nick Murray/News Staff)

The amazing helicopter rescue from 442 squadron. (Nick Murray/News Staff)

Crowds decked out in red and white watch the helicopter rescue demonstration. (Nick Murray/News Staff)

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