July 1 promises three times the fun

Canada’s 141st birthday bash is promising to be the biggest thus far. Festivities will be spread over two days beginning on the eve of Canada’s anniversary on Monday night, June 30, and carrying through to July 1.

In his second year as the head of the organizing committee, President Jonathan Poitras said extra efforts were made this year. “We work hard every year but this year we were given a budget three times larger than previous years, so we were encouraged to work harder.” The Canada Day budget has jumped from $325,000 to $950,000 this year.

Poitras said the organizing committee was able to offer unprecedented additional concerts on the eve of Canada Day this year. A rock n’ roll show will take place in the renovated Agora in the Old Port at 7 p.m. The bill boasts an all-Quebec cast of rockers including Casabon, Delirium Tremens doing a tribute to Jean Leloup, Les Pistolets Roses, and These Silent Waves, a Quebec City group who sing in English.

The Citadel in Old Quebec will also be teeming with life. At 7 p.m. the traditional retreat of the guard ceremony will take place. Following the ceremony, organizers are offering a return of the enchanting La musique du Royal 22e military band under the stars. The band will play from the heart of the Citadel and spectators are encouraged to bring chairs along with them.

Canada Day activities will begin bright and early at 8 a.m. in Old Quebec with the HBC Run for Canada, a fundraiser for Canadian Olympians headed to Beijing. Quebec City residents are encouraged to walk or run, alone, with friends or family over a choice of distances, from 1 km to 10 km. Details on registration and fundraising are available online at www.hbcrunforcanada.ca.

A mass will be held at 10:30 a.m. at the Notre-Dame de Québec Catholic Basilica with Cardinal Marc Ouellett presiding over the ceremonies.

Lieutenant Governor Pierre Duchesne will be the guest of honour at a flag raising ceremony on the Dufferin Terrace followed by the traditional birthday cake for Canada.

Like every year, a number of federal government sites will be open free of charge to the public as of 10 a.m. A family day will take place on the Plains of Abraham beginning at 12 p.m. with all kinds of family fun fare: blow up jungle gyms, clowns, piñatas, jugglers and face painting. Organizers are offering up to 60 free shows during the day and 15,000 hot dogs!

The night of July 1 promises to be the big-ticket event. A concert will be held on the Plains with world-renowned Montreal punk rock band Simple Plan headlining the event, with opening acts Marilou, Hedley and Malajube. The concert begins at 7 p.m. and is also free of charge. Organizers are encouraging all concert-goers to get a place early as the concerts operate on a first-come, first-served basis.

The grand finale will come at 11:15 p.m. with a giant fireworks display on the Plains of Abraham near the Armoury.

“We’re hoping all of Quebec City will come out since we are trying to offer something for everyone,” President Poitras said.

Additional information about the Canada Day festivities is available online at: www.celafete.ca/quebec.