Fireworks, drum roll, pro-choice rally also on tap for July 1
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There may be no fireworks at The Forks this year, but there are still plenty of places for Manitobans to view pyrotechnics July 1 — and perhaps a chance to set a world record for drumming.
In Winnipeg, the largest venue to launch fireworks will be Assiniboia Downs racetrack and event centre.
Downs chief executive officer Darren Dunn said its 1-11 p.m. festival features, “Manitoba artists and artisans, which includes Indigenous participation, selling their ‘made in Manitoba’ goods… The festivities throughout the day will also include live music, of which there will be multiple Indigenous artists participating. The festival will conclude at the end of the day with fireworks.”
Musicians include Canadian singer-songwriters Hawksley Workman and Cassidy Mann. Tickets are $10; children five and under get in free.
Meantime, David Borowski, director of sales and events for Archangel, a fireworks retail store that puts on large pyrotechnic displays, said there are plenty of other places for people to see some July 1 fireworks.
Archangel has been hired for displays in Winnipeg at Sinclair Park and St. Norbert community centres, and St. James Village Business Improvement Zone (Bourkevale CC).
Borowski said, outside the city, staff will be at more than two dozen events, including: West St. Paul, Gimli, Winnipeg Beach, Kenora, Ont., Falcon Lake, Gull Harbour, Selkirk, Portage la Prairie, Neepawa and Steinbach.
“There are lots of options for people,” Borowski said. “There’s no secret in the fireworks business that Canada Day is the busiest time of the year. The store also does well — people purchase them to do their own displays.”
The only potential hiccup would be strong winds. “Rain would not be bad, but wind is the bad thing for us,” he said Tuesday.
Environment Canada was predicting a high of 22 C for Winnipeg, under sunny skies, July 1.
Laura Cabak, spokeswoman for the Assiniboine Park Conservancy, said its Canada Day celebrations have not included fireworks since 2017. (The Leaf building now stands on its former launch site.)
Winnipeggers, however, like the family-friendly entertainment and activities spread through the sprawling park on Canada Day, she added.
“People can come have a picnic, go to the zoo, see the gardens,” Cabak said. “It’s nice to activate different areas of the park for people to explore.”
The conservancy, in consultation with its Indigenous programming advisory circle, will start the day at Lyric Theatre at 11 a.m., when grandfather knowledge keeper Vern Dano gives a blessing for the event. The theatre will also showcase entertainment including Sierra Noble and the Small Glories.
The Leaf’s Indigenous Peoples Garden will feature sacred fire and tobacco offerings with Cree Crowchild at the fire node.
New this year is the Performance Garden, one of the Leaf’s six outdoor gardens, where musicians Raine Hamilton, Winnipeg Steel Orchestra Duo and Duo Cochi will play in a setting with a tiered area near the stage and trees at the edges to enjoy music in shade.
The field in front of the Lyric Theatre will feature a local makers market, bouncy house and slide for children, activities by Fit Kids Health Kids, and food trucks.
Elsewhere in the city, local drummers — both professional and amateur — will be seeking to assist in a new Guinness World Record.
Tony Guan, spokesman for the Winnipeg Chinese Senior Association, said local participants will link up virtually with others across the country and around the world to try breaking the number of “most people performing a drum roll online simultaneously.”
“This is the sixth year, and it has been a pretty wild event before,” Guan said noting the event began as part of the Legacy 150 Celebrations celebrating Canada’s 150th year since Confederation. “We will have drums there for people, first-come, first-serve, but you can bring your own drum.
“Everyone will drum together for two minutes. The record right now is held by us, but we will break it again.”
The event begins at Bridgwater Lakes Park fountain (75 Bridge Lake Dr.) at 12:30 p.m.; drumming begins at 1 p.m.
Meanwhile, Women’s March Winnipeg and the Women’s Health Clinic are holding a pro-choice march Canada Day, in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court ruling overturning that country’s pivotal Roe v. Wade ruling on abortion.
Beginning at 12:30 p.m., supporters are being asked to gather in front of the United States consulate (201 Portage Ave.). They will then march to the Manitoba Legislative Building.
Kevin Rollason is one of the more versatile reporters at the Winnipeg Free Press. Whether it is covering city hall, the law courts, or general reporting, Rollason can be counted on to not only answer the 5 Ws — Who, What, When, Where and Why — but to do it in an interesting and accessible way for readers.