The weather outside doesn’t look anything remotely close to summer, but something about what’s coming up in the next few months has started to get me excited.
I’m talking about Canada’s 150th birthday, and as it happens, I just took a group photo this afternoon of Outlook’s own committee for the big bash, who has already been working hard behind the scenes for a while on this community’s celebration for our nation’s century-and-a-half milestone.
It got me thinking about the many types of community celebrations I’ve been a part of in the years that I’ve been at this whole reporter gig. As someone who covers a wide area, I’ve been witness to some very monumental occasions, and a lot of it has stayed with me over the years.
So much so that I thought I’d share my thoughts on a handful of the biggest ones that stand out.
1. Saskatchewan Centennial in 2005: I was 19 years old and I had one summer left before I was set to move out to Victoria to go to film school. My friends and I always had a tradition of getting together for events such as Canada Day, and we did the same thing here with the province’s centennial events, which Outlook organized events for. I fondly remember hanging out with the guys out on the Skytrail as the sun was starting to make its descent in the west, and cruising around town and noticing how busy Outlook was that weekend. We went to the dance that night at the Civic Centre and, well, enjoyed more than a few adult beverages. This was one of the last great nights I had with my best friends in our hometown area before the responsibilities of education and this crazy thing called adulthood started pulling us in other directions.
2. Outlook Centennial in 2008: Another centennial just three years later. This time it was Outlook’s own 100-year birthday being celebrated, and they pulled out all the stops. A long parade, dances, a show n’ shine, there was plenty to see and do. I wish I could remember how inflated the town became from a population standpoint that weekend, but I know it was by a lot. It was great to reconnect with some old high school chums, as who knew when any of us would see each other again.
3. Conquest Centennial in 2011: Weird how there seems to be a pattern of every three years happening here. This was held over the Canada Day long weekend back in 2011, so it coincided with a lot of other celebrations going on. It was definitely one of my hometown’s most landmark occasions, and the best thing to happen in Conquest in years. It gave off the vibe of those classic Canada Day celebrations in the village in years past, with the park being a hotbed of activity and scores of Conquest families converging back home to mark the historic occasion. It was a party that hadn’t been seen in the area for years, and one that we’ll likely never see replicated again.
4. Canada Day 2016: After a largely forgettable celebration in 2015 – one that was hindered by rain and the fireworks having been canceled due to forest fire smoke – Outlook bounced back in 2016 with a party that made up for the year before. The parade saw plenty of memorable entries, there was baseball action at the rink diamonds all day, and the activity in the park offered something for everyone. And the fireworks display to cap the day was bold and beautiful, making up for its absence in 2015. It was one of those Canada Day festivities that reminded me of the ones from when I was a teenager.
5. This coming year: Yeah, I know. I’m talking about something that hasn’t even happened yet. But you know why? Because I know it’s gonna be awesome. We’re talking about several days’ worth of activities here, people. Parade? Yup. Entertainment? Mmhmm. Fireworks? Enough to be legitimately concerned for the environment, I’m sure.
We all have those special events shared with special people that are close to our hearts. I’ve been lucky to be a part of some, whether it’s for work or for my own enjoyment. And I can’t wait to witness to many more, especially this summer.
For this week, that’s been the Ruttle Report.