More than 2,000 people gathered at Sooke River Flats on Monday to celebrate the country’s 152nd birthday.
And while the participants at this year’s event were ready to celebrate, the event was also marked with sadness on the death of Coun. Brenda Parkinson on Friday.
This year’s Canada Day festivities were held in honour of Parkinson, who worked tirelessly throughout the community.
“Brenda Parkinson was an integral part and a driving force behind Canada Day,” said organizer Steve Wright.
Mayor Maja Tait, holding back tears, said Parkinson would want Sooke to celebrate Canada Day.
“In the spirit of Brenda, let’s celebrate today and everyday,” she said.
Among those taking in the celebrations was B.C. Premier John Horgan, MP Randall Garrison, Juan de Fuca Electoral Area Dir. Mike Hicks and T’Sou-Ke First Nation elders Shirley Alphonse and Jackie Planes.
A special recognition was also made to Judithe-Ann Gatto, who organized many of the first Sooke Canada Day celebrations.
This year Sooke’s Canada Day celebrations also took on a new look, with new attractions and entertainment.
One of the main changes was the introduction of an expanded children’s zone that was moved away from the main stage area to a quieter zone in the park.
On the main stage, the day featured a magic show with Donald Dunphy, and music by the Chick Wagon Band, the Country Line and headliners Knacker’s yard.
The day ended with the traditional fireworks display.