Canada Day in New Westminster

Canada Day fireworks are at the New Westminster Quay on July 1, 2015
Canada Day fireworks are at the New Westminster Quay on July 1, 2015

For Canada Day fun in New Westminster, head to Queens Park and the Quay this Wednesday, July 1.

The festivities begin at 11:30am in Queens Park, with activities and displays from community organizations and live music in the Bandshell until 3:30pm. The spray park and petting zoo will be open as usual, so there’ll be lots for families to do.

Then, after 3pm head down to River Market for face-painting, balloon-twisting and other activities for the kids. For the adults, head out to the boardwalk to catch some live music outside the Paddlewheeler Pub. The shops at River Market will be open late for those who want to pick up dinner on site.

For the literary-minded, there is a Poetry in the Park event from 6-8pm in the Queens Park Bandshell, featuring poetry readings and an open mic. Poetry in the Park is a weekly summer event hosted by the Royal City Literary Arts Society.

The day will finish with fireworks on the Quay at 10pm. Gather on the Quay Boardwalk near River Market for a great view, or watch in style from the Wild Rice patio (reservation-only seating after 8:30pm, so book ahead if that’s your plan!).

How do you plan to spend Canada Day?

Happening in New West: Thursday, June 24-Wednesday, July 1

Starting this week, writer Laura Grady is contributing a weekly selection of events, activities and other fun stuff to do around New Westminster. If you have an event to add to this list, or want to let us know about something that’s coming up, please leave a comment to let us know about it! 

Opening this week

Mermaids Are Real: A photography exhibit presented by the Arts Council, June 23 - July 19.
Mermaids Are Real: A photography exhibit presented by the Arts Council, June 23 – July 19.

Arts Council of New Westminster: Mermaids are Real
Dive into the mystical world of swimming mermaids. Through a series of stunning photographs, visitors will be swept away into a beautiful underwater world. The exhibit includes videos and the children’s book The Pink Mermaid and Other Tails.
June 24–July 19
1pm to 5pm
Queens Park Continue reading “Happening in New West: Thursday, June 24-Wednesday, July 1”

‘Significant’ injuries for victim after car crashes into Rose Garden on Canada Day

Note: Updated at 8 p.m. with new information from the Globe & Mail, CBC and Province websites.

New Westminster’s Canada Day celebrations took an upsetting turn towards the close of the Queen’s Park festivities when an elderly driver crashed a car into a park bench in the Rose Garden, injuring at least two people – one critically.

Police on the scene at the Rose Garden in Queens Park on Canada Day. Photo: Briana Tomkinson
Police on the scene at the Rose Garden in Queen's Park on Canada Day. Photo: Briana Tomkinson

News reports about the injuries vary. CBC says four people were hurt in the crash, but the Globe & Mail and Province say only two. All sources agree that a couple in their sixties were hit by the car, and a woman is now in hospital with critical injuries to the head.

Witnesses said the driver seemed to be trying to park her silver SUV, but instead, accelerated straight through the park’s rose garden.

The injured included a man and a woman who were sitting on a park bench. Pat Barnes, who witnessed the accident, said the woman took the brunt of the hit.

“She got hung up on the hood of the car and went with it all the way down over the embankment,” Barnes said, adding the incident could have been much worse.

“It was actually fortunate there was not more people hurt, because there was a lot of people in the rose garden … a lot of people in the park.”

– CBC: New Westminster accident injures 4

More from The Globe & Mail’s report:

At 2:45 p.m., an elderly woman’s car accelerated from the nearby parking lot, travelled 12 metres across the grass and hit the bench, which was near the middle of the large park.

“The information I received is that the vehicle left the parking area and travelled some 40 feet across grass and struck the bench,” New Westminster police Sergeant Gary Weishaar said. “You think about kids that would have been witnesses to that, and the families.”

Investigators say it is too early to know what caused the crash, though witnesses told CTV it appeared the woman confused the gas and brake pedal.

A mechanical inspection of the car will be carried out Thursday to see if a malfunction played a role in the bizarre crash. The driver, a woman in her 80s, was questioned by police and released into the care of her family. She wasn’t hurt, and Sgt. Weishaar said it was too early to say whether she might be charged.

“Of course, everything’s being looked at,” he said.

– The Globe & Mail: Driver slams into Canada Day crowd

Will and I heard about the accident just as we were about to head home from the park, and heard confirmation via @bnu on Twitter (quoting a News1130 radio report) shortly after we got home confirming that a woman suffered “significant” injuries after an elderly driver hit a park bench in Queen’s Park during Canada Day festivities around 3:15 p.m. today. Police said it seems the driver accidentally hit the gas pedal instead of the brake.

In the photo below, you can see the destroyed park bench in the background, behind the police tape barrier:

A destroyed bench is visible in the background, behind the police tape. Photo: Briana Tomkinson
A destroyed bench is visible in the background, behind the police tape. Photo: Briana Tomkinson

We passed by the Rose Garden on the way to the van, and snapped a few photos of the scene. As you can tell, any injured folks had already been taken care of by paramedics, and the crash debris had been largely cleared from the scene. A large section of the parking lot and Rose Garden was still cordoned off with yellow police tape, however, and police were taking statements from witnesses. I overheard part of one of these statements, from a  former firefighter who said he gave first aid to the crash victim. Many other witnesses and first responders were sharing their stories with partygoers exiting the park.

Our thoughts are with both the driver and the woman injured in the crash.

More coverage:

Thanks to Jocelyn for posting the first report on this, based on a quick phone call from Will as we left the park.

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Canada Day! Yee Haw!

Queens Park ploto: Dennis Hurd
Queen's Park ploto: Dennis Hurd

Our family unit and other Tenth to the Fraser crew are heading out to Queen’s Park today, like so many other Royal City citizens. I have been attending Canada Day in this park almost my whole life. For a long time, I thought of it as a big town party just for me – and a thousand of my closest friends.

The boys and girls from town would stampede from one end of the park to the other (unsupervised – this was the 1980s) looking for flag pins, balloons, cookies, cake and what ever else was on offer. I think that it was in these years that I learned to appreciate the social function of the bagpipes. I am still called to lawful assembly every time I hear them.

In the ‘Our Views’ section on page A6 of the Record for July 1st, 2009, the newspaper staff exhort us to Fly the Maple Leaf with Pride .

It’s far too easy to become cynical and pessimistic about the fate of our nation.

Pick up any newspaper or turn on any TV set, and there’s a headline or a broadcast reminding you about all the things that are going wrong in Canada.

and later

A nation in which we could have chosen to headline this editorial “Why Canada sucks” – and no one would have come after us for it.

Is our country perfect? Far from it. But, flawed as it may be, it’s still the best place to live on the planet.

So wear the red and white with pride today, and fly your flag high.

I think this applies in spades, and particularly with New Westminster. Too much of our airwaves and public forums are dedicated to bad news, hard luck cases and private agendas that feed on the demonization of all that we have here in Canada and this city. How many times have I heard, “Oh, another Downtown Revitalization Project. That will never work.” And now that the actual signs of commercial and civic vitality are bursting forth, where are the naysayers?

One of the founding principles of this website is that our city has much to celebrate and is positioned for an active and positive future. While raising the digital profile of New Westminster, we feel we can provide a positive voice for the Royal City that is badly needed. This is a great town to live in and we are off to celebrate that with our neighbours today in Queen’s Park. Maybe we will see you there.

How will you be celebrating Canada Day?

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