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Local residents make new memories on socially distant Canada Day

July 9, 2020   ·   0 Comments

For almost all of Canada’s history since Confederation in 1867, Canadians have been able to get together in their respective communities and celebrate July 1.

But this year, the usual in-person celebrations hosted by the Town of New Tecumseth and other organizations were cancelled as Provincial and Federal orders currently prevent any sizeable gatherings from taking place.

Fortunately, this didn’t stop thousands of New Tecumseth residents from spending time with their families, making memories, and celebrating being Canadian.

Ward 6 Councillor Stephanie MacLellan said she had a nice and quiet Canada Day, enjoying the warm weather with her four daughters.

“We just went swimming and hung out together; my big giant dog is not a fan of fireworks, so we stayed in with him to keep him calm,” she said.

Mayor Rick Milne said he had a “very quiet” Canada Day, much different than what he’s used to, being in municipal politics.

It started off with him driving over to visit the home of Russell Cowen who just turned 95. Mayor Milne said he did a “drive by of recognition” when he passed by his house, congratulating Cowen on his 95th lap around the sun and the positive work he’s done in New Tecumseh.

Cowen currently lives in Adjala-Tosorontio but has been heavily involved with hockey programs in New Tecumseth most of his whole life.

Meanwhile, Ward 4 Councillor Fran Sainsbury had a relatively quiet day celebrating Canada’s founding.

She told The Times she watched Canada Day celebrations on TV from the comfort off her home and enjoyed the fireworks at night.

Sainsbury said she’s very proud to be Canadian and feels fortunate to call it home.

“I think the accident of birth is the most amazing thing in history, being born Canadian,” she enthused. “Having started my life in wartime with food stamps and rations – I’m just grateful everyday.”

Sainsbury has travelled across Canada from one coast to the other and said it has so much to offer with its beautiful landscapes, mountains, lakes, and oceans.

A few New Tecumseth residents called Sainsbury on July 1 saying they couldn’t get through to speak with anyone from the Town, so she explained they were closed.

“They said [they] forgot all about Canada Day, some of the older people aren’t even remembering what day of the week it is because of this COVID-19,” she noted.

“When you live alone and you don’t go out a lot, and maybe you don’t converse with others a lot, then one day kind of just blends into the next.”

Fortunately, Sainsbury said no one in her neighbourhood of Greenbriar or surrounding ones like Treetops have caught COVID-19 to date, which is very positive considering these are senior communities.

Meanwhile Ward 5 Councillor Donna Jebb, like Sainsbury, watched Canada Day celebrations on TV last Wednesday. She also grabbed take-out from a local restaurant and watched the fireworks off of her deck with family.

“It was different, it was very quiet Canada Day,” Jebb said. “Usually you’re running from one place to the other, seeing people and chatting with people.”

This year, the slower pace allowed Jebb and her family to connect with friends and distant relatives over Zoom.

She said she’s very proud to be Canadian, and, as a farmer, she’s proud of the work the agricultural community does to keep the country fed.

Jebb said it’s important to stay positive during this difficult time of limited in-person interaction and continue on the path that Canada is currently travelling towards eliminating COVID-19.

Sainsbury agreed and noted that the strength of New Tecumseth’s community will help carry its resident to the other side of this pandemic.

“Small towns, in the worst of times, always seem to band together. It doesn’t matter if it’s a tornado, if it’s a fire or if it’s death,” she said. “Look what happened with the Humbolt Hockey Team and the bus accident, look at how the world – never mind just Canada – pitched in.

“As soon as we can all get out together again, we’ll have all this energy saved up to probably build a bigger, better and even stronger community.

“We realize now that we’re all in this together and it’s going to take all of us to turn this around.”

By Sam Odrowski
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter


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