Cape Breton sees large crowds celebrating Canada Day
Nothing shows normalcy in the community of Westmount, N.S., like a sea of red and white on Canada Day at Petersfield Provincial Park.
"Anywhere between three and five thousand people today," said Cape Breton Regional Municipality councillor Steve Gillespie, one of the organizers of the annual Canada Day celebration at the park.
That’s a stark contrast from this time last year, when outdoor gatherings in the prvince were limited to 25 people.
This Canada Day, the fiddle played and people relaxed in the shade on a day when the weather delivered sunny skies and warm temperatures.
"We can tell you its number one in CBRM," Gillespie said of the Petersfield party, which was cancelled the past few years due to COVID-19. "I think it would definitely rival anything else in Atlantic Canada."
Just down the road in Coxheath, N.S., Bev and Gary Maroun have been decking out their property in red and white on July 1st for 30 years.
They admit the last two weren't quite the same, so there was new appreciation for welcoming guests in perfect weather.
"We're just going to enjoy the day," Gary Maroun said. "The more people the better."
Back at Petersfield, a teen girl's softball team spent the day volunteering at the event, but at the last party pre-pandemic, they were wide-eyed elementary school students.
"I've been coming here since I was young, and I've been volunteering here the past couple years," said Summer Pentecost. "So I'm excited to get back and just see everyone out having some fun."
That's exactly what people did. There were few - if any - masks among the big crowd, but no one seemed to mind.
Meanwhile, Friday was the first time in four years the community’s Canada Day celebration was held at Petersfield.
Canada Day 2019 brought heavy rain, so the event was moved indoors.
"We were hoping and praying for this day, so we were really glad that this ended up coming our way with this kind of weather," Gillespie said. "Thanks to [CTV Atlantic meteorologist] Kalin [Mitchell] for making this day special."
The Sydney area is the host to another big Canada Day party Friday evening with a concert under the lights at Open Hearth Park - headlined by Canadian rock band Crash Test Dummies.