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Canada Day entertainment

Things to see and do
2906 Canada Day - Rubber Trees 2018
Rubber Trees, winners of Amplify Festival's Battle of the Bands winners, return to the city to perform a high-energy Canada Day concert at Riel Park.

Dressed in our favourite red and whites, thousands are expected to celebrate Canada Day.

From family-friendly events and fireworks to free concerts and food trucks, there’s lots to see and do in both St. Albert and Morinville.

With plenty of music, fun activities and good eats, Canada Day is an opportunity to mingle with neighbours and reflect on what makes Canada special.

The City of St. Albert has programmed an afternoon concert at Riel Park followed by an evening concert at St. Albert Plaza. Both are free.

“This year, we’ve tried to focus on programming local entertainment as much as possible. I’m trying to promote the artists in our community,” said Caitlin North, professional programming presenter for City of St. Albert Cultural Services.

With no shortage of talent, North has programmed diverse acts who choose to express their culture in different ways.

City of St. Albert

Riel Park concert

11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

• Zéphyr, a French-Canadian dance company whose members are trained in various genres from ballet and hip hop to African style and musical theatre, kick-start the events at 11 a.m. 

• Monica Lavoie, a graduate of Alexandre Taché School, picks up the beat at 12:10 p.m. Originally from New Brunswick, the Francophone chanteuse began singing 13 years ago. While still in school she competed in the Chicane Albertaine and won first place with her band.

• St. Albert resident Cristian de la Luna adds a Latin vibe at 12:45 p.m. The Columbian born singer-songwriter’s upbeat music of friendship comes from the harsh realities of exile from his homeland.

• Kaylin Kowalyshyn, an emerging vocalist from St. Albert, has practiced her budding talents at various open stages as well as Amplify Youth Festival. She performs at 1:45 p.m.

• Canadian cultural ambassador Mark McKennitt leaps on stage at 2:40 p.m. A First Nations dancer and educator, he is a familiar face performing at high-profile events including the Mayor’s Celebration of the Arts and International Children’s Festival of the Arts.

• Alternative rock band Rubber Trees spices up the afternoon’s energy at 3:15 p.m. with bold covers and a full-throttle stage presence. Since winning a battle of the bands at Amplify Festival, their heavy guitars, deep grooves and super-charged vocals are a local staple.

• Closing the concert at 4:10 is Alleviate, a high-energy rock and roll band that stepped into the spotlight after winning the  2015 Creekwood Chapelle songwriting contest. They released Aggressive Grace (2017) and Glass Habits (2018).

St. Albert Place concert

7 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.

The family friendly concerts continue with three acts bringing together a soulful songwriter, funky grooves and a Tragically Hip tribute.

• Calgary native singer-songwriter Mariel Buckley sets the party in motion at 7 p.m. Rooted in Alberta, her poetic music is described as “gritty and truthful.” A true roots singer, she’s performed at various folk festivals in Edmonton, Canmore and Vancouver.

• Based in Edmonton, Funkford and Sons pay tributes to funk’s greatest and grooviest artists such as Parliament, Rick James, Sly, the Commodores and Chaka Khan. Playing at 8 p.m., the band also features St. Albert guitarist Peter Belec.

• The evening’s headline act at 9:15 p.m. is a tribute to one of Canada’s most beloved bands, The Tragically Hip. Titled “Yer Favourites” after the Hip's compilation album, the performers are five friends sharing a love of the rock band: Joe Nolan, Jesse Dee, Geoff O’Brien, Nigel Gale and Kyle Mosiuk.

Fireworks at 11 p.m.

Town of Morinville

St. Jean Baptiste Park

12 p.m to 4 p.m.

Canada Day’s usual Lite Up the Nite is a significant town celebration capped off with a brilliant showcase of fireworks. However, this year fireworks are temporarily suspended.

“We used to shoot fireworks at Ray McDonald arena. Last year, the Town of Morinville took over and the arena site didn’t meet federal regulations and Alberta Transportation rules. It didn’t have a large enough flare zone and viewing zone,” said Ryan Telfer, events and culture coordinator.

In place of fireworks, the town arranged for various activities from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. They include bands, roving artists, kids’ games and a free hotdog lunch.

The afternoon’s highlight will be two mobile escape room experiences: Davinci’s Workshop and the sci-fi Starship Mutiny.

“You preregister and the escape rooms can accommodate six to nine people. You have 10 minutes to escape,” Telfer said.

“This event has a real community picnic-in-the-park feel. It’s relaxed and you get to see top notch talent, eat a free lunch and wander over to the museum.”

Anna Borowiecki

About the Author: Anna Borowiecki

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