WEDNESDAY MORNING EDITORIAL — It was a wonderful day. So many things went right with Canada Day in Kamloops that one hesitates to say anything that might suggest it wasn’t perfect.
So let’s start with what went right. It was, without much room for argument, the best Canada Day celebration this city has seen. It just keeps getting better and better.
Over the years, the organizers from the Kamloops Multicultural Association, Kamloops Arts Council and their many helpers have learned much about putting on an event that draws tens of thousands of people to Riverside Park over the course of one day.
When you think about it, it’s phenomenal — a third of the City’s entire population visits the festivities for at least a part of the day. Some stay for an hour or so, some for much longer. On average, three hours is probably not a bad estimate.
They all must be entertained, fed and hydrated efficiently in order to avoid the crankies that inevitably overtake tired people if they aren’t well looked after. It’s also a safety issue, from traffic to medical needs to safe movement in the park.
Tuesday’s event was full of colour, fun, information and a sense of togetherness that only pride in one’s country can create.
Now comes what should properly be called the “even better” category.
It would be even better if something could be done about the unfortunate audience members who must bake in the hot sun during the official opening ceremonies and following performances at the bandshell. Those on stage stay cool under the roof of the bandshell but those in the chairs out front cook.
During the music and dance later in the day, people can come and go as they please, but during those opening ceremonies people want to stay and see them through. Tuesday, the heat got intense, and the ceremonies were too long, mainly because there were too many speeches and at least a couple of them were way too wordy.
Politicians know the game well enough that they can be told to keep it to no more than a minute, preferably 30 seconds. In fact, it’s not really necessary for them to do much more than wave. Cut them to an introduction and give a really good keynote speaker 10 minutes at the microphone, and the result would be a ceremony that’s shorter and on theme.
Kudos to the addition of a couple of tents in the audience zone. More of that is needed. In the longer term, the City should seriously think about putting a retractable canvas roof in front of the bandshell to defeat the weather rain or shine. Expensive, but so are a lot of other things on the City’s capital projects list.
Here’s a simpler, interim solution: start the ceremonies an hour and a half earlier. Lots of people arrive early in the day specifically to avoid the heat. As it is now, many stay away from the ceremonies because of the heat, or leave early.
Seating at the food fair is a problem for the same reason — it’s too hot to sit out in the open, and awkward to sit on the grass with a plate of food and a drink. Tents, chairs and tables would be the answer. Maybe it’s long term due to cost, but something better than people crowding around under any available tree needs to be considered.
We can’t control the weather but Tuesday’s 34C was not unusual for Canada Day. The day would be even better if the heat issue can be addressed.