A Canada Day Picnic to Remember...

On Canada Day 2012, The Honourable Joe Oliver, P.C., M.P. Minister of Natural Resources, hosted a community picnic for the Eglinton-Lawrence riding. It was a non-partisan event, which drew over 250 guests and 60 volunteers. It was a great success.

On Sunday morning at 10 AM, approximately 60 volunteers arrived at Marshall McLuhan High School on Avenue Road, and began preparations for the picnic. ¬†Tables and chairs were set up under the trees, and on the school’s patio overlooking the playing field. Tarpaulins were rigged over the patio to offer shade; a PA system was put in place on the field along with a games area for the kids; a 30 foot long food table was set up to serve the picnic lunch and refreshments; and the entire area was festooned with balloons. Jolly, the clown, and Marie, the face-painter, arrived to help lead the festivities. Now... all that was needed were guests.

Sure enough, at 12 noon, adults and kids of all ages started to arrive. There was a steady stream of cars winding into the parking lot adjacent to the school, as well as people arriving by foot, having ridden the TTC or walked from their homes nearby.

For lunch, there were delicious fresh fruit trays from the Don Mills and Eglinton Superstore, pizza from Pizza Pizza and Tov-Li, and fruit juices and soft drinks. No one went away hungry and excess food and refreshments were donated to a variety of good causes.

Tobias Enverga and Marie Guiao brought along a group of entertainers, who sang and danced their way into the hearts of the guests. The St. Joseph’s High School Superstars performed an energetic hip hop dance routine, while Miss Philippines Canada, Alev Usta, and Runner Up Mary Quilao, Little Miss Philippines Canada, Arianna Panteleon, and Runner Up Britney Waito sang a variety of pop songs, old and new, to the delight of the picnic guests.

Miss Quilao led the guests in the singing of O Canada, which was followed by a speech from Joe. He reminded us of what a great country Canada is, and how fortunate we are to live in a part of the world, where peace and prosperity are the rule.  He also thanked all the guests and volunteers for coming out, and making the picnic a community success. Joe had a wonderful time, and met and chatted with virtually everyone at the event.

Also joining the Eglinton-Lawrence volunteers were 25 post graduate International Students from Humber College’s Business School. They worked tirelessly alongside the 35 other volunteers from the riding. The students came from Russia, Nigeria, Pakistan, China, Saudi Arabia, India, Japan, England and Mexico...a wonderfully diverse group that truly represented much of what Canada Day symbolizes. It was their first Canada Day, and many said it was the best experience they had had, since arriving in this country.

The picnic ended at around 2:00 PM, as people moved on to a variety of other Canada Day events, or the Euro 2012 Final, between Spain and Italy. It was a terrific event with a wonderful “vibe,” which lived up to its billing, as a “great way to kick off Canada Day.” Next year, it’ll happen again. Don’t miss it.

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- Hugh Samson


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