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Canada Day celebrates spirit

Motorized floats are back for the nation’s birthday party

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It just wouldn't be a Canada Day parade without a fire truck.

And in an attempt to be red and white as well as green this July 1, Whistler firefighters are taking a new twist on the old parade staple: they plan to pull the fire truck through the village.

"This year we have decided to hook up a big rope on the front of the truck, and we are hopefully going to have enough volunteers from the department to tow it through the village," explained organizer Ken Roberts.

"I have 15 to 20 guys who say they are coming out for sure."

The fire truck is just one of the many eco-friendly floats that are part of the festival this year.

Fourteen non-motorized entrees have registered for the parade including pedestrian floats, bicycles, hybrid and natural gas vehicles, golf carts, a smart car, and a dog pulling a cart, according to Fiona Famulak from the Chamber of Commerce.

This year's theme is "Whistler Spirit - Let's Hear It! Celebrating Our Arts, Culture and Heritage." The parade kicks off at noon and will weave from Day Lot 4 to underneath the Whistler Library and onto Village Stroll at Town Plaza before culminating in Mountain Square. From there, Mayor Ken Melamed will give a speech, followed by the national anthem and Canada Day cake.

Unlike last year, motorized floats are also allowed to parade through the village next week.

"The feedback from last year's parade taught us that developing a Canada Day parade that satisfies all Whistler's diverse community interests is an evolving process," said Famulak.

"As project manager of the parade, the chamber cannot ignore that feedback."

She said the chamber has tried to develop a win-win-win for the community, businesses and the Whistler 2020 vision.

The village streets will also be filled with entertainment throughout the afternoon including Colossal Canadian, "Live Art" with body painter Cary Lopes and face painting and balloon twisting. Also, look out for Miga, Sumi and Quatchi - the 2010 Olympic mascots - who will be roaming the area. And a Canada Day outdoor film will also be showcased at the Squamish Lil'wat Cultural Centre at sundown.

To make way for the parade, both Blackcomb Way and Main Street will be closed between 11:45 a.m. and 12:20 p.m. Day Lots 1 and 2 will be open for public parking during Canada Day, and Day Lot 3 will be closed for construction.

The deadline to register parade floats was Wednesday, June 24.

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