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Four days of Canada Day festivities to ring in our 147th birthday

Celebrate with The Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, four bands, fireworks and a pancake breakfast



Canada's 147th birthday is being celebrated with four days of entertainment and music — culminating in fireworks on Tuesday, July 1.

But it is a performance by the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra (VSO) that will be Whistler's flagship event on Canada Day, with music by Tchaikovsky, Dvorak and Rimsky-Korsakov. Wagner's Ride of the Valkyries and John Williams' Raiders of the Lost Ark: March will also be performed.

The concert takes place at Whistler Olympic Plaza at 3 p.m., part of Whistler Presents. Gordon Gerrard, the VSO's assistant-conductor, will lead the VSO.

In an interview, Gerrard says this is the orchestra's first Canada Day in Whistler and its performance will have a light classical "pops" feel and big sound.

The music was chosen for the out-of-doors, "with a lot of brass!" he says.

"I was up in Whistler last year and it's just a great space. To have the concert outside with the lawn packed with people, it's very exciting. We've put together a program with some Canadian music and celebratory music for the whole family," Gerrard adds, referring to the VSO's opening piece by 20th-century Canadian composer Oskar Morawitz.

"It was important for me, when putting this together, that we play some Canadian music because we don't often get a chance to hear this stuff. It's a great opportunity.

"Most of the pieces of music we've selected people will recognize even if they don't think they know them."

Seventeen-year-old violin soloist Doreen Dasol Yun, former assistant concertmaster at the Vancouver Youth Symphony Orchestra, will join the VSO on stage.

The VSO is also putting together a brass quintet and string quartet to perform during the Canada Day week, around Whistler Village on July 2, 4, and 5.

The orchestra's visit to Whistler ends with full VSO performances on Friday, July 4 and Saturday, July 5.

"It was one of the ways we could expand the whole orchestra away from the main stage," says Gerrard. "A couple of times, each of these ensembles will play. It's an opportunity for people to experience music on a more intimate scale... you can watch the fascinating exchange and interplay between the players."

The VSO rarely performs on Canada Day, and Gerrard is looking forward to the impact they can have on the audience, young and old.

"We want to be one of the highlights of people's Canada Day. Since it is an afternoon concert, I hope there will be a lot of families coming out. I sometimes worry that people think that bringing kids to a symphony concert is not appropriate... but this is a relaxed setting and people don't have to worry," he says. "Children and people who don't normally go, I hope they discover the music."

Events taking place all weekend

ArtWalk opens for the 2014 season. There are displays and pop-up galleries all over Whistler, featuring the works of over 40 Whistler and regional artists. Works include paintings, knitting, quilting, ceramics and more. From 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. daily until September. See story page 83.

Whistler Street Entertainment Free, family-friendly events with fun and interactive entertainment. With live music, dance, outdoor theatre, arts and crafts, and more.

Saturday, June 28

Whistler Presents Barney Bentall and the Grand Cariboo Opry, a favourite in the Sea to Sky region, perform at Olympic Plaza on Saturday, June 28, at 8:30 p.m. They are backed by Lindi Ortega at 7:30 p.m. Ortega is a veteran, Toronto-raised singer-songwriter and Polaris Music Prize nominee now based in Tennessee.

Sunday, June 29

Whistler Farmers' Market sells local produce, crafts and yummy snacks. Located in the Upper Village Stroll from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information on participating vendors visit www.whistlerfarmersmarket.org.

Whistler Presents Said the Whale, Vancouver indie rockers and 2011 Juno Award winners for Best New Group, perform at Olympic Plaza at 8:30 p.m. See an interview with the band on page 89. They are backed by Victoria folk and reggae duo Jon and Roy, who play at 7:30 p.m.

Monday, June 30

Street Entertainers and ArtWalk (see above).

Tuesday, July 1

Transit around Whistler is free from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., so skip the parking lineups by taking the bus.

Canada Day Breakfast Pancakes, anyone? It's the fifth year of Whistler Community Services Society's mass pancake breakfast for everyone who turns up. Up to 500 hungry people go every year, served by community volunteers and local businesses.

A minimum of $3 is requested or $2.75 if you bring your own dish.

The breakfast takes place from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. at Florence Petersen Park, next to Whistler Public Library. All proceeds go to the Whistler Food Bank.

Canada Day Parade Local sports clubs, businesses and other groups can take part in this year's Whistler Canada Day Parade.

The theme this year is Earth, Air, Fire and Water.

The parade starts at noon and winds through Whistler Village from Town Plaza to Mountain Square, with around 5,000 people watching the parade each year.

Set up for the parade starts at 10:30 a.m. in Day Lot 3. All entries must check in with the registration table. Judging starts at 11 a.m. in Day Lot 3, and the parade leaves the lot at 11:45 a.m. At noon the parade crosses Blackcomb Way, under the Whistler Library, and enters the Village Stroll via Town Plaza.

Floats will be judged on creativity, effort, and theme demonstration for the following categories: Best interpretation of the parade theme, Earth, Air, Fire and Water; Most team effort, Involvement and enthusiasm; Most innovative approach to a sustainable entry; and Best musical entry.

Entries for the parade are being taken until Friday June 27th, 2014; for more information email ajohnstone@whistler.ca.

Pedal Parade Pique's Pedal Parade for youngsters has long been part of the Canada Day Parade. Young entrants are asked to decorate their bikes in the theme of Earth, Air, Fire and Water — and wear your best red and white, Canada's colours! There are great prizes.

Registration and set up at 10 a.m. at the Pique tent, located in the municipal parking lot. Photos are by Coast Mountain Photography. Bike judging is at 10:45 a.m. The Pedal Parade begins around noon, joining the main parade.

For more information call Kate at 604-938-0202 or email kate@piquenewsmagazine.com.

Breanna Martindale Thirteen-year-old local chanteuse Breanna Martindale sings O Canada at 1:15 p.m. in Village Square. It is part of a ceremony commemorating the day, and includes a welcome from Mayor Nancy Wilhelm-Morden, Whistler's ever-popular Canada Day cake, and appearances from Olympic and Paralympic stars.

Vancouver Symphony Orchestra The concert takes place at Whistler Olympic Plaza at 3 p.m. (See above!)

FIREWORKS! Whistler's Canada Day 2014 wraps up with fireworks at Skier's Plaza at 10:15 p.m.


Canada Day in Pemberton is a packed day. It opens at 8 a.m. with registration for the annual Spud Run at the Pemberton Community Centre. The Canada Day Parade takes place on Portage Road at 11 a.m.

The official Canada Day Celebration takes place at the Pemberton Community Centre from noon to 3 p.m., as does the Farmers' Market, also at the Pemberton Community Centre.