While I have volunteered by the Canada Day parade before this was the first time that I "worked" the festivities down at Canada Place.
Our celebration of Canada's 146th birthday is the largest free event outside of Ottawa.
One of my duties was to assist at the citizenship ceremony - seating the guests, crowd control, handling out flags, programs and the words to O Canada - 60 candidates became citizens by reciting aloud in either English or French the following words:
I swear (or affirm) that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, Queen of Canada, Her Heirs and Successors, and that I will faithfully observe the laws of Canada and fulfil my duties as a Canadian citizen.
There is NO requirement to use a Bible or Koran etc but you can if you wish - there is no requirement for swear to a higher authority. You are only required to raise your right hand and repeat the words as the citizenship judge states them - all those at the ceremony were invited to re-affirm their vows by joining in with the newest Canadians. As a natural born Canadian it is the first time that I can remember repeating the words.
The new Canadians were of all ages and while many were of Asian descent, there were a few from Romania, Mexico and one older gentleman from the USA.
One interesting fact that was mentioned is that on a per capita basis Canada allows more immigrants than any of the other G8 countries on an annual basis.
After the Citizenship ceremony I adjourned for lunch and then we went out among the many people packing the Canada Place promenade handling out small Canadian flags and program guides.
In addition to all the people downtown celebrating our nation's birthday - there were two cruise ships docked there as well - the Disney Wonder and the Norwegian Sun that that added even more people to the mix.
Did I mention that it was sunny and HOT - well now you know - we had access to both bottled water and Pepsi so staying hydrated wasn't a problem.
Soon it was 3 PM and that part of my day was over.
Spent a little time wandering the displays and grabbed a quick bite to eat at the portable Triple O's - part of the White Spot chain - just a side of fries and a diet Coke.
Then it was up to the parade site and the second part of my long day.
Canada Day Parade - this was the 5th annual and by far the best and biggest - the entire route was lined up 5 - 6 or more deep - it took about an hour for the parade to start - I was route marshaling at the start - trying to keep the people off the street etc - for the most part this was a much more behaved crowd that the Santa Claus parade crowd.
I assisted an older gentlemen in a wheelchair to a curbside location - turns out he is 92 - probably the oldest person in my part of the parade - on the other hand their were a lot of little ones - I stopped and we were encourage to mingle and talk to the parade watchers - saw one little one and when I asked his mother his age - the response was 1 month old.
I had originally planned to bale at the end but the end float was a band and the crowd starting following the parade to its conclusion so we were needed to act as a buffer to keep people off of the float - it was a sea of humanity that stretched more than three long city blocks. Finally escaped the throngs and got home about 9 PM.
A very exciting and fruitful and long and hot day.