Musings from the ever-changing, ever-amazing and occasionally ever-baffling Fort McMurray, Alberta.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

My Simple Plan for Canada Day 2013 in Fort McMurray

I have so many photos of it from over the years. On most years she has a tiny little red maple leaf temporary tattoo on her face, right on her cheekbone. She is usually sitting in a chair, or on the sidewalk, with a small Canadian flag in her hand, waving it excitedly. It is Canada Day in Fort McMurray, and she is waiting for the parade.

Things have changed over the years since we moved here. She was about to turn three when we arrived, my Intrepid Junior Blogger, and most of our years here we have attended the local Canada celebrations. She has been to the parades and the other events, but this year is a first. This year she will be taking in CanadaROCKS, which she did not attend last year as when I volunteered to work at it she chose to go white water rafting instead. But this year, when I explained the concert line-up to her, she wanted to go. Why? Well, these guys:

 Mother Mother

And this guy: 

Dan Mangan

And mostly these guys:

You see, she's a teenager now. Once, years ago, she would have wanted to attend the teddy bear picnic and the other events at Canada Day but now...well, now she is all about the music. She is rapidly approaching the age when I will begin taking her to several-days-long music festivals, and these outdoor concerts are our gateway into those. And for these we don't need to load up the car and travel down the 63 - we can just hop into the car (or better yet grab municipal transit) and head down to the park behind the Clearwater Public Education Centre. We are quite familiar with that park (having slept there overnight recently as part of a homelessness awareness initiative), but we won't be sleeping this time. That park, normally home to a few dog walkers and soccer players, will for one weekend become the site of the Events Wood Buffalo CanadaROCKS event - and the music, and community spirit, will be flowing.

I am quite excited to see Mother Mother, having heard very positive things about them from friends in Vancouver. And I am excited to see Dan Mangan, as I have heard his music and been astonished. For the IJB, though, I think it is all about the Simple Plan boys. She has been to several concerts now - Hedley, Down With Webster, Billy Talent - and with each one I see her embracing concerts and music more and more. I am genuinely grateful that we can indulge this interest of hers without having to travel to another place. I am profoundly grateful we bring these kinds of acts right here, to Fort McMurray.

And as the night grows dark, and the music begins to fade away, the booming of fireworks will be heard, heralding the arrival of another Canada Day celebration. We will join the crowd as they all ooh and aah, and, when the last sparks disappear, we will fade into the night too, most likely laughing as we go (and stopping at McDonald's as we always do post-concert).

You see I suppose it isn't even about the music for me. It's about the experience, and sharing it with the IJB. It's about seeing her go from teddy bears to rock musicians, from Canada Day parades to evenings spent right in front of a stage, her hand not clutching a flag but instead reaching towards a musician she idolizes. It is about how far we have come, her and I, and how celebrations just like Canada Day have been a part of that journey.

This Canada Day 2013 will find us at CanadaROCKS, right down by the Snye. We will, as on most other Canada Day celebrations, be together, and she may well still have a temporary maple leaf flag tattoo on her cheek. And I will no doubt be reminded of all those past years - and look forward to all the years to come, because who knows what CanadaROCKS 2014, and 2015, and so on, could be?

The YMM Canada Day celebrations
are June 30 and July 1 at
Clearwater Public Education Centre fields
on Hardin Street.
Wanna see the bands?
Click here!
See ya there,
fellow Canadians! :)

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