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So much to celebrate in Oshawa this July!

On Monday, July 1, Canada turns 157 years old. This date recognizes when “Canada” – coming from the Huron-Iroquois word “kanata,” which means “village” or “settlement” – was officially recognized as a country. This village has been around for much longer than its official recognition in 1867, cared for and lived on by a diversity of Indigenous peoples. This long weekend, we are invited to learn more about Canada’s history and its commitments to Truth and Reconciliation and celebrate the beauty of where we live, work, and play.

Don't miss the incredible fireworks display on July 1 at Lakeview Park, Oshawa.

To kick off the celebrations, festivities at Lakeview Park start at 2 p.m. on Monday, July 1. Entertainment is family-friendly and appropriate for all ages. Come to Oshawa’s Lakeview Park to see circus performers, a bubble show featuring Zoe Bubbles, Reptilia, steel pan drumming from Club Carib of Oshawa, Sand sculptures by Sandqube, nationally celebrated pro wrestling, and even a dog show! The extended fireworks

display will take place at 10 p.m. Remember that some dogs are terrified of loud noises, so please be sure to enjoy the celebrations thoughtfully.

Next, the City of Oshawa is just one municipality benefitting from free admission to national historic sites, parks, and marine conservation offered by the federal government. From Saturday, June 29, until Sunday, July 7, folks can enjoy free fishing. The Honourable Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Environment and Climate Change and Minister responsible for Parks Canada, said, “On July 1, admission will be free at all Parks Canada administrated places across the country. I hope you will spend this day with family and friends creating your own stories against the backdrop of inspiring national historic sites or breathtaking national parks and national marine conservation areas. Happy Canada Day!” For a list of Oshawa’s Parks and facilities, check out the City of Oshawa website.

Take your furry friend on a walk through the Harmony Valley off-leash dog park.

For those of us with furry friends, I recommend bringing the family to the Harmony Valley off-leash dog park (915 Grandview Street North). According to the City of Oshawa website, “The park is approximately 28 hectares containing a mix of habitats including hardwood forests, coniferous plantations, open fields, meadows, and wetlands. The Harmony Creek flows through the park. The historic Lake Iroquois Shoreline runs along the north edge and is a unique geological feature. With its nature trails, the Harmony Valley Park is enjoyed by walkers, hikers, runners, and nature enthusiasts. The park also contains a popular off-leash area run by volunteers of the Oshawa Durham Area Walkers Group who care for and maintain the off-leash area.” Once again, the bounty of Oshawa’s nature and the heart of its people are on full display.

From July until August, folks can also participate in this year’s Events in the Park (formerly known as “Summer in the City”). On Tuesdays, gather the crew for an evening of live entertainment at Memorial Park (110 Simcoe Street South) and on Thursdays at Ed Broadbent Waterfront Park (169 Harbour Road). Events will run from 7 to 8:30 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays throughout the summer and are free for the community. The first performers of the 2024 season are Inka’s Band. According to promoters, “Inka's Band is an Indigenous group from South America made up of talented musicians: Vicente Carbonel (Peru), Henry Sanchez (Ecuador), Edson Espinoza (Chile). Their music is traditional & world using different types of pan flutes, guitars, bass & drums.” Come out on Thursday, July 4, to see Inka’s Band play, enjoy some deep grooves, and relish in the beauty of Oshawa’s parks, waterfront, community, and culture.

Then, on July 20, visit Delpark Homes Centre (1661 Harmony Road North) from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. for the Centennial Community Art Project Creation. Don’t forget that Oshawa also had a birthday this year, turning 100 years old, and the celebration continues! Led by Mary Krohnert and the LivingRoom Community Art Studio, join other art enthusiasts to show the creative side of Oshawa.

While we are being good neighbours and welcoming visitors to the splendours that Oshawa has to offer, it is also important to remember that “The City of Oshawa is situated on lands within the traditional and treaty territory of the Michi Saagiig and Chippewa Anishinaabeg and the signatories of the Williams Treaties, which include the Mississaugas of Scugog Island, Hiawatha, Curve Lake, and Alderville First Nations, and the Chippewas of Georgina Island, Rama and Beausoleil First Nations,” as is stated on the City of Oshawa website. Celebrations must come with dedicated time for thoughtful reflection about what more we can do to make Canada and Oshawa a thriving place for those most deserving.

What I have been thinking about this time of year is the dedicated hard work that was put into renaming a street in Oshawa that had painful roots to colonialism to “Debwewin Miikan,” a street name that is deliberately connected to local Indigenous culture and history. Debwewin’ is an Anishinaabemowin word meaning ‘truth,’ while ‘Miikan’ means ‘road’ in that same language. Read more about the name change here.

There are so many opportunities to gather this July and enjoy Oshawa's beautiful nature, people, and culture. Avoid the long commutes by staying right at home and inviting your friends and family to some of the events being hosted by Oshawa and its artists. Recognizing the land on which we are situated and taking seriously our responsibility to respond to any opportunity to honour the gifts of this land and of these people should happen every day. But this weekend, we do this work and add fireworks!

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