East York’s Canada Day Parade returns after two-year hiatus

Area residents of all ages had a blast at the 65th annual event

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In 2020, Sandra Collins and six of her friends from Hendriks Court Seniors Residence were in East York’s Canada Day Parade.

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The Group of Seven, as they are aptly named, marched from their residence at Woodbine Ave. and O’Connor Dr. at Cosburn Ave. waving flags to adoring motorists, cyclists and pedestrians who encouraged them and their spirits.

On Friday, after a two-year hiatus due to COVID, Collins and thousands of other East Yorkers lined the streets from Dieppe Park to Stan Wadlow Park to celebrate the return of the 65th annual parade.

“I hope to still be there for the 2024 Canada Day Parade, as it will be East York’s 100th anniversary,” Collins said, with fellow resident Rita Conn at her side.

Collins said it’s been “sad” over the past two years to miss simple things like exercise classes and even seeing people in the parade.

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“It’s great that there are a lot of kids this year,” she said. “More than ever.”

Children enjoyed the rides during the 65th annual Canada Day Parade in East York and the one-day party at Stan Wadlow Park, which finally took place after a two-year hiatus due to COVID on Friday the 1st July 2022.
Children enjoyed the rides during the 65th annual Canada Day Parade in East York and the one-day party at Stan Wadlow Park, which finally took place after a two-year hiatus due to COVID on Friday the 1st July 2022. Photo by Jack Boland /Toronto Sun/Postmedia Network

Conn emigrated to Canada many years ago from his home in Belfast, Northern Ireland, and was one of seven in 2020.

“It’s awesome,” Conn said. “Every year we look forward to it.”

“And we can sit here at the front (of the residence) and watch the fireworks. We don’t need to go to the park.

Even Toronto Mayor John Tory and East York-Beaches Councilor Brad Bradford took the time to greet the ladies outside their residence and thank them for carrying on the parade tradition.

At Stan Wadlow Park, children and their families enjoyed slides and other rides, like amusement rides, and games of chance to win stuffed animals.

They also listened to bands on the main stage like the East York Blues Allstars who kicked the Canada Day festivities into high gear.

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The East York Blues Allstars perform on the main stage during East York's 65th Annual Canada Day Parade and All-Day Party at Stan Wadlow Park on Friday, July 1, 2022.
The East York Blues Allstars perform on the main stage during East York’s 65th Annual Canada Day Parade and All-Day Party at Stan Wadlow Park on Friday, July 1, 2022. Photo by Jack Boland /Toronto Sun/Postmedia Network

Of the families, five recently fled war-torn Ukraine and now live in East York, with a few having their children treated at Sick Kids Hospital.

An organization called Meagan’s Hug sold t-shirts and hats to raise money to help families and show the true Canadian multicultural friendship the country is built on.

And as the Canada Day long weekend continues, Stan Wadlow will hold his fireworks display Saturday at 10 p.m.

Some sort of glitch happened with a vendor who had been hired by the City of Toronto and who didn’t participate in the fireworks. Fortunately, another fireworks company stepped in at the last moment.

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