Parades, fireworks, face-painting and dancing if theres one thing the Columbia Valley knows how to celebrate its Canada Day.
Thousands flocked to the valley on the Canada Day long weekend to kick off the month of July and celebrate Canadas 149th birthday. In Invermere, the day started with the annual parade going through downtown and ending on Kinsmen beach with other towns and businesses celebrating in their own ways.
In the village of Radium Hot Springs, visitors came out and enjoyed the parade on what was an extremely busy day, said Kent Kebe, manager of the Radium Hot Springs Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Centre. He said Radium had over 400 visitors at the visitor centre this year, which is down from an even busier year last Canada Day.
I think last year was just an extremely busy year as well so this Canada Day was extremely busy, but Im sure not everyone comes in the visitor centre as well, he said.
In terms of overall numbers at the Invermere Visitors Centre and Kiosk, manager Kathy Tyson said that they were relatively similar to last years booming long-weekend. One thing she said she did notice was that there seems to be more diversity in the visitors shes meeting from the United States and the rest of the province.
It seems like we are getting more US, visitors from afar, from all over the states not just Washington and California, Ms. Tyson said. Weve had them from just about every state in the US so far and its been more of the northern and western states as well.
At Panorama Mountain Resort they were at full capacity, with visitors taking in various activities like their bike park and enjoying a weekend in the mountains, said Jamie Hurschler marketing and media specialist at the resort.
Its an opportunity to just get back into the mountains and partake in the activities that you havent done in the summer so far, be it golfing, mountain biking, hiking, water rafting, horseback riding or ATV-ing, he said.
Fairmont Hot Springs Resort was also at capacity on the weekend with around 1000 visitors taking in Rudy the Clown doing face painting and crafting balloon animals, among other events at the Resort, said Patrick Tolchard, events coordinator at the resort.
While those events were particular to Canada Day festivities, golfing, one of the valleys most beloved pastimes, was also a popular activity for people celebrating the long-weekend.
Scott McClain, head professional at Copper Point Golf Club, said that this year was equally as busy as it was in previous years thanks to the sunny weather they experienced in the valley.
I think the quality of the product of the courses allows a lot of people to come out and it is really a kick-start to the summer, he said. Kids are out of schools and its a great chance for people to come out and experience the courses when its not full tilt in the middle of summer.
With less than a year to go until Canadas next birthday, celebrating 150 years, you could expect the celebration throughout the Columbia Valley to be bigger than ever.