July 1st has always been a public holiday for me. In Canada, people will wear more red than usual and go downtown to celebrate the three provinces coming together to form the country of Canada. Then, after moving to Hong Kong, July 1st was a day celebrated by all as the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Establishment Day. For Hong Kong, it was the day the British rule stopped in Hong Kong, and they were handed back over to China. But they would also retain their freedom to remain capitalist and not be put under the communist government. “One Country, Two Systems”.
Canada Day used to be special in my family. My mom, dad, sister and I would go downtown to watch the parades, followed by the fireworks. My dad, the stingiest guy on earth would pay for parking downtown. That’s how special that day was. It was a family day. After coming back to Vancouver, it was no longer a family thing. It was more of an “oh look, the fireworks are on TV” thing.
2015 was different. I went downtown bright and early (okay, it was around 1PM) to check out what was going on! I was actually doing something for Canada Day again! For one, I knew that the FIFA Fan Zone was running (it’s ran by the marketing agency I used to work for! Pretty proud), and they’d be giving away free Coke. Away my boyfriend and I went to quench our thirst with promo beverages! People were there watching the England vs Germany game and they were in overtime! Eventually, England won 🙂
We had come just at the right time to take pictures with the actual FIFA Women’s World Cup trophy. It was there for three hours on display to the public! The fan zone was a place for everyone to come together to watch the games, as well as get some free swag from sponsors, and experience some hype around the FIFA games.
Meanwhile, the Convention Centre was bustling with more festivities. There were SO many drink samples (McDonalds, Nestea, some truck promoting milk, this other iced tea brand, Sparkling Ice, and I don’t even think I’ve listed them all), but since it was a sweltering hot day, there were huge lines ups for all of them.
The Olympic Cauldron was lit to celebrate Canada, and there were shows going on around Jack Poole Plaza. We ended up buying snacks and drinks from the nearby food carts. I couldn’t resist the skewers. LOOK AT THEM! As for dinner, we ate at the Spaghetti Factory because the line up was decent (everywhere was a little crazy), but ended up eating through the parade. We were pretty tired, so we didn’t mind.
After dinner, we started getting ready for the parade. It was crazy how many people had spots reserved starting from God knows when. They had blankets, snacks, and some had their own poker games running amongst friends, sitting around to make sure they’d have a good spot to view the fireworks. And of course, leaving was a whole mess altogether. That picture above was the crowds of people rushing to get home.
All in all, this year’s Canada Day was one of the most fulfilling one I’ve had in years 🙂 I was super tired after walking around all day, but it was worth it. I just wish it wasn’t quite so hot!