Legion opts out of 2024 Canada Day fireworks
Creemore Legion will not be presenting fireworks as part of their 2024 Canada Day celebrations.
Deborah Grant, past treasurer and co-secretary for the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 397, said the Legion voted not to proceed with fireworks at the October meeting due to a shortage of manpower and community support. They are going ahead with thedaytime activities and games.
“It was a hard decision to make because the Legion is all about community,” said Grant. “Our membership is aging and it’s hard getting help.”
With many of the Legion activities, said Grant, there is a small group of people doing the lion’s share of the work.
For more than 10 years, Legion member Norm Nordstrom has been the driving force behind the Canada Day celebrations in Creemore, including the popular fireworks display at the arena.
Nordstrom recalls that the Legion took on the role of Canada Day hosts from the local Lions Club when it dissolved.
Nordstrom has had help from community partners in organizing activities like the bike parade, the ball hockey tournament and the boot drive.
“That took a lot of the pressure off,” said Nordstrom, who had the responsibility of applying for funding, permits and street closures, and booking entertainment.
“I do kind of miss doing it,” said Nordstrom. “I just felt I wasn’t getting the support. I thought it was time for me to back away and let some younger people take over. I’ll be 81 next month, so there are times when you should step back.”
The total cost of hosting the Canada Day celebration came to $13,000 last year, with $9,000 of that going to pay for the fireworks. The cost is covered by grants and donations but Nordstrom has really had to hustle to cobble together all the money so the Legion can break even.
Grant said 42 letters were sent out to businesses last year asking for donations, and they did receive about 10 responses.
Mayor Doug Measures said he is concerned that there may not be fireworks on Canada Day and hopes someone else will take up the mantle.
“Canada Day is both a national celebration and a community celebration,” he said. “Fireworks at dusk continues to be a highlight of Canada Day and it will be my great hope that volunteers or an organization can come forward to revive this community celebration.”
Grant and Nordstrom have said the Legion team is happy to provide advice and support to anyone who wants to take it on.