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While Canada Day celebrations across the country went online, Nimrods' in Charlottetown moved them onto the water.
With musical acts and help from the Chip Shack, Boathouse Brews, and Zax Burgers & Shakes, the Peake’s Quay floating dock kept a steady flow of people moving through.
For Mikey Wasnidge, organizer of the event and one of Nimrods' owners, the day was a way for Islanders to celebrate together one last time before the Island opens up to tourists.
“I think the community still wants opportunities to celebrate the summer. And the fact that the bubble’s opening, we only have a couple days left, there’s only one more opportunity to celebrate as a community before it opens up to vacationers.”
With the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19 strain) pandemic, Wasnidge had some concerns about safety, but was confident the dock, with its dedicated entrance and exit points, would allow enough control.
In addition to existing sanitizing procedures, there was also a six-person limit per table and no one was allowed to stand to watch the performances.
Wasnidge directed people as needed and no one seemed to mind if the floating dock was at capacity or when reminded to stay seated.
Wasnidge’s other consideration was diversity.
“Given the dialogue that’s happening right now, Canada Day doesn’t have the same meaning as it did in years past, so we started by asking ourselves ‘how do we do this in a respectful way, if that’s possible at all.’”
He reached out to the Native Council of P.E.I. and told them about the event.
Watch Hey Cuzzin kick off the Canada Day celebrations in Charlottetown:
Thank you to Hey Cuzzin for kicking things off today with a powerful performance. This group has been performing in some variation since 1993 and we were very honoured that they chose to spend the afternoon with us down on the docks. Next up is an original steel drum performance by Pepito Pinto.Posted by Nimrods' on Wednesday, 1 July 2020
While the council had no more involvement than giving its blessing, Wasnidge sees that as an important component moving into the future.
“It’s kind of a combination of offering that support, of incorporating diverse acts and just acknowledging that there’s complexities to the conversation … I hope that everybody starts thinking about these ways to include different groups.”
Nimrods' is also donating a portion of sales from the week toward the Native Council.
- Hey Cuzzin - A Mi'kmaq Drum Group of Lennox Island performing for audiences since 1992
- Pepeto Pinto - steelpan musician
- Logan Richard - A rising star with original blues pop tunes. John Mayer meets Paul Simon.
- Joce Reyome - A giant voice with a mix of covers and original tunes.
- DJ BIANCA - A COVID-friendly, sit-down DJ set featuring the best in reggaeton music
Canada Day beginners
For at least two groups on the dock, it was their first-time celebrating Canada Day.
Sergei Mikhailov, along with wife Anastasiia Mikhailova and daughter Alina, moved to Stratford from Russia almost a year ago.
They weren’t looking for celebrations, only trying to enjoy the warm weather, said Mihailov.
“It’s Canada Day. We were out for a walk to enjoy the water and came here to get some food as a family.”
Though it wasn’t the plan, the family sat and enjoyed some of the live music, but are looking forward to a more regular Canada Day, he said.
“We hope next year will be bigger.”
Mikhailov wasn’t alone, as Sergio Centanaro, who lives in Charlottetown and is a student at Holland College, felt the same.
“For next year, I hope it will be a concert or something like that. A big one.”
A Nimrods' regular, Centanaro and his partner Sara Vera were lured by the music as they were out for a walk.
Despite hoping for more next year, he wasn’t disappointed with how this year went given the state of the world.
“At this moment, we feel pretty safe on this Island.”