St. Stephen –
Canada 150 fever is rising in St. Stephen.
Celebration ideas and expectations surrounding proposed events to recognize the 150th anniversary of Confederation are gaining momentum throughout the country, and nowhere is that more evident than in this community.
Many residents here have signed up for the Canada 150 Challenge at the Garcelon Civic Center, where participants are being urged to complete 150 laps of the walking track before July 1.
Some are even undertaking the longer journey of “walking to Ottawa,” a distance of 782.5 kilometres, or 3,912.5 laps of the civic centre’s walking track.
New Brunswick Southwest MP Karen Ludwig kicked off her slate of Canada 150 celebrations Tuesday evening, when she offered fans attending a St. Stephen Aces hockey game at the civic centre a chance to win a Team Canada jersey, signed by World Junior Tournament MVP Thomas Chabot, of the Saint John Sea Dogs.
The jersey was won by Doug McLean of St. Stephen.
“As much as many communities will be celebrating on July 1, I really think it’s a year-long event, and the more we can extend it and get Canadians involved and feeling proud, I think it’s a wonderful thing,” said Ludwig. “It is a celebration not only where we are today, but where we’ve been.”
Ludwig credits her husband, Andrew, with the idea for the jersey draw. The New Brunswick Southwest Liberal Association purchased the jersey, and contacted MP Wayne Long in Saint John, for his assistance in having the shirt signed.
Fans arriving for the Aces game with the Campbellton Tigers, were presented with small red and white Canadian flags, as well as multi-coloured Canada 150 flags and pins, along with a ballot for the free draw. During the first period, at centre ice, the ballot boxes were emptied into a barrel and the winning name drawn.
The Town of St. Stephen is soliciting ideas for community celebrations, which will be funded through a provincial program, which could see communities with populations between 4,000 and 25,000 receive as much as $150,000 for a Canada 150 for beautification projects, to contribute to a vibrant and attractive downtown.
The town’s chief administrative officer, Derek O’Brien, said in addition to soliciting volunteer committee members for town initiatives, the town has also gathered ideas from the Business Improvement Area (BIA), the St. Stephen and Area Chamber of Commerce, Future St. Stephen, and other town committees.
Some of the ideas, in addition to those proposed in a 2014 BIA plan for the municipality’s downtown, include a waterfront development (wharf area) creating an impermeable wall that helps protect the waterfront from high tides and severe weather conditions; upgrading the hiking trail system along waterfront and connecting to Milltown trail (trail, boardwalks, lighting); playground improvements at David Allison Ganong Chocolate Park; a “covered bridge” element at the traffic circle on King Street drawing visitors to downtown St. Stephen and the “Turning the Corner” project on the site of the former Milltown Post Office.
Anyone with an idea is asked to submit it to the town by email – firstname.lastname@example.org – by Friday, March 10.