CANADA Day celebrations in Langley will have a distinctly multicultural flavour this year, as the organizers of the popular Langley’s International Festival have assumed responsibility for presenting the event.
After years of holding highly successful Canada Day celebrations at McLeod Athletic Park and previously at Langley Regional Airport, control of the volunteer-run Langley Canada Day Society has been transferred to the Board of Directors of the Langley’s International Festival Society (LIFS), which has been hosting a growing multi-cultural celebration in late August for the past 13 years.
“The past board is confident and excited to see the reigns for the Canada Day event being picked up by LIFS. They have been putting on great events in Langley, and we know they will do a superb job with Langley Canada Day. We are thankful to see that Langley residents will continue to have a great family event to attend for years to come,” says Travis Strain, President of the Society from 2010-2013.
LIFS directors are individuals from different ethnic backgrounds and walks of life, including a diverse group of business people, who volunteer their time to produce an award-winning festival. Approximately 15,000 people attend the International Festival, which has recently been held in Willoughby Community Park. Hundreds of participants and volunteers help make the event a huge success.
The Society has been particularly proud of celebrating cultural diversity in the community, but this year it has decided to put the International Festival on hold and focus on the Langley Canada Day celebrations, which will be moved to Willoughby Community Park at 7888 – 200 Street.
“The Canada Day celebration is a great opportunity for the LIFS to be host to upwards of 40,000 people,” said Society President Bob Barrett. “The directors of the Society have already begun the planning of a Canada Day event that will be unique and will show the vibrancy of our Langley community.”
The multi-day celebration will centre around the national holiday on July 1 and incorporate elements of the International Festival while maintaining Canada Day favourites that visitors have come to expect.
Guests can experience food, art, and entertainment from cultures around the world and enjoy a Children’s Chalet and International Pavilion, as well as the games, rides, displays, and demonstrations traditionally found at the Canada Day celebration.
“This is such an exciting and prestigious opportunity for the LIFS to build on the success of both festivals,” said Barrett. “It is also an excellent fit. Canada is a vibrant, culturally diverse country and what better way to mark its birthday than with a multi-cultural experience? Our goal is to provide a fun, activity-filled celebration that focuses on children and families as we celebrate our nation and all it represents.”
“We truly appreciate the hard work that so many volunteers put into making the Canada Day celebrations at McLeod Athletic Park successful for so many years,” said Township of Langley Mayor Jack Froese, “but this new direction and location will provide some great new possibilities.”
“Willoughby Community Park is centrally located in a growing neighbourhood that has plenty of parking and can be easily accessed through transit and the new park and ride,” Froese said. “We are really looking forward to seeing what the Langley’s International Festival Society comes up with and offering our support in assisting with this transition. Combined with the annual festivities held in Fort Langley, there will be a lot of fun things for families to do in the Township of Langley this Canada Day.”
LIFS will be exploring ways that it can successfully partner with the Langley Events Centre to present the celebration at Willoughby Community Park.
“The combined Willoughby Community Park / Langley Events Centre facilities offer festival organizers tremendous flexibility as plans for this year’s Canada Day celebrations are developed,” said Jamie Rennie, Director of Facility Operations at the Langley Events Centre. “Langley Events Centre will work with LIFS and the Township to coordinate a program and operations plan that utilizes both outdoor and indoor facilities, and effectively manages all activities on the 80 acre site.”
The Society is currently looking for sponsors and volunteers to help ensure the Canada Day celebration’s success. To help out or for more information, visit langleycanadaday.ca or internationalfestival.ca.