Last night was the Canada Celebrates event at Commonwealth Stadium here in Edmonton. Or at least that’s what the ticket said. There wasn’t much promotion in advance, but what few things I did see tended to call it “For the Love of Country and For the Love of Hockey”. Whatever it was called, the nationally televised event was an opportunity to pay tribute to our Olympic heroes, as well as our heroes in the Canadian Forces. It also raised funds for the Hockey Canada Foundation.
There were maybe 10,000 people in attendance, nowhere close to the number of people that Commonwealth Stadium can accommodate. I have to agree with Terry Jones – promotion of the event could have been much better. The Mayor proclaimed the day Canada’s Heroes Day last Tuesday, but I’d bet that most Edmontonians still hadn’t heard of the event by the time it got started. It probably looked worse than it was though, because almost everyone in the stands made their way to the field once invited to do so. I’m sure that made the empty seats even more noticeable on TV.
Canada Celebrates was a great opportunity for those who did attend and for everyone who watched across the country to reflect back on Canada’s golden Winter Olympics and to salute the military. There were lots of little kids on the field, and they seemed to be having a great time! The flyover was pretty exciting too.
The event was by no means a failure, but it probably didn’t go as well as the organizers had hoped it would. My guess is that they didn’t have a lot of time to pull it together, but did so anyway. Kudos to them for seizing the opportunity to showcase the City of Champions. It’s just too bad we didn’t have time to fill the stands a little more.