Bradford Valley Care Community kicked off its Canada Day celebrations with the singing of the national anthem – O Canada – performed ‘acapella’ by Bradford community members and members of council on Thursday morning.
The event was organized this year by Coun. Peter Dykie (owner of Bradford Jewellery on Holland street) with behind-the-scenes help from Francine Grenon from Bradford RBC (who could not attend in person). This was the second time community members gathered in front of the long term care home to sing the national anthem for the senior residents on Canada Day.
At 11 a.m. Bradford Valley staff and residents made their way outside to the front entrance of the building while Mayor Rob Keffer and Deputy Mayor James Leduc opened the event with a few words.
“[We want] to thank the health care workers, the residents, the seniors,” said Mayor Rob Keffer. "Because there’s no doubt, it has been a tough 16 months… we value the health care workers that have done so much, that have had difficult working conditions, with masks and PPE and signing in. But the Town of Bradford West Gwillimbury really, really appreciates our health care workers and everything you’ve done for our community… and we’re here to sing ‘O Canada’ for you!”
Bond Head resident Bill Bishop offered to lead everyone in the singing of Canada’s national anthem, joined by members of BWG Council Peter Ferragine, Ron Orr, Gary Lamb, Raj Sandhu, and Jonathan Scott. As well, the new ‘SOS’ (Summer of Service) youth team from the Bradford Community Church.
“Canada Day is a special day to celebrate. This last year, all of us were saddened [and] angry by the news of the residential school findings, so that’s why some of us are wearing orange today,” Mayor Keffer explained after the singing, adding that the Town of Bradford had just finished an Indigenous service at the BWG Leisure Centre that morning. “Just to remember, to think, how we can be a better country, and how we can work through this, and respect and honour the forefathers who were on this country before our ancestors came… it brought home a message that we have to remember, and we have to move forward and celebrate what a great country we are.”
“We can all stand here very proud and understand that this country is made of great folks – like us,” expressed Deputy Mayor James Leduc. “We all came together as a community, we are immigrants of this country and we recognize the founders of our country… the Truth and Reconciliation report is all about reconciliation and moving forward.”
“No country is perfect, but I think it’s worth acknowledging the way people from coast to coast came together today to say ‘we want to do better’,” added Bradford’s newest Councillor Jonathan Scott. “The day’s events, from the Indigenous smudging ceremony to the Legion reopening – it all felt like we did something meaningful that was balanced and reflective, but also just good to be able to be out and seeing folks like almost normal.”