On July 1, 2008, when my first child was two weeks old, we hiked with my parents up to the top of the hill behind our house to watch the Canada Day fireworks over downtown. It seemed like the perfect way to celebrate – fun, exciting and close to home – but that was the last time we did it.
The next year, we, along with three other families, were preparing to celebrate our babies’ first birthdays, all of which take place within a six-week period during the summer. I had spent the year with these families, first with the moms during our maternity leaves and, gradually, as the year went on, getting to know their husbands too. We had become fast friends (not only the kids but the parents too) and we decided a birthday party for all four of them was in order, so we chose Canada Day as the day to celebrate.
That first year we had a backyard barbecue with some Canada-themed t-shirts and the obligatory first birthday cake smash, and it seemed like the perfect way to celebrate – fun, exciting, kid-focused and still close to home. So we’ve done it ever since, trading turns to host.
We’ve done it even though we’ve had to travel to the event for the last three years, having moved from Victoria to Calgary in 2011. We wouldn’t miss it. There are lots of things we could do instead, as neither Calgary nor Victoria is short on family-friendly Canada Day activities, but this is our choice every year.
This year we’re approaching our 6th annual Canada Day party. There are now eight kids in the group, ranging from the original four (now turning six) to the newest, who, at five months old, will be participating in his first Canada Day celebration.
This year on July 1, we’ll round up the children, the birthday presents and all the supplies for a backyard barbecue and gather together to celebrate Canada’s birthday and the birthday of the four kids who brought us all together in the first place.