As U.S. residents celebrated was is commonly known as Presidents' Day, many Ontario residents commemorated Family Day.
The holiday was proclaimed to give people more time to spend with their loved ones. This year, Family Day also embraced historical overtones as Canada celebrates its 150th anniversary. Numerous activities and exhibits were staged in the Niagara Parks over the long weekend that showcased the nation’s heritage and natural assets.
“It’s a great way to engage our visitors, to talk about some special heritage figures that we have not only in Niagara Parks, but in Canadian History over the last 150 years,” said David Adames, the park system’s chief operating officer. “That’s a great special way to mark not only Family Day weekend, but also Canada’s150th birthday.”
One heritage display that was set up over the long weekend highlighted the revolution of the printing press. The exhibit at the Table Rock Complex reflected on the life of rebel publisher William Lyon Mackenzie and the revolution of printing press in Canada. The display shed light on how the power of the printed word helped shaped the nation.
Adames told WBFO he’s convinced residents in the two neighboring countries understand the importance of each nation’s heritage.
“We share a great history between the two countries -- wonderful an open border,’ he said. I think that
there are many Canadians and Americas alike that have friends and relatives on each side of the border and in the Niagara Region. There is a lot of history between the two nations again going back the War of 1812 period. Since that time we’ve had over 200 years of continuous peace.”
Niagara parks wants to use that history to attract American tourists to celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday.
Adame said a growing number American tourists are crossing the border each year to visit the parks.
“Typically, it peaks during the summer season, but we do see American visitors year-round. At Niagara Parks, we are the stewards of the Niagara Falls corridor on the Canadian Side.”
Other exhibits in the Niagara Parks include annual spring display in the Floral Showcase that continues through April 8. Meanwhile, a northern owls exhibit is open through April 17 on the grounds of the Niagara
Parks’ Botanical Gardens and School of Horticulture.