The largest Canada Day party in Waterloo Region will celebrate its 30th anniversary this year as the University of Waterloo welcomes more than 50,000 people to the Columbia Lake playing fields.

Over the years, the celebration has flourished, along with the community. Thirty years ago, bands at Waterloo’s Canada Day party played from the back of a flatbed truck. To mark the thirtieth anniversary of the community celebration, Juno-nominated Born Ruffians and Canadian musical icon Steven Page will take the stage.

Canada Day fireworks

Fireworks at the 2013 Canada Day celebration. (Credit: University of Waterloo)

This anniversary year, families will be treated to performances by TVO Kids’ Kara and Treehouse favourites Splash’N Boots on TVO Kids Stage, as well as four-time Guinness World Record holder Scott Hammell, who will bring his magic, escape artistry, and spectacular stunts to the stage.

“Canada Day always has a tremendous atmosphere here at the University of Waterloo. When our students created the event 30 years ago they hardly imagined it would turn into such a vibrant celebration of Canada and our community,” said Feridun Hamdullahpur, president and vice-chancellor at Waterloo. “I see people from all walks of life at our Canada Day celebration and it reminds me that this University sits at the heart of a community rich with passion and talent.”

This year’s event will feature a surprise performance of the national anthem by one of Canada’s out-of-this-world icons before the traditional fireworks display at 10:00 p.m.

Gazette front page 1992

The front page of the University of Waterloo Gazette, from July 8, 1992.

Favourite attractions such as kids’ inflatables and the water slide remain a fixture of the event, which will also see the return of a licensed refreshment area provided by the Brick Brewing Company and more new top-notch food vendors including {FRITES} Fries with Benefits, Smoke’s Poutinerie, S.W.A.T. Truck, Poor Bhoy’s Eatery and Grainharvest Breadhouse Inc.

“Students created this celebration 30 years ago as a way to celebrate Canada and to give something back to this great community,” said Danielle Burt, president of the Federation of Students. “Canada Day at the University of Waterloo is a fixture on the summer calendar for this community and we’re happy to continue the tradition of sharing this celebration with our community neighbours."

The event starts at 4:00 p.m. with kids programming and field entertainment. Heritage Canada will present a First Nation’s cultural hoop dance and drumming performance at 4:50 p.m. Musical acts start at 7:00 p.m.

All University of Waterloo campus parking lots are open and free of charge on Canada Day. Accessible parking is available off of Frank Tompa Drive within the OpenText parking lot.

Columbia Street West from Westmount Road to Hagey Boulevard will be closed on July 1.

More information about the event can be found on the University of Waterloo website. Social media followers can join in the community spirit on Twitter and Facebook, using the hashtag #uwcanadaday.

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