Canada Day Celebration in Jean-Talon Park

A Celebration for Canada and the Bangladeshi Community hit hard by the effects of Covid-19, but a celebration just the same despite a few hiccups along the way.

The BBQ churned out quite a few hot dogs for the few that showed up—Mary Deros looks on

A definite hit was felt at this year’s Canada Day celebration put on by the National Bangladeshi-Canadian Council (NBCC) organization, as a mere few dozen showed up to celebrate. Of course the culprit this year is a familiar one … Covid-19, and it was seen in the amount of people that showed up to celebrate.

The organization themselves did all they could, as they always do, and City Councilor Mary Deros showed up to support, as she always does, even speaking to the gathered few.

The state of the park itself

Walking into the park itself, I was overwhelmed by the state of it … litter was everywhere, everything from broken glass to cigarette butts and even used masks (a common problem these days all over the city). The organization had nothing to do with this of course, but those that take care of the park should have definitely done something about this, many felt and voiced as I spoke to them, asking questions; especially seeing that a party and children would be present, as they evidently were.

There were the common groups of people that usually spend their time in the park that day, circulating and swigging on beer cans here and there and there were police officers on bikes circulating the park on bicycles.

A fight breaks out amidst the festivities

It was during the festivities that a fight broke out between one of the regulars at the park, one elderly man beating on a younger man with his cane. The police intervened and eventually the argument was handled with only the threat of an arrest, but no actual arrest was made.

The organization’s efforts and what went down

Dancers were present, lighting up the stage and bringing the true meaning of the event back to the festivities later in the day

BBQ was offered, hot dogs and fresh buns. There were dancers, and speeches were made by those in attendance. Essentially, they tried very hard to live up to the events of the past, but because of the pandemic’s stranglehold on society as a whole, the planner’s hands were evidently tied and nothing more could have been done to draw a crowd.

I spoke with Monir Hossain, the event planner, and the one who’s been at the head of this event for many years and he knew full well what to expect this year. He knew that things wouldn’t go off as they usually did, and he stated that he didn’t promote the event as he usually did, understanding that the turnout would indeed pale in comparison to the events of the past.

The sense of community was still felt despite the evident hiccups thrown into the works as he tried to have the event go on as best as it could.

Provigo supplied the food and cake for the festivities.

An image of the cake to commemorate the event—supplied by Provigo

A message from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau often attended this event before becoming the leader of the country, as Monir said, and this year he sent a statement as he could not attend. It read:

“It is with great pleasure that I welcome everyone to this year’s multicultural festival in honor of Canada Day, hosted by the National Bangladeshi-Canadian Council (NBCC).

Canada is fortunate to have a significant Bangladeshi Diaspora, which has thrived and greatly contributed to Canadian Society. While this year’s Multicultural Canada Festival will be different from those previous, the sense of community, inclusiveness, and unity will never change. We are a nation that derives strength from our diversity, and as we look towards the future, I believe that our openness and our multiculturalism will continue to drive our prosperity.

The Covid-19 pandemic has made planning and hosting events like this one especially difficult, and I would like to thank the NBCC for their hard work in making this year’s celebrations possible.

Please accept my warmest welcome and best wishes for a memorable event.”

City Councilor Mary Deros in attendance and other prominent members of the community came to show support as well

City Councilor, Mary Deros speaks at the mic as Monir Hossain looks on, snapping a few pictures of his own

Mary Deros was of course there, mingling with members of the community and the crowd. She even gave a speech, warning of a possible second wave to this pandemic and urging safety, as she did all weekend at all events.

Also in attendance was Jatinder Singh Bhandari, the director of the India Canada Association of Montréal. He was there to show support to the community and it’s always great to see him. This is something he does often—a true Park Ex patriot—and he also puts on events of his own across the borough.

In the end, a definite hit was felt due to the turnout, but it shows strength regardless that these men and women put on these multiple events this summer in spite of the pandemic, and we salute them all.

A sense of patriotism—locals stand and show honor as the Canadian national anthem is played over the loudspeaker

Here’s to a better turnout next year.