If you live anywhere in the Durham Region, you know that one of the best Canada Day Celebrations traditionally takes place on the beautiful Lake Scugog waterfront in Downtown Port Perry. This year, the 145th birthday of our country featured vendors, activities, games and entertainment located throughout Palmer Park and Water Street from 10:00 am to 10:00 pm. The event surpassed its reputation with something for everyone.
This has long been one of Judy Stacee-Cleaver’s favourite celebrations and she was not going to miss it. In fact, one of the first things she did to guarantee that she would be in town was to make dinner reservations at one of her favourite local spots ? Harp & Wylie’s Canadian Grill House.
Judy recently had surgery on her shoulder and her arm is anchored firmly against her body in a very tight sling. She can’t drive trussed up like this and often things take more effort than most people would be willing to expend. Not our Judy, though. Much like that famous battery bunny, she just keeps on going. Of course, some compromises were necessary and she reluctantly missed out on some of the earlier events in the day. The 4th Annual Scugog Council for the Arts Canada Day Show along the waterfront started at 10 am. Then at 11am came the “Support the Troops” Canada Day Parade, featuring Vettes for Vets (yep, you guessed it the “Vettes” are Chevy Corvettes). The official Opening Ceremonies took place at noon. There continued to be activities all afternoon with the concert lineup in the Gazebo in Palmer Park starting at 4 pm.
Around this time, Judy was making her way to the Port Perry waterfront. She lives east of Port Perry right on Lake Scugog, but on the other side of Scugog Island. Of course, her mode of transportation is a boat. Her husband, Chris and their near neighbours, Derek and Laurie, arrived at the Port Perry Marina with Derek at the helm. A good portion of the pier was taken up by The Woodman, a custom built Double Decker Transport Canada Certified Ship that can accomodate up to 100 guests and is the largest boat launched in Lake Scugog in over 70 years.
There wasn’t a vacant slip to park the Jet boat in sight. No problem! The community of boaters is a close-knit group and when someone needs to tie off to go ashore they just throw out their fenders and tie up to the closest boat. There was a lot of this happening on Canada day. As far as you could see boats were tied up to boats that were tied up to boats that were tied up to boats … looking much like conga lines. Judy and Chris were no different and some friendly folk allowed them to latch on to their houseboat, which of course was tied up to a bigger boat.
This is where Judy’s prowess as a gymnast came into play. OK, she doesn’t have any formal training but I defy you to find someone else who could have handled this as well. You have heard the saying, “I could do this with one hand tied behind my back.” Well, she did it, but her arm was anchored in front. To get to shore for her much anticipated dinner, Judy had to make it from boat to boat with the use of only one arm. She rolled across the back of the Jet boat until she reached the platform. Then she climbed up to the houseboat. Once on the houseboat, she crossed over to the other side and then climbed up to the bigger boat. She then crossed over to the other side of that and had to climb up to the pier. The only thing missing was her three-point landing! Yes, our Judy earned her dinner that night and was able to wander around and enjoy the festivities until it was time to return to the Jet boat to watch the fireworks.
The harbor was now full of boats from all the cottages in the area, all anchored in the water to see the fireworks. Of course the “Water Police” were on hand to make sure everyone was a safe distance from the pyrotechnics.
Judy made it safely back onto the Jet boat in time to catch the breathtaking display of fireworks being launched from the back lot of VOS’ Independent Grocery Store.
The display was rivaled by none as was verified by the collective oooohhhhs and aaaawwwws as each new explosion lit up the sky.
The celebration is definitely one not to miss. Just ask Judy Stacee-Cleaver.