While Family Day has been a holiday celebrated by many other provinces such as Alberta, Saskatchewan and Ontario, Feb. 11 will mark B.C.’s first ever Family Day holiday.
For the families of Dawson Creek, Family Day is an opportunity for families to spend time together and make some memories.
“I think it’s really important. Even though we want to recognize and acknowledge our families every day of the year, sometimes we get caught up in life. It’s just a great opportunity to have that one day, we can actually really be grounded and remember what that’s about,” said Dawson Creek Mayor Mike Bernier.
It’s also a time, as Fort St. John Mayor Lori Ackerman pointed out, for families to start new customs for new holiday.
“As B.C.’s youngest community, I think it’s a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the importance of family and to give the opportunity for families to spend some time together and maybe create some traditions,” she said.
Ackerman encourages the people of Fort St. John to, “take advantage of getting together with their loved ones.”
For some, Family Day is the chance to catch up and spend time together without the obligations or interruptions that life often brings.
“You don’t go to work that day so why not spend the day with your family which so often is hard to do when both parents are working. If the parent’s aren’t working then children are off with activities on the weekend,” explained Heidy Kux-Kardos, South Peace Success By 6 and Children First Coordinator
She added, “I think it’s a step in the right direction to dedicate one day a year at least towards family and we’re hoping to make it a good day where families can just hang out together.”
For the community of Dawson Creek, the city, the Masonic Peace Lodge, Success by 6 and Children First all worked together to fund a day of free swimming and climbing at the Kenn Borek Aquatic Centre from 1 to 5 p.m. on Family Day.
“We’re really excited that we had Success by Six and the Masonic Peace Lodge with them coming forward willing to help sponsor,” said Bernier.
Having an opportunity for families to take part in free events means that everyone will be able to go, even those who couldn’t usually afford to take their kids swimming or climbing.
Darren Chruikshanks, a member of the Masonic Peace Lodge explained The Masons, wanted to find a way to help the families in Dawson Creek.
“We always try to give back to our community as much as possible and with Family Day coming up, a new thing for B.C. we decided that we should do something to help the citizens on Dawson Creek enjoy the day,” he said.
The event was a group effort made possible by all those involved including the Ken Borek Aquatic Centre who is hosting the event.
“We’re really happy to have partnered with the city, Success by 6 and I hope everyone comes down and enjoys it,” said Chruikshanks.
In Fort St. John this year the High On Ice Festival was coordinated to fall on the same weekend as Family Day, which will provide lots of opportunities for families to spend time together.
“We thought it would be a really good opportunity to have an event like this on a long weekend. We have a tone of winter activities throughout the weekend. We’re just hoping to give the Northern Residents an opportunity to come and enjoy winter in the North,” said Serena Warkentine Recreational Programmer for the city of Fort St. John.
There will be many events taking place over the weekend, because of the High On Ice festival and Family Day all falling on the same weekend.
“We’re having free horse drawn sleigh rides up behind North Peace Secondary School and that’s from 11 a.m. till 3 p.m. The tail end of our Crystal Cup Pond Hockey challenge is happening on Charlie Lake on Monday. They’re also going to have some rinks for children only and for public skating as well,” said Warkentine.
While it remains to be seen what Family Day will look like across the province, it seems as though Dawson Creek and Fort St. John and fully embracing the holiday.
“I think it’s a great way to promote family activities and I think it’s also great that it does happen in the winter,” said Warkentine.
“I think it will be an overall positive thing for sure.”