Tuesday, July 16, 2019
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20190305 CanadaDay Mission GU 4848Hundreds of Winter Texans joined the fun during the annual Canada Day celebration at the Riverside Club in Mission.
The celebration drew Canadians from seven provinces – and a few friends from the United States – on Tuesday, March 5.

The big room in the back was almost filled when the party officially started with Helen Russell and Company, the Valley Star Awards Small Band of the Year, providing lively entertainment. As time progressed, more and more Canadians arrived, and the room was filled to capacity. Winter Texans came from all across the Rio Grande Valley to join in the fun with their fellow Canadians.

Many of those attending were first timers from various provinces. However, others make it an annual tradition, like Yvon Bussiere of Ottawa, Ontario, who said he had been coming 13 years and enjoyed it every year.

With a little help from Helen Russell & Company, The Winter Texan Times did a quick survey of provinces asking Canadians to stand when Helen called out their province.

20190327 CanadaDay Mission GU 4654Ontario had the most in attendance, followed by Saskatchewan, Quebec, Newfoundland, Manitoba, British Colombia and Alberta.

The surprising thing this year was that many of those attending were first timers. While some of the newcomers were not wearing Canadian clothing and hats, I bet they will be back next year decked out in red and white and maple leaves, joining in the spirit of the celebration.

Some said this was their first time to attend a Canada Day celebration, but they were Riverside Club regulars, riding the pontoon boat and attending the dances hosted weekly at the club.

The folks attending were jovial and took turns waltzing and line dancing and visiting with friends. While quite a few waltzed, the line dancers filled the floor dancing to tunes like “Elvira.”

Gilles and Sharon Poulin were there with their American friends, Barb and Gerry Thorton. “We brought them because they shared the Uber bill,” said Gilles in jest.

Harold and Susie came because they said all their friends in the Valley are Canadians. “We love Canadians,” Harold added.

One Canadian requested the Canadian National Anthem be sung. Helen invited Gail Gulkin, Verna Funk and Ben McMurachy to lead the anthem as Canadians stood and joined in singing their tribute to Canada.

Afterwards, a tribute was made to John and Verona Nevis, who were celebrating their 67th anniversary. They are from Park Rapids, Minnesota but were dressed in red and seated with a whole table of Canadians from their park. The couple married at ages 17 and 18 and looked as if they were enjoying good health and might be on the dance floor for many years to come.

20190305 CanadaDay Mission GU 4863At a table with Canadians from Manitoba and Saskatchewan, Patrick Weichel said he really enjoyed the event and wanted the Riverside Club owners to know how much it was appreciated that they took their time to honor the Canadians who spend their winters in the Rio Grande Valley.

Nearby, David and Linda Scott of Kingsville, Ontario, said their hometown is the southernmost town in Canada. It has the best climate in Canada because Lake Erie’s warm water makes the climate slightly warmer than in the north. But the weather still averages temperatures of 34 to 35 degrees in the winter. They definitely prefer the warm winters of South Texas.

It is always fun to see what the Canadians will be wearing at the annual Riverside Club celebration. Randy and Sharon Dupuis were decked out as he wore a red tie with a white maple leaf on it while she had a red T-shirt and cap with Canadian jewelry. One lady had a tall Dr. Seuss-style hat, while others wore caps, T-shirts, special earrings, and red and white bandanas depicting Canadian heritage.

With door prizes, great music, good food and lots of spirit, those attending had a great time whether it was their first time or if they had been coming for many years.

The Winter Texan Times wants to add our vote of appreciation to all our Canadian Winter Texans who come to the Rio Grande Valley for the winter. We are glad to have you here and hope you are having a wonderful winter in South Texas. Be sure to tell your friends back home about all the fun times you’ve had in Texas. See you next winter!

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