San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Canucks Get Ready to Celebrate

A pie-baking ambassador, a Mountie and nearly 500 people are expected to gather under the tropical sun July 1 to celebrate Canada Day. In addition to honoring the birth of the northern nation, this year marks 50 years of diplomatic relations between Costa Rica and Canada, and the event will be held for the first time at the Cervecería Costa Rica grounds in Alajuela, northwest of San José.

The Canadian Club’s annual Canada Day picnic, which is a charity fundraiser, will run from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and include food, music, raffles, games and an apple pie-baking contest.

A Mountie, or Royal Canadian Mounted Police officer, will represent a traditional Canadian figure at the event. The officer will not be mounted because health regulations did not allow him to bring his horse to Costa Rica, but he will be available for photos.

The morning’s entertainment will include a performance by folk dancers from Fátima de Heredia Excellence Elementary, and a 45-piece band from the Matapalo community in the northwestern province of Guanacaste, which has received financial aid from the Canadian Club.

A pie-baking contest is set to be the grandstand event of the afternoon. To participate, contestants must enter a 12-inch apple pie by 11 a.m. the day of the event. Contestants are also asked to submit a recipe. Pies will be judged on appearance, crust, flavor and texture. Ambassador Mario Laguë is expected to participate.

First prize in the contest, sponsored by the Numar margarine company, is $150, second place is $50, and third place is $20.

Two raffles will be held in the afternoon. Tickets for the first cost ¢1,000 ($2), with prizes including vacation packages, bed and-breakfast stays and elegant dinners. The second raffle, sponsored by Continental Airlines, is for two round-trip tickets between Costa Rica and Canada; tickets for this raffle cost ¢10,000 ($20).

The Canada Day picnic is the Canadian Club’s biggest fundraiser of the year. Since 2001, the club has raised more than $175,000 for schools around Costa Rica, said Henri Besnier, the club’s treasurer. All of the profits from the event go to the club’s charity efforts.

Tickets for the picnic cost ¢2,500 ($5) for adults and ¢1,000 ($2) for children, and are available at the door, at the Canadian Embassy or through Canadian Club board members.

For more info, call Besnier at 232-7628.


A Little History

Canada Day dates to July 1, 1868, when Governor General Lord Monck called for a celebration of the anniversary of the country’s formation. The holiday was made official in 1879 under the name Dominion Day. The name was changed to Festival Canada in 1975 and to Canada Day in 1982.

This year’s Canada Day picnic marks 50 years of diplomatic relations between Canada and Costa Rica.

Though Canada established a trade agreement with Costa Rica in 1950, the relationship between the two countries didn’t officially begin until 1956, when then President José “Pepe” Figueres decided to initiate diplomatic relations with all of North America, said Lilly Edgerton, a spokeswoman for the Canadian Embassy.

The relationship between the two countries now has ramifications that extend beyond themselves, as both advocate peace and environmental protection in the international community, Edgerton said.

The two countries signed an environmental cooperation agreement in 2001 and a free-trade agreement in 2002.



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