Family-busy Osoyoos likes date change for celebration

Skates, donated to the Spirit of the Game Society by the Osoyoos Kiwanis Club, made for even more fun at the Town of Osoyoos' Family Disco Skate Monday. (Submitted photo)

Yesterday’s Family Day in BC was the last of its kind.

Beginning next year, the annual celebration will be held on the third Monday in February to better align with similar holidays in other Canadian provinces and in the United States

“Moving Family Day is the right thing to do for businesses small and large, and is better for families who may be spread out across the country,” said Premier John Horgan.

“This gives families an opportunity to schedule and spend more time with loved ones from other provinces.”

Osoyoos residents and business owners seem to agree.

“Now we’ll be in sync with the rest of Canada,” said Gord McIvor, representing local Rotarians at the Town’s Disco Skate at the Sun Bowl Monday. “If you’ve got friends who want to come from Alberta here with the kids, now everybody has the same day.

“It’s like Easter; you organize it and then you all get together for the long weekend.”

“We have relatives in Calgary, so it benefits us,” added Susan, a local grandmother. “We can get together for the long weekend.

“They’ll probably come here,” she said of her family.

Mom Jennifer enjoys spending family day with her daughter. The two took advantage of the town’s free skate, where Jennifer spoke of maybe making the most of the day’s move to the third Monday in February.

“We’ve got family in Alberta, but unless we were planning a ski weekend to met them in middle, I can’t see that it’s going to make a difference for me personally,” she said. “But it’s nice to have the holiday.”

Allicyn, another mom enjoying the day with family, also enjoys the February holiday.

“It’s always great to have a day to spend with each other, especially if there’s an event like this,” she said. “It’s nice to be together.”

She didn’t expect the date change would affect her family personally, but added it might help others.

“I know a lot of people who have family in different provinces love having (the days) joined together so everyone can have the same weekend to be together,” she said.

Brian Haggerty, who with wife Jane Long owns and operates the Desert Babies Boutique, was on his own for the afternoon while his wife managed the shop.

“We are open today,” he said. “It’s really busy today with a lot of people from out of town.”

He expects Family Day will be even busier when dates are combined.

“That’s an awesome idea,” he said of the move. “It’s very smart. A lot of tourists will be coming to town — lots of grandmas.”

He recognized, however, how that would cut into his family’s own Family Day.

“You have to sacrifice a bit. We’re doing a half-day today so we’ll be doing Family Day at home. Jane will be here soon.”

Monday’s Town event attracted dozens of skaters, many lured by the promise of free skates provided by Spirit of the Game with help from the Kiwanis Club.

They also came for free food courtesy of the Coyote concession, additional goodies from Osoyoos AG Foods and the Osoyoos Rotary Club, to skate with their favourite Coyote and for the brightly coloured disco ball.

“We’ve got people from all over,” said Justin Price, who works in the Town’s Community Services department. “Even some from Kelowna.”

Co-worker Tamara Morgan, the town’s community events programmer, expects the event will draw more participants with the aligned Family Day date next year.

“If they’re here in town, they’ll probably come to the event,” she said. “It’s something fun for the family to do together.”

Family Day was established in BC in 2013 following a consultation process that had recommended the holiday be on either the second or third Monday of February.

The government of the day decided on the second Monday, even though it was inconsistent with other Canadian provinces and the United States.

It is also celebrated in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward island.

As Family Day is not recognized nationally, federal employees in all provinces — including postal workers — work while others are playing.

 

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