Darrell Bartraw says Barrhaven’s Canada Day event is meant to be a safe space for families who aren’t into the commotion of downtown, and this year’s new security measures are meant to keep it that way after last year’s celebrations ended in a clash between a group of teenagers and police officers.“We feel that what we’ve put in place this year is going to make it a safe, fun environment for everybody coming out to celebrate our great country’s birthday,” said Bartraw, president of Canada Day Barrhaven, Inc.Last year’s event at Clarke Fields Park on Strandherd Drive ended in great commotion. Witnesses reported some teenagers threw fireworks into a crowd, and afterwards the confrontation between a large group of young people and police included officers using pepper spray on the group and a Taser on one 15-year-old.“It’s hard on you because you feel sorry for a lot of the people that come to the event and had to put up with that,” Bartraw said. “You have to make these changes, and what are we going to do, how can we make this family-friendly again. And we’ve got it figured out and we’re quite happy with what we’ve done.”Organizers met following last year’s incident to discus changes for the event, even consulting with police and security companies. New this year, there will be a fence around the entire event and bag checks at entry points to ensure no one brings in fireworks or alcohol. Organizers have also increased the number of security personnel, hiring a private security company.The added security measures have increased the cost of the event, which is mainly funded by community organizations and commercial sponsors, with grants from Heritage Canada and the City of Ottawa. Bartraw says the federal grant is bigger this time, but, nevertheless, organizers also set up a GoFundMe page to help cover new costs. As of Friday evening, it had raised $475 of a symbolic $2,019 goal.
Darrell Bartraw is the president of Canada Day Barrhaven Inc.
Errol McGihon /
Aside from the security upgrades, Bartraw said organizers had also expanded entertainment features, with more midway rides and an expanded kids’ zone with additional free games.“People can come right up to our stage and shake hands sometimes with the performers. It’s more kid-friendly because we have the rides and the kids’ zone,” he said. “It’s not crowded like downtown, and, with no alcohol, nobody’s puking on your feet. You can actually see the stage. You don’t have to put your kids up on your shoulders.”One Barrhaven resident said he was happy to hear about the security changes and planned to attend this year’s event.“I’m glad they’re doing it … by all means, way better than it was last year in terms of security improvements,” said Mike, who asked that his last name not be published. “I was going to attend either way, because I’m not going to let a couple bad apples — to say it nicely — ruin what should be a good time for my family and my friends.”Another entertainment/social event earlier this month, Glowfair on downtown Bank Street, was also disrupted by a confrontation a group of young people and police. In that instance, a 17-year-old allegedly tried to disarm a police officer of his baton, and the officer then directed pepper spray at the group.Christine Leadman, executive director of the Bank Street BIA, said subsequently that she was rethinking the future of Glowfair because of the incident.ALSO IN THE NEWS:‘I felt there was no warning,’ eyewitness testifies in Montsion trialThe New Canadians: Syrian family among the first to become Canadian citizensEgan: Arnprior sharpens attack on long grass, wants lawns trim and tidy