“Canada is many things: big, diverse, multilingual, beautiful, rich in resources, purveyor of outstanding maple syrup.” – CBC News
Canada had its 147th birthday this year, and it is also my 7th year residing in Canada. I was more than happy (even more than ecstatic) to spend my 7th Canada Day with amazing girls at an amazing parade right here in Vancouver!
When I looked back to what some of the 2013 BC queens did last year, I came up with the idea that us 2014 BC girls should get together and participate in a parade. I thought it would be, for sure, a fun reunion for us before we head off to Toronto for nationals!
So, during mid-May, I started doing some research on how to participate in the annual Downtown Vancouver Canada Day Parade, and I was glad that the idea came early, because the application deadline was due in two days! I called the parade organizer as soon as I could to confirm the application process, and my mother delivered the application package and cheque the very next morning to ensure that we would definitely get a spot.
I was already excited despite that I didn’t even know whether our application would be approved, because I really looked forward to seeing the BC girls again! We hadn’t seen each other since provincials, and it was just nice to know that we would do something together for fun!
On June 9th, I received one of the best-est emails with the subject “CANADA DAY PARADE CONFIRMATION.” Soon our BC delegates’ Facebook chat became loud and busy with our suggestions to where to find floats, how to decorate our ride, what we should wear, etc. I filled out our consent forms and broadcast script back to the parade organizer shortly after to secure our position, and became the “official updater” for any details & news.
Six of us were able to make it to the parade, and we decided to come bright and early on the day of the parade to make our rides pretty. A big, big thank you goes to Violeta M. (Miss Teenage Vancouver Island 2014) for finding, not one, but TWO beautiful convertibles sponsored by Key West Ford New Westminster! If it wasn’t for the swag rides we had, I don’t think we would’ve looked half as awesome as we actually did! To whoever is reading this, I need to emphasize that Violeta’s family came all the way from Vancouver Island, which is far and her family would have taken a ferry! Thank you to Violeta’s parents as well for driving the cars, which I think was equally as important as simply having the cars because without drivers, we would’ve still had to walk! Another thank you goes to everyone else who brought decorations for our rides, to make the cars even more beautiful and to make them look “Canadian”!
I am so thankful for being crowned as Miss Teenage Burnaby 2014 because without this title, I would have never thought of ACTUALLY BEING IN AN ACTUAL PARADE! We felt like celebrities, driving through crowds and crowds of people (imagine the crowd after Canucks won a hockey game and time that by ten) and waving and smiling like mad for one hour straight (it was a REALLY fast one hour). Being in a parade was much different than what I anticipated, for one, I never expected my facial muscles to twitch LOL! It was quite the thrill seeing all the entries come together to put on such a magnificent show, as well as watching the proud & happy faces of Vancouverites.
Our section starts at 23m12s, and ends at around 24m11s.
We were also on Shaw TV for the Canada Day Parade in Downtown Vancouver (yay it was so cool seeing my own face on TV)! After all this, I must thank Elyse Gawley, the parade coordinator, for the sensationally organized celebration and her prompt email replies ever since May 13th! She had been the one who told me how to fill out the forms, ideas for where to find our ride, organizing our broadcast script for Shaw TV, and contacting me for updates on how our application was doing. I would also like to thank Loni Hulme, the parade participant manager, for being excellent at letting me know the details! Loni was the one that sent all the directions & schedule for the parade, answered all my questions (including where to park, where to start, etc.), and called me to explain exactly how the parade would work. A lot of work had been done to create such a wonderful event with over 54 entries and over 2700 participants in the parade! Without these two and all the volunteers, the parade would not have been as successful!
I had a blast with the 5 other BC MTC finalists and I look forward to reunite once again in Toronto! I am so proud to be Canadian and happy 147th birthday Canada!
Last but not least, thank you to my parents as well as every other BC girl’s parents who drove us, took pictures of us (my dad was running through the crowds to catch up with our car), bought decorations for us, delivered payments for us (thank you mommy for handing in our cheque and paperwork to the parade office), and gave us support throughout our journey to being the next Miss Teenage Canada!
Ariel Jingjing Cao
~ muah <3 ~