Sun shines on West Rouge family day, lighting up community spirit

The West Rouge community was out in full force to celebrate a double whammy of communal milestones.

On Sept. 18, the 17th annual West Rouge Family Day and the 50th anniversary of the West Rouge Sports and Recreation Association held a collaborative outdoor event at the West Rouge community centre.

“It gives us a chance to get out and see everyone,” said Don Burnet, founder of West Rouge Family Day. “It lets everyone know they’re not alone in the community.”

At the celebration, Burnet, 78, was sporting a green t-shirt with “West Rouge Volunteer” written across the front — a vintage piece of clothing, Burnet insisted, and an antique since it’s one of the first volunteer shirts of Family Day.

Burnet, accompanied by his wife Margaret, 77, was comfortable wearing the t-shirt without a jacket because he claimed the weather had never turned sour on Family Day.

“I hope I’m not going to break the spell by sayin­­­­g this, but we have not had rain for any Family Days. The sun is shining and it’s an absolute beautiful day,” said Burnet.

The couple was also out celebrating the anniversary of the community’s sports and recreation association. During his time with the association, he founded the first ever Family Day 17 years ago.

“To start Family Day, it took a year’s worth of convincing the board,” recalled Burnet. “But after the success of the first Family Day, we never had a problem.”

The celebration consisted of live music and dance performances, a reptile show, and games and activities for children. Snacks were also sold and a special BBQ was available during the lunch hour.

Martin Bugden, current president of the West Rouge Sports and Recreation Association, takes pride in the annual Family Day, since the association provides funds for the event. According to Bugden, the main purpose of the event is to show the community the association’s appreciation for partaking in the multiple yearly festivities.

“We raise money throughout the year, and then this is the big giveback day,” Bugden said. “We partner with the City of Toronto, with West Rouge and other sponsors to make today a big success.”