canadian, american, paul brandt, calgary

Happy Fourth of July! Thanks, America!

canadian, american, paul brandt, calgary

A Canadian-American country music fan gears up for the 100th anniversary of the Calgary Stampede at Olympic Plaza. In her hands is a poster depicting Guy Weadick, an American who was one of the Stampede founders. (Julia Pelish/Vacay.ca)

In Canada, we like to make note of all the people, inventions, and gifts that our nation has given to the United States: The All-American Girl (Mary Pickford), Captain Kirk (William Shatner) and Scotty (James Doohan), basketball (invented by James Naismith), the Stanley Cup (we’d like it back any time now, please), Justin Bieber (you owe us big for that one), James Cameron and Celine Dion (Titanic punchlines are all yours), and so much more.

But this Fourth of July, we need to thank our neighbours for the gift of the Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth. The 2012 Calgary Stampede begins on Friday and American co-founder Guy Weadick will be among those honoured during the 10 days of festivities marking the event’s centennial anniversary. Born in Rochester, New York, Weadick moved to Alberta in his 20s and soon envisioned a “cowboy championship,” which came to life in 1912. This year’s Stampede will be the biggest one yet, with more than 1 million people expected to attend and thousands of dollars in rodeo prizes up for grabs. Musical performers will include Garth Brooks, Paul Brandt, and the Tragically Hip.

As the US celebrates its Independence Day, be sure to remember all of the good things that nation has given us, including this party that will be the biggest and best on Canadian soil this year.

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A photographer who has worked in the largest media markets in Canada and the U.S., Julia’s travel photos and videos have been featured prominently in the Toronto Star and been exhibited in galleries in Toronto, New York and Vancouver. Her new line of photo jewelry was inspired by her travels. Even though she is an American, one of her favourite travel experiences was spending Canada Day 2000 on Parliament Hill, joining in a parade with then-Prime Minister Jean Chretien and others. Julia is Vacay.ca’s Visuals Editor. See her work at www.juliapelish.com/blog.