Giant birthday street party for Dr. James Naismith

John McQuarrie photo

Tiffany MacLaren
Community Economic & Cultural Coordinator, Mississippi Mills

It has been an exciting year for basketball with the Toronto Raptor’s NBA win and the announcement that Dr. James Naismith will be named to the Canada Walk of Fame.  To keep the celebrations going, on November 6th over 500 local school children descended on downtown Almonte for a giant birthday party complete with over 800 custom basketball cookies.

Linda Berg photo

“We were inspired to join in the celebrations by our new friends from Springfield College,” said Mayor Lowry“Representatives from their organization visited Almonte this past summer and suggested we partner to celebrate and honour the man who created the sport we all love.”

Dr. James Naismith was born and raised in Mississippi Mills and invented Basketball while teaching at Springfield College. The college hosted a birthday party every November 6.  While this week’s celebration was a first for Mississippi Mills, plans are underway to make this an annual event.

Kindergarten to 8 Grade students from R. Tait McKenzie Public School, Holy Name of Mary Catholic School and Naismith Memorial Public School walked downtown to join in the festivities. They each received a birthday sticker and a Baker Bob’s basketball sugar cookie. Mayor Lowry greeted the attendees and was joined by puppets Miss Mills and James Naismith who entertained, sang Happy Birthday and eventually blew out the candles on a large birthday cake.

Linda Berg photo

It took teamwork and community spirit to host this event! The Municipality extends heartfelt thanks to the many volunteers and partners who joined the preparations and ensured everything ran smoothly. Thanks to the many community members who showed up enthusiastically to help out and celebrate. Thanks to Baker Bob for the beautiful cake and cookies, thanks to The Men’s Shed for manning the barricades to allow for the road closure.

Thanks to volunteer photographers Jacob Joron, Ken Kicksee and John McQuarry. Thanks to the teachers and administrators for marshalling your kids and walking to our event. Thanks to the 500+ school kids for their exemplary behaviour.

Thanks to Noreen Young and Stephen Brathwaite for their behind the curtain work as Dr. James Naismith and Miss Mills.

Thanks to James Jamison for running the sound. Thanks to Postino’s for allowing their patio to become our stage.

Thanks to mascots Liam and Nick for joining the celebrations.

Thanks to Stephanie Kolster for bringing some Naismith Museum items and helping to decorate.

Thanks to NBA Canada for their support, encouragement and for sending us Raptors prizes for the kids.

Last but not least thanks to Springfield College for your inspiration and encouragement; we’re looking forward to future partnership opportunities.

November 6 was a fun-filled day to remember thanks to our amazing community. We can’t wait for next year. Stay tuned!