The first CF1 Day celebrated since the COVID-19 Pandemic is a success
On 26 July, the smell of freshly toasted burger buns lingered atop the CANEX shopping centre as military members and their families formed a winding line up along the building’s perimeter and vendors stationed every corner to celebrate the first CF1 Day in four years.
CF1 Day is a day to recognize CAF members and their families by serving free food, drinks and providing discounts on a variety of services and products.
“It’s a lot of energy and a lot of support that’s needed to make this happen,” said CANEX Store Manager, Tom Bennett. “We’re extremely happy to have the turnout that we have, with the barbecue and everything else. It feels fantastic. I can tell you I’m going to sleep good tonight.”
CANEX stores were created to help bring everyday goods and products to CAF families and members posted in remote areas where access to common grocery store chains is limited.
“With everything that’s happened over the past few years [COVID-19 Pandemic] … we were essential services and we were open,” said Bennett. “We didn’t close throughout the entire thing because we have individuals that depend on us and that’s why we’re here. That’s why we show up every day.”
Beyond the barbecue were numerous attractions such as inflatable bouncy castles, a fire truck, temporary tattoo station and a variety of games and prizes.
“We’re here to support and serve those who serve,” Bennett said. “The ability to be able to reach out to the broader scope of the CAF community, being the families and the kids to support the CAF members directly. We’re extremely proud to be able to be part of that.”
In and out of the shopping centre, companies took the opportunity to promote new products and services while providing members with exclusive discounts or even free products.
Two of the prize draws included a $400 dollar pizza oven and a $300 dollar Monster Boom box. Bennett estimates that about 500 people were in attendance this year.
“To extend from the CAF member that comes in uniform, to the people behind the scenes that support that CAF member and their families… it’s a broader sense of community and that’s what we’re all about is being one big community.”
CANEX stores are open between 0900 hrs and 1900 hrs Monday to Friday and 0900 hrs and 1700 hrs on weekends, located on CFB Borden at O-121, 36 El Alamein Road.
BY: Caleb Hooper