It’s not often that someone turns 150 years old. And when that someone is Canada, there is a push to celebrate in style.
Sidney is already working on ways to become the place to be in the south Island, to mark the anniversary of the founding of the nation. A pair of organizers with strong ties to the municipality and many volunteer organizations on the Saanich Peninsula are leading the way, helping bring together a variety of existing community activities — and plenty of new events — under the umbrella of Canada’s 150th birthday on July 1.
In the buildup to the Canada Day long weekend, Town Crier Kenny Podmore and Sidney municipal employee Paula Kully are making connections with various local event organizers, making the month of June a main focus of Sidney’s Canada 150 celebrations. They’ve been working on this for almost a year, trying to get a head start on making it the best Canada Day in Sidney to date.
“The foundation is there,” said Podmore, who is also a former town councillor. “Now we have to polish it up a bit.”
He said they started looking at an eight-day series of events — now it’s grown to almost two months worth of family-friendly things to do. Kully said the Town is working with the Sidney Museum, Panorama Recreation Centre, local library branch, Star Cinema and others on what they are calling a Super Hero Exhibit.
It’s starting through the museum, which is in the planning stages for a comics and super hero exhibit starting in May and running through June.
Seizing on this concept, Podmore said the Mary Winspear Centre is being considered as the site for a mini-comics convention on June 10 — focusing on comics, gaming, cosplayers and more. Podmore added there are plans in the works for Panorama to screen Big Hero 6 that evening at Greenglade Community Centre, as well as discussions being ironed out for other movies on the big screen over the May long weekend.
Two weeks later, there’s a street party and dance set for June 24, sponsored by Slegg Building Materials, featuring two bands.
The next afternoon, on June 25, Beacon Park hosts a children’s carnival, complete with a Canadian Spirit Costume Contest. The winner, said Podmore, will get to be Sidney Fire Chief for a day.
That night, he continued, the Town will host a Dinner En Rouge, modelled after the famous Dinner En Blanc — an outdoor, and typically spontaneous dinner event that has been held world-wide since the late 1980s, where the guests dress entirely in white. In Sidney’s case, Podmore said it will be red, in honour of Canada’s 150th.
He said the Craig Henderson Trio has been tapped for the music and in true Dinner En Blanc fashion, the venue will be announced closer to the date.
For the June 30 and July 1 Sidney Days/Canada Day celebrations, the two-day event is being upgraded. Podmore said there were plans to ‘enhance’ the fireworks display — including having the Sidney Concert Band on Beacon Wharf, performing to the fireworks.
Sidney’s Community Builder Award will be handed out as usual, and will become an award handed out by the mayor once every four years.
The Royal Canadian Legion’s local branch will honour veterans again. At the same time, the traveling photo mosaic pavilion To Canada With Love, will make an appearance in Sidney, prior to setting up in Victoria the next day. And at some point during the weekend, the Town hopes to open its new skate park in Tulista Park.
Canada Day events in Sidney happen June 30 in Beacon Park — and the full day of family-friendly Sidney Days events take place throughout town (including Sidney Days Parade and Slegg’s Build-A-Boat Race) the following day, July 1. To make it all happen, volunteers will be sought.
Information on these and other events is available at sidney.ca under the Things To Do tab. Podmore said additional events planned by other organizations are welcome to be a part of the Canada 150 umbrella in Sidney — but they need to get on board soon. They are working hard to pin down all of the things to make Sidney’s Canada Day celebrations memorable ones.
Sidney hopes to adopt the dog for skate park
Regular walkers along Sidney’s Waterfront Walkway might have noticed the absence of a Bulldog riding a skateboard.
The Paul Harder sculpture ‘Board Dog’ has been taken by the artist for refurbishment and is expected to go back on display at the Sidney Pier Hotel by early in the new year.
As part of Sidney’s Canada 150 celebrations, the municipality is hoping to raise enough money to buy the sculpture outright — and make it part of their new skateboard park in Tulista Park in time for its opening over the Canada Day weekend.
Kenny Podmore, Town Crier, former councillor and one of the main organizers of Sidney’s Canada 150 events, says there will be a contest to name the sculpture.
While it’s on display at the Pier Hotel, Podmore said a donations campaign will begin — people should watch for posters and other information in early 2017.
The sculpture, he said, is hoped to be part of the community’s Canada 150 Legacy projects.