Parksville’s Canada Day celebration needs ‘foundation’

City's PM Rotary Club votes to end its leadership role of one of the province's biggest Canada Day celebrations

It’s one of the largest Canada Day celebrations anywhere in the province and it needs new leadership.

Canada Day, from the parade through the fireworks, attracts more than 10,000 people to downtown Parksville and Community Park every year. In recent years, the park and beach events have been organized by the Rotary Club of Parksville’s PM group. That service club voted this year not to take on the organization of the 2015 festivities.

“The club took a vote are are choosing not to participate this year,” said club member Bonnie Wallis, the chair of the 2014 event. “But there are members who are willing to fill key volunteer positions.”

Wallis said she would be willing to continue as the event’s chair, but Canada Day needs an umbrella organization, perhaps a non-profit society, to come forward. “It’s now an event that has to take place but has no foundation,” said Wallis.

Canada Day has made money for Rotary in recent years, money it has given back to community groups. Sponsorships, grants and agreements with food vendors bring in money, while the big expenses usually relate to entertainment and insurance.

The event has changed hands, from an organizational perspective, over the years. It used to be run by the Parksville and District Chamber of Commerce before Rotary took over a few years ago.

“When the chamber had to give it up it had a place to land with Rotary,” said Wallis. “But right now it doesn’t have a place to land and there’s concern over that.”

Wallis also said she believes the parade is in good hands and will proceed as usual in downtown Parksville on Canada Day. As for the rest of the festivities, the lead organizers are willing and available if an umbrella group could step forward. Wallis said history shows the event can be a money-maker for an non-profit organization.

“It does have the potential to hold its own and leave a reserve for the following year,” she said.

If your group would like to get involved, or you would like more information, call Wallis at 250-586-1934 or e-mail: bonniewallis@shaw.ca.