Qualicum Beach planning a party for country’s 150th birthday

Plans are in preliminary stages; July 1, 2017 will mark the nation’s 150th birthday

Led by the Legion, Qualicum Beach is gearing up for Canada Day — 19 months early.

July 1, 2017 will mark the nation’s 150th birthday, and the town wants to throw a major party and leave a legacy.

Legion Branch 76 President Don Taylor addressed council Monday, saying that as the usual organizers of the town’s biggest annual Canada Day celebration, they have struck a committee and are happy to take the lead, but they are looking for partners and support.

He said they are very early in the planning process, but they are looking for official town support to help get the ball rolling with grant applications so they can start booking things that might have long lead times like an evening street dance headliner.

Taylor said they are looking for any interested partners, specifically mentioning the museum, chamber of commerce, TOSH arts centre, library, youth and school organizations and service groups like Rotary and Kiwanis.

Activities on the day could include a greatly expanded mid-day parade, games and family friendly activities, many food options and music all day including possibly separate day and night headliners.

As part of the project, Taylor said they want to leave a lasting legacy, which “might be in the form of an outdoor park, historical plaque, walkway, picnic benches…” he said, admitting again it is early and they are open to ideas.

Coun. Barry Avis suggested developing a historical walk from the museum along the rail right-of-way to the Legion.

A submission by the committee had a preliminary budget, not including the legacy, with $3,000 for music and $2,500 for decoration, supplies and rentals, totalling $10,600.

Canada 150 committee chair Mary Brouilette said the chamber has offered to help them write grant applications, but would like to do that before the end of the year, adding to the urgency.

Taylor told council they would be looking for things like street closures, town staff help and as much support and contributions as they could get from the town, but for now was happy to get a letter of support in principle.

“Considering the circumstances I don’t see anybody here who would be opposed to celebrating Canada Day,” Mayor Teunis Westbroek said, calling for a vote on a motion to support.

Council took the unusual step of unanimously passing the motion at the time of the presentation, rather than waiting until the next meeting.

Anyone interested in getting involved should contact Brouilette or the Legion.

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