This cake is no small order for the bakery at Thrifty Foods Colwood. It’s so big it has to go into the oven in 24 pieces. When it’s finished it will be five-and-half feet wide and 12 feet long.
Chad McConnell, who has worked at the bakery the past eight years, said the whole process takes two days.
But the order isn’t for a wedding or a business function. It’s the celebration cake for Canada Day at Fort Rodd Hill and Fisgard Lighthouse.
The cake has been a fixture at the event for the last 25 years and will be hand-decorated with a centennial logo to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Parks Canada as the world’s first national park system.
“It’s the highlight of the event. It weighs a lot,” Jon Barss, head interpreter at Fort Rodd Hill, says of the sweet treat.
To celebrate the centennial, all Parks Canada sites are open free to the public on July 1. But Fort Rodd Hill has done so on Canada Day for the last 29 years.
The event began in the early 1980s and initially featured fireworks, but has shrunk in the last number of years to a smaller picnic with live music.
Members of the Pacific Association for Re-creating the Middle Ages are also usually a part of the event, but will be coming to the site later in the summer instead.
New this year is a special centennial exhibit in the historic warrant officer’s house and a visit from Parks Canada’s mascot, a beaver named Parka.
Fort Rodd Hill has a rich history as Victoria and Esquimalt’s artillery fort from 1878-1956. Event attendees will have the chance to hear the 5th artillery regiment band, the same regiment that patrolled the fort when it was active, and will have free range of the old military encampments and lighthouse.
Barss said attendance depends which day July 1 falls on, because people are more likely to go away on a weekend – a Canada Day event on a Wednesday was particularly well attended, he said.
The hope is that with increased press about the centennial, the celebrations will attract a larger-than-usual long weekend crowd.
Although the festivities are smaller now, the big, grassy site with a backdrop of the Olympic Mountains and the Strait of Juan de Fuca is a favourite spot for picnicking.
“It can be busy in here, but you don’t really feel it. There’s still that quietness,” says Sophie Lauro, promotions officer for the site.
Fun at the Fort
What: Canada Day at Fort Rodd Hill and Fisgard Lighthouse. Live music will play all day from local bands like Organized Khaos, the 5th Artillery Regiment and the Victoria Concert Band.
When: July 1, 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Where: Fort Rodd Hill and Fisgard Lighthouse National Historic Site.
How to get there: Turn onto Ocean Boulevard off the Old Island Highway, then left on Fort Rodd Hill Road. Limited parking is available on-site, but a shuttle bus will transport visitors from the park-and-ride lot across from Juan De Fuca Recreation Centre.