Victoria Day parade bringing magic to streets

Annual parade hits the road on Monday

Galey Farms' Rob Galey works on a float for Island Farms in a workshop on Galey's Blenkinsop Road property. The float will be used in the annual Victoria Day Parade.

With the Island Farms Victoria Day Parade just days away from casting its spell over thousands of spectators, Rob Galey is wielding his float-making tools with some magic of his own.

“You look so calm,” Jenny Matechuk tells the Saanich farmer, who has had a hand in crafting two dozen Victoria Day and Santa Light parade floats over the years, including his family’s.

Matechuk, Island Farms marketing and events co-ordinator, is admiring the finishing touches Galey and his team are putting on the Island Farms float.

As it winds down Douglas Street on Monday (May 23), between 60,000 and 70,000 parade-goers will marvel at an oversized milk carton pouring its contents into a large cup.

“When you look at a float, it’s not how I look at a float,” says Galey, who works on the motorized displays when farming winds down for the winter.

“It’s like making a cake,” he says. “The icing person gets all the credit.”

While Galey’s work is heating up, Ron Butlin’s is winding down.

The volunteer parade organizer’s phone isn’t ringing 20 times a day anymore, and months spent securing entries are about to pay off.

It’s now up to 40 volunteers from the Lions Clubs from around the region to marshal 4,000 people in 145 entries at the Mayfair Shopping Centre parking lot on parade morning.

The hard work has its rewards.

“My favourite part is watching the enjoyment of families,” says Butlin, who has spent the past 21 years organizing the Victoria Day and Christmas parades as chair of the Greater Victoria Festival Society. “There’s not many things families can go to today without putting a hand in their pocket.”

The delight on children’s faces inspires the Victoria resident to keep going.

“This is the 113th consecutive year for the parade but I haven’t done them all,” jokes Butlin, who says he has no plans to retire.

“Not yet, but I’m getting closer,” he adds. “When I get up in the morning it’s nice to have a purpose.”

Besides, come Oct. 1 there is the Island Farms Santa Light Parade to start preparing for.

“The parades just don’t happen,” Butlin says.

The Island Farms Victoria Day Parade begins at 9 a.m. on Monday (May 23) at Mayfair Shopping Centre, continues along Douglas Street until it reaches Humboldt Street around noon.

emccracken@vicnews.com

 

By the numbers:

• 21: American marching bands featuring 2,400 high school students

• $1.3 million: money spent here by American bands

• 4,000: parade participants

• 145: parade entries

• 60,000 to 70,000: spectators

 

Just Posted

Victoria woman sets date to swim the Strait of Juan de Fuca

Susan Simmons will attempt to be the first to swim the Strait twice starting Saturday afternoon

Victoria Police arrest man in relation to indecent act at Beacon Hill Park

The man is known to police, and is facing three charges

Federal government announces over $115 million to Royal Canadian Navy

Defence Minister Harjit S. Sajjan was at CFB Esquimalt to announce missile system upgrades

New 84-unit seniors housing in Saanich constructed to Built Green standards

Mount Doug Manor an example of Built Green on a big scale

Materials linked to 1992 Colwood murder found at construction site in Metchosin

West Shore RCMP investigating to determine if relevant to the old case

PHOTOS: B.C. city wakes up to darkness under wildfire smoke

The rest of the province also dealing with thick haze as smoky skies continue

Five things to do in Greater Victoria this weekend

Puppy yoga, horses, cars, water guns and more make up this weekend’s list of events to see

Hospitals to see ‘delays’ in care after losing Saudi students, health group says

About 1,000 Saudi residents called back to kingdom after suspending diplomatic relations with Canada

Bernier diatribe against ‘extreme multiculturalism’ boosts Liberal coffers

Party spokesperson Braeden Caley says online donations doubled, social media engagement quadrupled

‘Disjointed’ system hinders British Columbia First Nations in wildfire fight

More than 550 wildfires were burning in B.C. and crews were bracing for wind and dry lightning

Castlegar bridge designed by architect of collapsed Italian bridge

Riccardo Morandi designed the Kinnaird Bridge, which is part of Highway 3.

RCMP nab prolific car thief after month-long, B.C.-wide search

A province-wide warrant was issued for Brian Robert Stephan in June for a litany of offences

First long-awaited Cyclone lands near Victoria airport

Military helicopter first of nine to come to Saanich Peninsula base

Court sides with developer in Jumbo ‘substantially started’ dispute

Resort developer successfully argues 2014 decision that halted the project was unfair

Most Read