Picnic expected to bring 10,000 to the Gorge

Art, activities and great atmosphere will flow along the scenic Saanich waterway on Canada Day

Dave Harris performs for a bustling crowd along the Gorge at last year’s Canada Day celebrations.

Dave Harris performs for a bustling crowd along the Gorge at last year’s Canada Day celebrations.

It’s the biggest annual gathering in Saanich and one of the biggest in Greater Victoria.

The Gorge Canada Day Picnic is expected to draw more than 10,000 people today.

Since the Gorge-Tillicum Community Association started the Gorge Picnic in 1999, it’s done nothing but grow, to the point where managing the event has become a six-month tenure. Saanich added its Art on the Gorge three years ago and, with a little added media, crowds at the Gorge Picnic jumped from about 7,000 people to 10,000.

What draws people is the ability to roam free along 1.5 kilometres of car-free road where there’s a pancake breakfast, a family parade, 65 artisan vendors, 25 food vendors, the Strawberry Tea, a classic car show, a Kids Zone, voyageur canoe rides, a road hockey area and three stages of entertainment, says Chris Kask, chair of the Gorge Picnic organizing committee and a GTCA treasurer.

“There’s things we look at adding to the Gorge Picnic but really, at this moment we don’t need to add anything, we are focused on the organization and process of running a smooth event.”

The recycling regime, for example, has had to have been ironed out into a really good process, because that’s what festival-goers expect in Greater Victoria.

Right from the beginning, creators Harry Lewis, Ray Farmer, Rob Wickson and Paul Gerrard, among others, had a vision for the Gorge Canada Day Picnic to use a traffic-free Gorge Road West, between Admirals and Tillicum.

“The fact you’re not confined to a closed space, and that you can wander along a gorgeous waterway, is part of the charm that brings so many people to Gorge Picnic,” Kask said.

This year’s main stage lineup includes City of Gardens Chorus, Robin Gillespie, Cookeilidh, Salsa Caliente, Terry Brennan & Roger Plant and The Bachands. There will also be a variety of performances from Daniel Frances and Friends at the Gorge on Art Stage. The Sunshine Clowns and Drum Victoria will provide entertainment and drum lessons at the Austin Family Stage.

“We have fantastic support from a solid base of volunteers, residents, the District of Saanich, vendors and our local businesses whose sponsorship has helped the event grow,” Kask says.

Festivities kick off with the pancake breakfast beginning at 8:30 a.m., with the Family Parade at 9 a.m. and opening ceremonies, including the singing of O Canada, at 10:15 a.m. on the main stage.

Because No. 11 bus can’t run along Gorge Road, BC Transit will run alternate transit, including a rerouted No. 11. The 11 will run between Tillicum Centre along Tillicum to Gorge Road at the Tillicum/Gorge Road intersection, from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. It will not run through the Admirals/Tillicum/Gorge neigbhourhood.

BC Transit will also offer a shuttle bus between lower Tillicum Centre and the Picnic.

For a full list of the day’s events and other information, visit gorgecanadaday.ca.

Parking is extremely limited and festival goers are encouraged to take transit, walk, or ride their bike.

 

reporter@saanichnews.com

 

 

Just Posted

Days after students’ return to Victoria High School was delayed by a year, the province has announced some amenities that will be included in the school’s expansion project. (Photo by Cole Descoteau)
Child-care spots, artificial turf field, non-profit space included in Vic High expansion

SD61 now aims to welcome students back at the high school by September 2023

Gwen Spencer Hethey with her uncle and mentor Major Frederick Richardson. (Courtesy of Greater Victoria Sports Hall of Fame)
‘She was a killer’: The Victoria woman who pioneered female sharpshooting

Gwen Spencer Hethey made military men ‘look like turkeys’ says her son

Anita Troop officially turns 100 on Sunday and cards are pouring in from around the world. (Courtesy Marina Miller)
Cards roll in from around the world for West Shore 100 year old

About 100 cards have come for the woman who turns 100 on Sunday

Patrick O’Brien, a 75-year-old fisherman, went missing near Port Angeles Thursday evening. (Courtesy of U.S. Coast Guard)
UPDATE: Search suspended for angler missing between Port Angeles and Victoria

The 75-year-old man was reported missing Thursday evening

A cardboard man bearing Queen Elizabeth II’s royal cipher has been placed in a window at the Royal Theatre for at least several days. (Evert Lindquist/News Staff)
Mysterious cardboard figure appears in Victoria’s Royal Theatre window

The identity of the figure, which was moved there amid cleaning, remains unknown

A small pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins pass by close to shore in Campbell River June 16, 2021. Still capture from video courtesy of Kimberly Hart
VIDEO: Dolphin sunset captured from Vancouver Island shore

Spectacular setting for view of travelling pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins

A North Vancouver man was arrested Friday and three police officers were injured after a 10-person broke out at English Bay. (Youtube/Screen grab)
Man arrested, 3 police injured during 10-person altercation at Vancouver beach

The arrest was captured on video by bystanders, many of whom heckled the officers as they struggled with the handcuffed man

Patrick O’Brien, a 75-year-old fisherman, went missing near Port Angeles Thursday evening. (Courtesy of U.S. Coast Guard)
Search for lost fisherman near Victoria suspended, U.S. Coast Guard says

The 75-year-old man was reported missing Thursday evening

Bruce Springsteen performs at the 13th annual Stand Up For Heroes benefit concert in support of the Bob Woodruff Foundation in New York on Nov. 4, 2019. (Greg Allen/Invision/AP)
Canadians who got AstraZeneca shot can now see ‘Springsteen on Broadway’

B.C. mayor David Screech who received his second AstraZeneca dose last week can now attend the show

New research suggests wolves can be steered away from the endangered caribou herds they prey on by making the man-made trails they use to hunt harder to move along. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Culling cutlines, not B.C. wolves, key to preserving caribou herds: researcher

The government has turned to killing hundreds of wolves in an effort to keep caribou around

Gary Abbott (left) and Louis De Jaeger were two of the organizers for the 2014 Spirit of the People Powwow in Chilliwack. Monday, June 21, 2021 is Indigenous Peoples Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of June 20 to 26

Indigenous Peoples Day, Take Your Dog to Work Day, Onion Rings Day all coming up this week

Central Okanagan Grade 12 grads are set to get $500 each after a more than $1 million donation from a Kelowna couple. (File photo)
B.C. couple donating $500 to every Grade 12 student in the Okanagan

Anonymous donors identified as Kelowna entrepreneurs Lance and Tammy Torgerson

Rita Coolidge played the main stage at Vancouver Island Musicfest in 2017. (Black Press file photo)
This year’s Vancouver Island MusicFest to virtually showcase beauty of Comox Valley

Returning July 9 through 11 with more than 25 hours of music performances

Most Read