Buckingham Palace confirmed it. The Governor General’s office has, too. The Queen will celebrate Canada Day in Saanich.
Organizers of the 14th annual Gorge Canada Day Picnic have secured one of the most sought-after figureheads in the world to descend on the waterway to take part in a parade, a jubilee dog show and a royal flotilla.
“This is not just any old Gorge Canada Day Picnic – it’s the ‘Royal’ Gorge Canada Day Picnic this year,” said event chair Harry Lewis. “It’s exciting to have the Queen coming to add to the celebration.”
But if Elizabeth II looks a little like impersonator Carolyn Sadowska – just go with it for the sake of fun and festivities.
Thousands of Greater Victoria residents are expected to flock to Gorge Road – closed to traffic all day – for a full of events celebrating Canada’s 145th birthday.
“I look at it as a stage that’s a kilometre-and-a-half long (from Admirals to Tillicum roads) to fill up with as many activities and things of interest as we can,” Lewis said.
The day kicks off at 8:30 a.m. with a pancake breakfast at Kosapsom Park (Gorge Road at Admirals). From 9 o’clock on, events begin happening, including the family parade, bike rodeo, dog show and tug of war.
On the main stage at Kosapsom will be hourly musical entertainment, including jazz bands, a one-man band, flamenco dancers and a headlining Celtic-music-playing pair of siblings, Qristina and Quinn Bachand. There will also be roving entertainment.
In addition to the 35 merchants and 23 food vendors, there’s a strawberry tea from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. at the Victoria Canoe and Kayak Club, and a day-long vintage car show at Parkview Drive.
“We didn’t foresee 14 years ago we’d still be doing it and it would have developed into what it is today,” Lewis said of having co-organized the first picnic with Gorge Tillicum Community Association president Rob Wickson.
“We started it with the intention of a community-building exercise, and now we’ve got one of the premier Canada Day events in the capital area.”
The festivities along the Gorge run until 5:30 p.m., which Lewis says is to allow people to make their way downtown for evening events in the Inner Harbour, such as the fireworks.
“For many of us, the Gorge waterway is kind of like our front yard. Is there a more perfect place for a large neighbourhood party than along the Gorge waterway? I don’t think so.”
Canada Day on the
-Kosapsum Park and venues between Tillicum and Admirals
8:30 to 11 a.m. Pancake breakfast
9 a.m. Family parade with the Queen
10 a.m. Opening ceremony; bike rodeo
11 a.m. Dog show with the Queen; road hockey
11:30 Tug of war on the beach
1:30 to 3:30 p.m. Strawberry tea
-Live music every hour from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
-See gorgetillicum.ca for a full rundown of events.