Canada is turning 150 faster than you can say “sesquicentennial,” and in preparation, Saanich council is already getting plans for the celebration underway.
“It’s going to be a celebration across Canada and it’s part of our legacy as Canada, so we want to make sure that we’re involved and that we can experience it coast to coast and share our heritage and values,” said Coun. Vicki Sanders, who brought a report to council earlier this month regarding the country’s sesquicentennial.
While it’s still early, Sanders said they’d like the fun to last throughout 2017, rather than just on Canada Day.
“Throughout the year, everyone’s thinking about Canada 150,” she said. “We have so many events that happen in Saanich that if we can get a Canada 150 theme to be presented, that would be excellent.”
At the July 11 meeting, council discussed the possibility of collaborating with other celebrations, such as the Gorge Tillicum Canada Day Picnic, to honour the anniversary of Canada’s confederation in 1867. Sanders also noted there are a number of significant milestones next year in Saanich that could coincide with the 150th, including Cedar Hill Park’s 50th anniversary.
She added that communities all over the country are starting to figure out their festivities, making it timely for Saanich to follow suit.
“Every community is doing something different,” said Sanders. “I went to a workshop and sat with people from Nanaimo, and their 50th anniversary of the bathtub race will be coming up. They initiated that in 1967 to celebrate Canada’s 100th, so they have that little piece.”
Among the ideas floating around for the local bash include taking an archival look back at Saanich’s history and a parade, similar to when the district held its own 100th anniversary.
“I think we’ll celebrate what Saanich is, what our legacy has been in Canada and what we’ve contributed to Canadian history,” said Sanders.
Additionally, Sanders said the 150th is a great opportunity to celebrate with new Canadians, including the Syrian refugees who have recently come to Vancouver Island.
“Some people are first generation and some are brand new, and it’s important to involve our new immigrants and others,” she said. “Saanich is very multicultural, as is Canada.”
The sesquicentennial sub-committee will be brainstorming ideas, with the hopes of putting together a blueprint for the 150th anniversary events next year.
“My goal is that people hear about this right from the first of the year,” said Sanders. “We have a year to celebrate. Maybe people will have block parties, maybe neighbourhoods will decide to do that – maybe that will be a theme.
“We live in a fabulous country here. Let’s celebrate it.”