A group Saanichites have been selected to help incorporate Canada’s 150th sesquicentennial celebrations into the 2017 calendar year.
“There are 19 events in Saanich annually and the goal is to have the 150th observed at these and other events throughout the year,” said Bill Williamson, who is one of four Saanich ambassadors for the 150th.
Williamson is joined by Coun. Vicki Sanders, Lyris Agarat and Michelle Sealey. The foursome was nominated by the Arts, Culture and Heritage Committee’s Canada 150 Working Group. They’ll be relied on to co-ordinate activities associated with the 150th celebrations, and are part of a national network of Canada 150 Community Leaders, organized by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities.
“Our role as 150th ambassadors is to see Saanich celebrate the anniversary throughout the year,” Sanders said. “We want people to know it’s about the whole year and that celebrating the 150th isn’t going to be a single event.”
That said, the 150th will certainly have an added presence at the 2017 Gorge Canada Day Picnic. Saanich has increased its funding for the picnic by $5,000 to include elements of the 150th.
Observances of the 150th anniversary should enhance everything from street parties to Strawberry Fest, Cordova Bay Days, the Cadboro Bay Festival and more, Williamson said.
“Our goal is to have the 150th on the tongue of everyone talking in 2017,” Sanders said.
Sanders is part of the Arts, Culture and Advisory Committee’s creation of a time capsule for the 150th anniversary. She’s also working on a Saanich policy for the installation of temporary art pieces. There isn’t one now, so it’s a good time to put one in place, a sort of legacy to further celebrate art as we move forward, she said.
Arts in the hall
To start 2017, the display case and stairwell area of Saanich’s municipal hall will feature the art and memorabilia of Richard Grenville Rice, who enlisted with Canada for the First World War. Following the war, Rice was based in Saanich and designed the stone-built Oak House at 3149 Cook St. He was a co-architect with Karl Branwhite Spurgin for the Saanich Memorial Health Centre at 4353 West Saanich Rd. (St. Paul’s Society). Rice also designed the Saanich First World War Honour Roll.