Organizers of events celebrating Canada’s 150th birthday in Salmon Arm and the surrounding area are already planning new events and finding ways to give existing favourites a Canada 150 spin.
City Councillor Louise Wallace Richmond is chairing the city’s Canada 150 committee and thinks Canada 150 events will leave a legacy comparable to the centennial celebration in 1967.
“Expo ’67 changed the way the world looked at Canada. It put us on the map; I think 2017 could do that again,” she said.
Wallace Richmond expressed the importance of all the different groups coming together for the Canada 150 committee. Representatives of groups including the Fall Fair, Roots & Blues, the Salmon Arm Art Gallery, Haney Heritage Village and the Downtown Improvement Association have attended the meetings.
The art gallery has a series of Canada-themed events scheduled for 2017, beginning with the Red and White ‘Do-It’ event on Jan. 20, where artists will provide instructions on how to create 2D art with a focus on the colours red and white.
The gallery will hold other Canada 150 events including a 150-toque community knitting project on March 4 and a photo gallery of eye-catching train car graffiti on July 22.
A youth-led video project will be premiering on April 30 at the Salmar Classic. The project will feature interviews with 150 Salmon Arm residents of all backgrounds paired with animation sequences celebrating Canada. It will be produced by youth ages 15 to 21 years old.
Other existing cultural events will be receiving the Canada 150 treatment in 2017. The Okanagan Zone Theatre Festival, an annual event showcasing theatre groups from around the Okanagan, will feature productions written by Canadian playwrights.
The Roots & Blues festival will be celebrating both its own 25th anniversary and Canada’s 150th birthday. The festival’s more-than-40-act bill will be led by Booker T, Stax Revue and A Journey Thru Soul as well as Kenny Wayne.
“It is also our nation’s 150th birthday. Programming will reflect the deep pool of talent we have to draw on and we want to share as many Canadiana roots music traditions as possible,” said festival artistic director Peter North.
On Canada Day itself, along with the annual Children’s Festival at the fairgrounds, there will be a red and white picnic at Canoe Beach featuring entertainment and a drone photo. Those attending will be asked to dress in red and white for the group photo.
Wallace Richmond said large ongoing projects like the restored Dragon Boats and the Montebello Block at the R.J. Haney Heritage Village, which will be completed in time for the celebrations, will also feature events to commemorate Canada’s 150th birthday.
Wallace Richmond said leaving a legacy behind is her most important goal in her work with the Canada 150 committee.
“Some people weren’t here for 1967 and some won’t be here in 2067,” she said. “That’s my challenge, to remind people it’s not about the past, it’s about the future.”