Committee to focus on flag's 50th anniversary
By Laura Lennie, News Staff
The Stoney Creek Canada Flag Day Parade will not be making its comeback this month.
Canada Flag Day Festival committee representatives say the event, which was expected to resume this year after it was put on hold because of bicentennial celebrations in 2012 and 2013, will instead make its return next May to King Street.
“It is really more so a matter of finances and we thought we’d bring it back for the 50th anniversary of the Canadian flag,” chair Connie Behie said. “It’s been harder to find dollars for the parade and we want to put on a really good one for the 50th anniversary. We want to make it a very special event for the community and in order to do it, it’s going to take money and time.”
The parade costs between $25,000 and $30,000 to put on each year.
The money comes from fundraising, local business partners and sponsors.
Behie said generating the money can be “very difficult,” especially when the same business partners and sponsors are already contributing to the annual Stoney Creek Santa Claus Parade.
“The Heritage Green Community Trust, for example, has been great at offering money to help with these community parades, but it’s not enough,” she said. “And you can’t hit them up to cover the entire cost of the events.”
Behie said the parades no longer receive financial assistance for road closures or policing from the city, which has added a significant amount to the cost of the events.
“We have to depend on local business sponsors and you can’t keep hitting them up for large sums of money twice a year,” she said. “Sometimes the money isn’t there. Volunteer organizers have had to come up with additional fundraising events and ways to cut down on some costs.”
Behie said the committee has approached its local business partners and sponsors about the Canada Flag Day Parade next year.
Planning has begun for the event, which will take place on Saturday, May 30, 2015 along King Street from Gray Road to Wardrope Avenue, she added.
“We’ve gone out to all of our business partners and sponsors and presented them a plan of action for next year and they have been very receptive to it,” Behie said. “We’re already lining up bands and are hoping to secure a celebrity grand marshal for the parade, so it’s going to be costly to put on, but it’s going to be a big, grand event.”
Behie said the committee has also been assured that road reconstruction and other work taking place next year along King Street will not interfere with the parade.
The $6.5-million capital project, which will also include sidewalk, streetlight and water main replacement and sewer repair, is expected to begin in March 2015 and will continue until December 2015.
“We’re being assured that they will hold off and have the streets in good condition, so we can do the 2015 parade,” Behie said. “That’s what we were told by public works. We believe that they were very sincere and they understand the situation and that we will be able to do this.”
Behie said the Canada Flag Day Parade will return next year and the Regency Family Picnic is a go this summer.
The picnic, held in partnership with the bicentennial commemoration committee to celebrate and honour Canada’s flag, will take place on Sunday, July 13 from noon to 4 p.m. at Battlefield Park. Admission is free.
The event will include a regency fashion show, demonstrations, face painting, games, contests and prizes, music, Flag Day giveaways and more.