Victoria Day parade bringing magic to streets

Annual parade hits the road on Monday

Galey Farms' Rob Galey works on a float for Island Farms in a workshop on Galey's Blenkinsop Road property. The float will be used in the annual Victoria Day Parade.

With the Island Farms Victoria Day Parade just days away from casting its spell over thousands of spectators, Rob Galey is wielding his float-making tools with some magic of his own.

“You look so calm,” Jenny Matechuk tells the Saanich farmer, who has had a hand in crafting two dozen Victoria Day and Santa Light parade floats over the years, including his family’s.

Matechuk, Island Farms marketing and events co-ordinator, is admiring the finishing touches Galey and his team are putting on the Island Farms float.

As it winds down Douglas Street on Monday (May 23), between 60,000 and 70,000 parade-goers will marvel at an oversized milk carton pouring its contents into a large cup.

“When you look at a float, it’s not how I look at a float,” says Galey, who works on the motorized displays when farming winds down for the winter.

“It’s like making a cake,” he says. “The icing person gets all the credit.”

While Galey’s work is heating up, Ron Butlin’s is winding down.

The volunteer parade organizer’s phone isn’t ringing 20 times a day anymore, and months spent securing entries are about to pay off.

It’s now up to 40 volunteers from the Lions Clubs from around the region to marshal 4,000 people in 145 entries at the Mayfair Shopping Centre parking lot on parade morning.

The hard work has its rewards.

“My favourite part is watching the enjoyment of families,” says Butlin, who has spent the past 21 years organizing the Victoria Day and Christmas parades as chair of the Greater Victoria Festival Society. “There’s not many things families can go to today without putting a hand in their pocket.”

The delight on children’s faces inspires the Victoria resident to keep going.

“This is the 113th consecutive year for the parade but I haven’t done them all,” jokes Butlin, who says he has no plans to retire.

“Not yet, but I’m getting closer,” he adds. “When I get up in the morning it’s nice to have a purpose.”

Besides, come Oct. 1 there is the Island Farms Santa Light Parade to start preparing for.

“The parades just don’t happen,” Butlin says.

The Island Farms Victoria Day Parade begins at 9 a.m. on Monday (May 23) at Mayfair Shopping Centre, continues along Douglas Street until it reaches Humboldt Street around noon.

emccracken@vicnews.com

 

By the numbers:

• 21: American marching bands featuring 2,400 high school students

• $1.3 million: money spent here by American bands

• 4,000: parade participants

• 145: parade entries

• 60,000 to 70,000: spectators

 

Just Posted

Sunset Cinema brings free family film under the stars in Colwood

Sunset Cinema hosts events on the Island from July 23 to 27

Saanich farm hosts birthday party as wetland turns 10

The Urban Biodiversity Enhancement and Restoration Project invites community to 10th birthday for wetland

Last remaining Victoria Legion faces $100,000 property tax bill

The Trafalgar/ Pro Patria Branch can’t afford to operate with such high taxes

Federal government commits $9.1 million toward UVic Indigenous Law building

Contribution supports Canada’s first Canada’s first Indigenous Law program

International migration drives population rise in B.C.

No joke, provincial population topped 5 million by April 1

Astronaut David Saint-Jacques returns to Earth, sets Canadian space record

Native of Saint-Lambert, Que., set a record for longest single spaceflight by a Canadian at 204 days

Greater Victoria wanted list for the week of June 25

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Vancouver Aquarium drops cetacean ban lawsuit in new lease agreement

Ocean Wise CEO Lasse Gustavsson called the updated lease an exciting new chapter for the aquarium

Pedestrian struck by vehicle in Stz’uminus dies from injuries

A male pedestrian was struck in the early morning of June 25

Thieves steal two $40K chairs featuring gold serpents from Vancouver furniture store

Chairs believed to be the only two of its kind in Canada, police said

Poll: Rising gas prices force B.C. residents rethink summer road trips

63 per cent of respondents reported gas prices are impacting their day-to-day finances

PHOTO: Moose cow and calf relax in Williams Lake flower garden

The homeowners got a surprise when they checked their most recent surveillance footage

Two in hospital after plane crashes in Okanagan Lake

RCMP say wheels left down caused landing plane to overturn on lake

Most Read