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

Four charges approved in Saanich hit and run that left woman in coma

‘This was a significant crash that caused serious injuries,’ say police

Massive plaza, residential and retail project coming to Esquimalt

The Esquimalt Town Centre set to sell its first units in October

Second bat found at Greater Victoria elementary school tests positive for rabies

Island Health confirms second rabies case, this time in Saanich

VicPD called to Beacon Hill Park after body found

Suspicious circumstances not ruled out in apparent sudden death

VIDEO: B.C.’s famous cat Grandpa Mason has died

The story of the feral cat that started fostering kittens touched people around the world

Trudeau seeks meeting with Singh to apologize for blackface, brownface photos

‘I will be apologizing to him personally as a racialized Canadian,’ Trudeau said Friday

Crime Stoppers most wanted for Greater Victoria for the week of September 17

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

POLL: Should the province step in to upgrade the road to Bamfield?

The death of two University of Victoria students on a bus bound… Continue reading

Charges stayed against Alberta RCMP officer in alleged off-duty Whistler assault

Const. Vernon Hagen instead completed an alternative measures program

VIDEO: Fire destroys Williams Lake strip club targeted by past arson attempts

Diamonds and Dust Entertainment Lounge destroyed by fire, crews on scene

B.C. man guilty of first-degree murder in Yukon killing

Edward James Penner, 22, was given the mandatory life sentence for the 2017 slaying of 25-year-old Adam Cormack

Woman stabbed at least five times in Nelson during random attack

Victim is in hospital, suspect is in police custody

‘I’d do it again,’ says B.C. man who swam naked, drunk in Toronto shark tank

David Weaver, of Nelson, was drunk when he went to Ripley’s Aquarium in Toronto on Oct. 12 2018

Most Read