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East York people, places, events & insights

Planning for 2018 Canada Day parade and festival off to a rip-roaring start

Gerald Darcy shows members of the 2018 working group that includes EYCDC president Shannon Timms [in white shirt] looking on, a drawing he prepared of the park areas to spark ideas for event locations. -GARY W-P

Gerald Darcy shows members of the 2018 working group that includes EYCDC president Shannon Timms [in white shirt] looking on, a drawing he prepared of the park areas to spark ideas for event locations. -GARY W-P

Businesses will be encouraged to get involved as sponsors early

The fireworks had not even been lit at Stan Wadlow Park for the 2017 Canada Day festivities when sparks started flying on social media about what some felt were shortcomings in this year’s version of the parade and park festivities.

Some parents returning from an afternoon at the park were understandably disappointed that there were no midway rides and other felt that there should have been more participation by community organizations and institutions in both the parade and park activities.

What they didn’t know, however, was how close East York came to having no 60th annual national holiday celebration for the country’s 150th birthday.  As detailed elsewhere in this issue [see article “Saving Canada Day”], the whole shebang was nearly cancelled, only saved at practically the last minute by the timely intervention of local political figures such as Beaches-East York MPP Arthur Potts and Ward 31 Councillor Janet Davis.

President of the non-profit East York Canada Day Corporation, Shannon Timms, soon got involved in the discussions on Facebook and pointed out that she had endeavoured to recruit volunteers for this year’s activities through a couple of groups, with little success.

“If you would like to see  better come on out and help us plan for next year,” Timms posted on one Facebook group after explaining some of the difficulties the organization encountered, such as midway operators wanting hefty fee increases to be involved.

A few of the posters eagerly took her up on the offer, most notably resident Gerald Darcy, who quickly became a focal point for those with ideas as to how to improve the event.

After collecting several of the suggestions from the groups Mr. Darcy, in liaison with Ms. Timms, decided to move quickly to capitalize on the energy and interest being displayed and organized a meeting for July 8 at S. Walter Stewart Library.

At that gathering about a dozen people pored through a list of more than 25 ideas to consider, including possibly extend the parade route, established a fundraising target of $100,00 for the 2018 event (more than four times what was planned for this year), resolved to immediately begin approaching local businesses both to become sponsors and to participate in activities along with community groups and other organizations and to reach out to groups in the Leaside and Thorncliffe Park areas.

Anyone interested in getting involved as a volunteer or as a sponsor or participant can send the group an email through their website at www.eycdc.ca .

-Gary Webb-Proctor

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