Wear red with pride in the morning parade at the Gorge Canada Day Picnic. File photo

Organizers brace for upwards of 15,000 at Gorge Canada Day Picnic

New online map navigates 19th annual Gorge Canada Day Picnic

Travis Paterson

Black Press

With more than 10,000 people spread over 1.7-kilometres along the Gorge Waterway from Tillicum to Admirals Road, and dozens of features and events on the route, there’s an annual question of how to best navigate the Gorge Canada Day Picnic.

To make it easier, the organizers of the 19th annual Gorge Canada Day Picnic have taken navigation to the next level, creating an new interactive online map.

It works well with smart phones, a handy pocket guide to maximize a stroll through Saanich’s biggest annual event.

“It’s extremely helpful,” said Rob Wickson, president of the Gorge Tillicum Community Association, who’s been on the organizing committee all 19 years.

“We [estimated] close to 15,000 last year, it’s hard to get a pure count because people come and go, it’s a whole neigbhourhood,” Wickson said. “People arrive by water, from across the Craigflower bridge, and any number ways, there’s so many entry points.”

This year View Royal is adding a neighbouring event with the opening of Craigflower Manor for the day. The Manor will have a beer garden, run by the Highland Games Society.

This year’s July 1 event includes the usual, starting at 8:30 a.m. with the parade, followed by dozens of art exhibits, market stalls, voyageur canoe rides, music stages, a car show and tons of food.

Most importantly, the map can be easily navigated on smart phones, with clickable links showing where the live music and other events will be.

It also shows the traffic barriers which will be erected about one block north of Gorge Road, for those early birds seeking parking nearby.

Festivities culminate at 4 p.m., at which time plenty of buses will head downtown where Victoria is hosting the 150th Canada Day celebration. Gorge Road from Tillicum to Admirals will be closed to traffic from 7:30 a.m. until 5 p.m.

The parade will boast a guest appearance by the Queen of England and Princess Kate. A guest reincarnation of Emily Carr will also be around to tell stories and do a little painting, of course.

The parade route starts at Tillicum and slinks up Gorge Road, ending at Admirals where there’s a pancake breakfast from 8:30 a.m. at Craigflower-Kosapsom Park until 11 a.m.

Plate of pancakes for $3. Coffee for $1.

Nearly everything else is free but for a nominal fee to attend the Strawberry Tea or take a voyageur canoe ride, hosted by the Victoria Canoe and Kayak Club at Craigflower-Kosapsom Park.

Need to know:

The picnic is rain or shine. Bring sunscreen, a hat and walking shoes.

Bring a reusable water bottle. There is a CRD water cart refilling station.

Transit:

No. 11 bus will run from Tillicum Mall down Tillicum to Gorge Road at the Tillicum/Gorge Road intersection until 6 p.m. It will not run through the Admirals/Tillicum/Gorge neighbourhood.

A Shuttle Bus will operate from lower Tillicum Mall to Burnside, Right-Tillicum, Right-Obed, Left-Dysart, Right-Cowper, Left-Admirals to Left-Craigflower, Left-Tillicum back to Tillicum Mall at the approximate scheduled departure times in the Riders Guide.

The Shuttle Bus will stop on Craigflower at Admirals and Craigflower at Tillicum (Gorge Golf Course) to connect with the No. 14 and No. 26, and on: Tillicum at Gorge to get to the Gorge Picnic or connect with No. 8 or No. 11 to downtown.

 

The Pancake Breakfest of the takes place 8:30 to 11 a.m. at Craigflower-Kosapsom Park. File photo

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