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

Elizabeth May’s wedding dress a ‘walk through a garden’ on Earth Day

Green Party leader set to get married in Victoria

Peninsula students taking advantage of French activities

Canadian Parents for French help organize and promote activities

Monday sees rain with high of 10 C

Plus your weekly forecast

Number of ancient humans continues to grow after discovery

Scientists identify at least 12 species outside of Homo sapians following discovery in Philippines

Sri Lanka invokes war-time military powers after nearly 300 killed in Easter bombings

Sri Lanka’s minister of tourism says 39 foreign tourists were killed in the Easter Sunday attacks

POLL: How often does your family use BC Ferries?

Navigating the lineups for BC Ferries is a way of life for… Continue reading

Crime Stoppers most wanted for Greater Victoria for the week of April 16

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

Trudeau to be portrayed on ‘Simpsons’ episode

Toronto journalist who’s posted videos of himself doing impressions of the PM voiced him for the show

Campbell River RCMP say alcohol and speed may be factors in collision

Woman injured after driver ran into her car on Highway 19A, says fire captain

Bodies of 3 mountain climbers recovered after last week’s Banff avalanche

The men disappeared while attempting to climb the east face of Howse Peak in the Icefields Parkway

Happy birthday: Queen Elizabeth II turns 93 on Easter Sunday

Sunday is the first of two birthday celebrations each year for the queen

RCMP confirm witnesses say body found at Kelowna’s Gyro Beach

Police tape is blocking part of the beach and several RCMP officers are on scene.

B.C. fire department rescues kittens

Enderby homeowner not aware kittens in wood pile near garbage pile fire that got out of hand

Most Read