Victoria prepares to party

City's anniversary festivity schedule announced with arts grants available.

The City of Victoria wants you to save the date for a big 150th birthday bash.

One month in advance of the City of Victoria’s 150th anniversary year, it released a preliminary schedule of events. Festivities involve special celebrations on Aug. 2 – the day of incorporation in 1862 – as well as year-long merriment. There are also many grant opportunities for artists and community groups, and the deadline for application is fast approaching.

By Jan. 15, individual artists or established art groups can make a bid to receive between $1,000 and $20,000 to highlight the historic significance of Victoria’s iconic locations. Lighting installations, photography and performance art are among the mediums to be considered at locations such as Carr House, the Chinese Cemetery and Market Square.

Allison Bottomley, managing producer of Theatre SKAM, attended the announcement last week.

“I’m sure that there are a large number of people out there that have the perfect project in mind, and this will be a great opportunity for them to realize it,” said Bottomley. “The merit of what the city is doing, is that they are opening it up to artist proposals (and) the artists’ own intent behind the work.”

The total funding up for grabs “is subject to change and hopefully to grow,” said Alice Bacon, the City of Victoria’s 150 coordinator.

Bacon confirmed the Greater Victoria Spirit Committee Society, which will administer the grant, has received funding from the Department of Canadian Heritage. The amount, however, can’t be announced at this time. The society is seeking funding from a number of other sources as well.

Theatre SKAM will be exploring opportunities for a grant application.

“We’re excited about what’s being presented here,” said Bottomley. “For our company … we would be more likely to be interested in those spaces that are maybe not as iconic as the usual designated historic spots in the city. I hope that with this grant opportunity that those lesser known stories and lesser known spaces will be just as interesting (to the grant-evaluation team).”

By Feb. 3, community groups can also apply for a grant of up to $5,000 to host their own 150-themed project or event.

Celebrations on Aug. 2 will take place at Centennial Square, with food, music, clowns, speeches and activities. A similar event, dubbed Unity 150, will take place four days later, in conjunction with the United Way of Greater Victoria’s 75th anniversary. Also, on a day yet to be pinned down, the city will host a fort-making competition as a tribute to the original Fort Victoria.

Throughout 2012, expect banners, promotional products and a 150-theme at annual events such as Symphony Splash and the Victoria Day Parade. History2Life, a historical interactive performance company, will be present at many of these events, in the form of stilt walkers, magicians, giant puppets and more.

Also, the Victoria Civic Heritage Trust will develop a book and web pages featuring the architecture and development of City Hall.

The city’s total budget for the event, including preliminary planning and marketing is $250,000 spread over 2011 and 2012.

For more information, visit www.victoria.ca/cityhall/arts-victoria-150.shtml.

Victoria’s timeline, at a glance

1843: Hudson’s Bay Company established a trading post and fort.

1849: James Douglas worked to colonize Vancouver Island, a condition of the company’s title to the land.

1858: The gold rush brings thousands of miners to Victoria.

1862, Aug, 2: The City of Victoria incorporated. Thomas Harris elected city’s first mayor, by acclamation.

1871: Victoria proclaimed capital city of newly incorporated province of British Columbia.

 

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