Children’s Birthday Party for Canada

We feel sure when your children are half a century older, they will remember this day and the other wonderful Canada
 150 events we will be privileged to attend this month in Victoria.
When:  Thursday, June 22, 2017   3:30-5pm (dropin event, your choice of time to come and go)
Where: Point Ellice House, 2616 Pleasant Street, off Bay Street.  Very limited parking.
Phone: 250-380-6506
We’re also on Facebook and Instagram.
Admission: by donation.  Suggested donation: $5 per family group     All proceeds are shared between two great ‘causes’:  1) to aid in the upkeep of our beautiful O’Reilly gardens; and 2) because Frank and Jack O’Reilly joined the British army in 1914 and served throughout the war, (with Jack as a spotter,similar to a spy in a tiny plane) half the donations will be given to the Military Family Resource Centre.
What will you remember, what will your children remember, in 2067, about Canada 150 events?
There are so many of them planned, and some folks may already be feeling a form of celebration fatigue.
I was struck, a few years back, with these thoughts as I heard Dr. Helen Davies, the Superintendent of the  BC Coastal Field Unit of Parks Canada, as keynote speaker at a planning event for heritage and similar groups wishing to put on a commemorative event for Canada 150.
She spoke of her PhD dissertation.  She had chosen several actual Centennial Year events and followed up to see how the communities involved viewed their local efforts.  There were
a wide range of ideas represented, brought into being by many  dedicated volunteers and partners such a businesses, nonprofits, service clubs, and three levels of government. It was so inspiring to hear how, decades later, their event was still fresh in the minds of the locals.
So we wondered: how could we, a small nonprofit with a difficult and ongoing job,( that of bringing a family story to life for new generations and newcomers to Victoria), make a meaningful contribution to the communities of Victoria.
There was a “hook” –  the date.   In 1867, as well as the confederation of Canada,  there were two events in Victoria of note that year.   First, Peter and Caroline Trutch O’Reilly had to move to the Colony of Vancouver Island since Peter’s job in New Westminster was moved to Victoria when the capital of the Colony was changed. Housing was at a premium, almost as scarce as it is now for families.  After many disappointments, they heard about a cottage on the Gorge that had been abandoned.  This 5 room bungalow had been built in 1861, as a wedding present for a young couple. Unfortunately, after a few years it was empty and the elements were encroaching, as the setting was considered quite a way from the city centre. The O’Reillys moved in in December of 1867 with their 14 month old son.  Three weeks later, on December 31, the second ‘Canada 150’ event occurred: their daughter Kathleen was born.
So being led by this historic information, we determined to follow a ‘children’s birthday party theme’ for our commemorative event.
There will be croquet and beanbag toss, some dancing on the green. ice cream and cake, and attenders are encouraged to add to the theme  decor with red and or/white clothing.
As it is an after-school event, we are hoping children can come for all or part of the party; the tone will be fun and informal, rather like an Open House.
Because our parking lot is limited, we are encouraging families to come by number 14 bus or park elsewhere and walk.  A special treat can be worked into your visit by parking at the Wharf Street lot and taking the Harbour Ferries water taxi to our dock.