Residents want to keep their Canada Day festivities in Osgoode, but unless more people help out this summer’s event will be the final year.
At the Osgoode Village Community Association’s annual general meeting on Jan. 24 the executive asked a small crowd of residents whether the event should be canned, since it has been run by the same four volunteers and their families - the same people who sit on the board - for several years.
The celebration begins with family games and activities in the afternoon, a barbecue and parade in the early evening and live entertainment as night falls. A fireworks display caps the festivities after dark.
Greg Thurlow has led the organizing committee for three years. He said the current model is unsustainable, and will force the end of the event next year if more people don’t come forward to help.
“If there are 1,500 to 2,000 people out there and only five people running it, it doesn’t work,” Thurlow said. “After this year if we don’t have the volunteers I really don’t see the point in holding it in Osgoode again.”
President Lori Daneliak, who stepped down at the meeting, said planning for Canada Day begins in the fall and only intensifies throughout the year.
“The grant writing begins in October and it carries through with booking equipment and entertainment for the night,” she said. “There’s a lot of paperwork to fill out with the city of Ottawa.”
While only one resident at the meeting confirmed he would volunteer for the event, Thurlow said several community groups have come forward to take some of the burden this year. The Gallagher family has volunteered to look after booking bands and acts for the stage. A youth group at Trinity Bible Church has offered to help with tear down.
Long-time Lions member Dwayne Acres said there are ready-made teams already in the community that can be a volunteer resource: firefighters, community groups, Scouts and Guides programs and sports teams. Recruiting small teams of people would spread the workload out and make the event more manageable for organizers, Acres said.
But volunteers have to be actively convinced.
“We have to go after them. They’re not going to flock to us,” he said.
Volunteers are needed to help with planning in the months leading up the event, to set up the day before and to help run the festivities on Canada Day. Volunteers are especially needed to help with tear-down and clean up on July 2.
To volunteer or for more information visit www.osgoodevillage.com.
Daneliak said grants from the city of Ottawa will finance a number of improvements throughout the village this spring.
The association has already paid $5,000 for an acryllic coating for the tennis courts at the community centre, which will be applied as soon as possible in the spring.
The money is part of a $16,000 grant through the city’s Rural Community Building Grants program.
The remaining $11,000 will be used for new benches and garbage cans to be installed along the multi-use pathway, as well as kilometre markers.
Daneliak said she also hopes to buy a new community events sign for the village.
Vice-president Jennifer Andrews-West took over as president for a two-year term. Daneliak said she will now focus on improving the village’s Neighbourhood Watch program.
“I’m really happy to revamp that with (community police officer Const. Nicole Gorham),” she said. “We need more people and more signs.”