By Ron Giofu
Canada’s 150th birthday is coming next year and the town of Amherstburg hopes to have a celebration here.
The town agreed to apply for funding under the Canada 150 grant program to stage an event in Amherstburg in 2017. Manager of tourism and culture Anne Rota told council in a report the September 2017 festival would be similar to the Roots to Boots Festival, held in 2012 as a bicentennial celebration of the War of 1812.
“This is more or less a heritage event,” said Rota.
Rota added that “some legacy components, school participation, citizen’s recognition of achievement, garden projects and the creation of learning materials will be explored as part of the grant. The main areas of the festival and activities would include local heritage sites, Toddy Jones Park, the King’s Navy Yard Park and the downtown core.”
A preliminary estimate given by Rota is that it would cost $50,000 to stage a two-day event. Without Canada 150 funding, the event will not be possible, she said. That amount is what the town is pursuing from the federal government through the grant program.
“The Canada 150 Fund requires no matching funds. The grant monetary allocation is not capped at any specific amount. The amount requested from the grant will depend on eligible costs,” Rota stated in her report.
Rota said that in-kind sponsorships from businesses and participants would be pursued. She told council she currently envisions that existing restaurants would take care of food sales.
“Amherstburg is well recognized throughout the region as a premier, heritage tourism destination. Through verbal and e-mail requests, retailers and citizens have asked repeatedly for this category of an event that compliments the town of Amherstburg and brings large numbers of shoppers and history enthusiasts to the community,” Rota’s report added.