It was called a Sesquicentennial – a big word for a pretty big deal. Throughout 2017, Kelowna residents, along with all Canadians, had the opportunity to mark the 150th anniversary of our country.
The Sesquicentennial provided an opportunity for us to reflect on where we’ve come from, celebrate who we are today and plan for our future. It was a year-long celebration that began Jan. 1, 2017 and ended Dec,31, 2017.
Review the Report to Council for a summary of events and initiatives that took place.
150 for 150 Volunteer Challenge
In January 2017, the Mayor issued a challenge to the community to collectively contribute 150,000 volunteer hours. These hours were tracked through the Do Some Good (formerly Volinspire) platform. This challenge was a huge success seeing over 210,000 hours contributed across the community. Do Some Good will keep the momentum going through continued engagement and celebration of volunteers.
The Sesquicentennial milestone provided an opportunity to shape the future of our city with celebrations, events and projects. To help support non-profit organizations in implementing unique initiatives that would leave a lasting legacy in our community, the City of Kelowna established the Sesquicentennial Grant. The intent of the Sesquicentennial Grant was to make a lasting impact that reflects the rich culture of Canada and Kelowna’s natural attributes.
Ballet Kelowna and the Okanagan Symphony Orchestra teamed up to present Canadiana Suite: A Sesquicentennial Celebration. The unique performance featured Canadian music, arranged for and performed by the Okanagan Symphony Orchestra, and dance choreographed by four renowned Canadian choreographers for Ballet Kelowna’s professional dancers. The performances were augmented by education and outreach programming that use the project’s Canadian themes and music to connect students in the community.
The DragonBoat Club took the lead on having 22 buoys installed from McKinley Beach to Bertram Creek Park. The buoys include a list of the beach accesses along the trail and distances between each. The timing of the project was delayed with the spring floods, but the portion covered by the City grant was completed. Signage will be installed and the official launch will take place in the late spring of 2018.
With community partners such as members of the Sylix community, Sncewips Heritage Museum, the Okanagan Chinese Canadian Association, the Francophone Cultural Centre, Metro Community Church, Kelowna Secondary School and UBCO a multi-sensory exhibit was created. Visitors to the exhibit had a visual and audio experience learning about the people who have shaped our community over the past 150 years. The pieces used in this exhibit will have a permanent home in the museum.
The exhibition celebrated Canada’s 150th anniversary by bringing together significant Canadian works of art from private collections throughout the Kelowna area for visitors to view and enjoy. The selection included remarkable historical Canadian works by artists such as Cornelius Krieghoff, A.Y. Jackson, Emily Carr, Lawren Harris, A.J. Casson, Jack Bush, Gershon Iskowitz, Jack Shadbolt, and Daphne Odjig. A beautiful keepsake book was created as a legacy for this project.
Chamber Music Kelowna showcased national and local talent with indoor and outdoor performances. The project increased Chamber Music Kelowna’s overall exposure in the community and appealed to a broader demographic. Two high profile Canadian Artists, trumpeter Jens Lindemann and pianist Tommy Banks, took part in the performances. A strong partnership with Festivals Kelowna and the potential for a summer music festival are the legacies for this project.
Okanagan College has partnered with Westbank First Nation, Growing Inspired Garden Education and Design and the Central Okanagan Naturalists’ Club to establish a traditional garden on the Okanagan College campus. The project, named na’ʔk’ʷulamən - The things that we do, will reflect the myriad of ways that plants are used in Indigenous culture. The 6,000 square foot garden will be a teaching and learning site for students, campus, Indigenous community and public and will serve as a model for other like gardens in the community.