Cranbrook may not have Canada Day celebrations this year.
Sunrise Rotary notified the City of Cranbrook Leisure Services in December that it could no longer take on organizing the annual event.
In recent years, the Canada Day party was held at Moir Park. There was live entertainment, vendors, and a giant birthday cake prepared by the Sam Steele youth ambassadors. The evening was capped off by a spectacular fireworks display.
But the future of the celebration is up in the air after Cranbrook’s Sunrise Rotary Club decided not to plan the event this year.
“The decision wasn’t taken lightly. I’ve been the main organizer on it for the past three years and it’s a great event,” said Frank Vanden Broek, past president of Sunrise Rotary.
Planning for Canada Day involves applying for several grants, Vanden Broek explained. Grants usually come from the City of Cranbrook, Columbia Basin Trust, and the federal Canadian Heritage – Celebrate Canada fund.
But Vanden Broek said some of that allocation doesn’t come through until the last minute.
“Some of the grants, we don’t know for sure whether we have received them or how much we have received until June,” he said.
“So that has caused me a lot of sleepless nights over the past few years. If the grant didn’t come through, our Rotary Club would be on the hook for it.”
The fireworks alone, Vanden Broek explained, cost $8,000 last year.
“It’s just that funding hanging out there has been a nagging issue,” he said.
“We commit to musicians and to a stage and tent rentals – all this stuff has to be lined up ahead of time.”
Vanden Broek said after hearing that Sunrise Rotary was bowing out, the City’s Leisure Services department offered to underwrite the outstanding grants. But still, Rotary’s time was up.
“Unfortunately, we’ve moved on and we’ve got a couple of other projects that we are looking at,” said Vanden Broek.
If you represent a community group interested in taking over the Canada Day organization, please contact Leisure Services at 250-489-0220.