City plans 150th bash

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$422,000 to get history project, public art

St. Albert staffers want your help to plan the city’s $422,000 celebration of Canada’s sesquicentennial.

City council approved without debate Monday plans to spend up to $422,000 from the city’s stabilization reserve to celebrate Canada’s 150th anniversary next year.

Canada was officially established as a country on July 1, 1867.

The federal government is offering communities cash to celebrate the 150th through its Canada 150 Fund, said Monique St. Louis, director of Build St. Albert in an interview. The city plans to apply for a $211,000 grant from this fund to reduce the amount of money it takes out of the stabilization reserve, but won’t know if the grant is approved until late this year, which would be too late to start planning the party.

“We want to share with the community and share information about Canada’s 150th and promote the aspects of the country within St. Albert.”

The grant will fund purchases and organizers for the celebration, a report to council said.

The plan has four main parts, St. Louis said.

The first is the Canada’s 150 Stories project, where throughout the year organizers will collect 150 stories from city residents at community events about their memories of St. Albert and hopes for the future. These would come in a variety of forms, including video and audio, and be shared online.

The second is a massive block party similar to the giant riverside picnic the city held to celebrate its sesquicentennial in 2011, St. Louis said. Staffers haven’t picked a time or location yet, but say everyone will be invited.

The third and most expensive part is a $200,000 public art project, half of which will come from the grant and half from the 2017 budget. They’re not sure what it will look like yet, but the intent is for the piece to celebrate the past, present and future of Canada, St. Louis said. A citizen’s panel will help choose the artist, and the artist’s work on the piece will be documented on social media. The piece should be unveiled at the StArts Fest in September 2017.

Event organizers will also distribute about $12,000 of trees at community events throughout the year.

St. Louis said her staffers would work with community groups to develop the celebration plans over the summer and report back to council this fall.

The city has already received $297,650 from the Canada 150 Infrastructure Program to refurbish Progress Hall in the Arden Theatre and replace a playground on Erin Ridge Drive, a report to council said. It also got $63,150 to replace the playground at Rivercrest, but will have to return that as that replacement would interfere with work on the Project 9 sewer line (which runs past the playground).

Anyone interested in the 150th project should call St. Louis at 780-459-1503.

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Kevin Ma

Kevin Ma joined the St. Albert Gazette in 2006. He writes about Sturgeon County, education, the environment, agriculture, science and aboriginal affairs. He also contributes features, photographs and video.