About the Gorge Canada Day Picnic

Saturday July 1, 2017

The first Gorge Canada Day Picnic (GCDP) in 1999 came about through the vision and hard work of a small group of Gorge Tillicum Community Association (GTCA) volunteers. The key ideas were to have a day that Gorge residents could enjoy, traffic-free, along the Waterway and to build community through a popular celebration. We knew the Gorge had long been associated by older Victoria generations with fun and celebration, so we were just continuing a longstanding tradition.

With the support of Saanich municipality to close the road, we went about the job of filling up the 1.7km "stage" with fun, family oriented events. And we were fortunate enough to get it right almost from the beginning — many of the events you see today began in the early years of the GCDP and have maintained their popularity: the Family Parade; the Pancake Breakfast; the Canada Day Market; the Classic Car Show; the kids' games and road hockey; and the Strawberry Tea.

The first year went off without a hitch, but there were lots of open spaces in contrast to the busy and increasingly popular event you see today. One GCDP led to another, and thankfully many of the same team who produced the early Picnics have stayed involved over the years.

While there have been highlights over the years, the real highlight is the safe, secure and joyous event we've created for the growing numbers of residents and friends — now estimated at 10,000 to 12,000 people — who come each July 1st. GCDP still remains a largely volunteer operation but also benefits from significant support from Saanich and our sponsors. As we approach "GCDP 17" it is heartening to see the Picnic Committee growing in strength.

We look forward to another fabulous year of offering a warm welcome to those celebrating Canada Day on the Gorge on Saturday July 1, 2017.

Event News

  • 01 July, 2017 - Wow, what a day! Tons of people, tons of sunshine, tons of food. Happy faces everywhere (well, maybe a few kids tears here and there) and a fantastic celebration here on the Gorge Waterway. Thank-you to all our sponsors and volunteers and neighbourhood!

  • 30 June, 2017 - We are very pleased to welcome Fall Brigade to the main stage at 1pm. They'll be fresh off their prior night performance on the downtown festival stage. Come discover some refreshingly local and exciting music. If you are strolling by the Gorge on Art area between 2pm and 3pm, those fiddle tunes you hear echoing over the water will be coming from Ivonne Hernandez. From the modest tent and low key presentation, you might be forgiven for not knowing this award-winning musician is not to be just walked past!

  • 28 June, 2017 - The Queen and Duchess Kate will both be in attendance. You can see them riding in an Ascot Limo in the parade, and then you have another chacne to hear them on the Main Stage as they officially open the festivities for the day at Kosapsom Park around 10:30am.

  • 26 June, 2017 - Tim Gosley will be performing again in 2017 at the Family Theatre! Tim performed on The Muppet's Fraggle Rock, The Sesame Street Movie Follow that Bird, and was Basil Bear for 9 years on Canadian Sesame Street, along with winning a Gemini award for work on another TV series. Tim works in all kinds of puppets and theatre as well as teaching and giving workshops.

  • 19 June, 2017 - Emily Carr has come back from the grave to celebrate Canada's 150th. She will be painting, reading passages from some of her books. You can sign paper leaves she is bringing, which will eventually be added to the a giant painting she is doing on the day. There may also be a children's project painting table. She will be next to the Craigflower School House beside the Main Stage.

  • 05 June, 2017 - We are excited for the MOST entertainment we've ever presented. Check out the Features & Events Page for the various stage line-ups. The featured headliner on the Main Stage this year is Bijoux du Bayoux. This fantastic "Canajun" band delivers the best Cajun, Zydeco and TexMex sounds north of the 49th!

  • 23 May, 2017 - 2017 will feature a special guest event! The Schoolhouse Market, normally in the field every Saturday beside the old Craigflower Schoolhouse, will be joining the Gorge Canada Day Picnic for this year! Together with our Canada Day Artisan Market, there will be over 100 market vendors to explore.

  • 26 April, 2017 - We are excited to confirm that Coastal Offroad Racing Victoria is attending again this year. This display is a crowd favourite! Watch these club owners race around their radio controlled cars on a track and obstacle course and see their cars whiz and jump! Catch them along Gorge Road near the bottom of Adelaide Street, near the Family Stage and just before the Gorge on Art zone.

  • 06 March, 2017 - Happy Canada 150! Planning for our July 1st bash is well under way. Looking forward to a fantastic 19th Gorge Canada Day Picnic in 2017!

About the GTCA

The Gorge Tillicum Community Association (GTCA) has established itself as a vibrant, proactive community group in south Saanich. We have achieved a great deal and our strength has been attracting great local people who invest their time, energy and skill to help build our community's future.

The Gorge Tillicum Community Association is a voluntary organization that is recognized by Saanich as the representative voice of our community on local issues. We promote a healthy, vibrant community by addressing issues such as environment and parks, traffic and transportation, land use planning and streetscapes, social wellness and community celebration.

We have good working relationships with Saanich Council and municipal staff, as well as with other community agencies. In addition, we also receive the support of several local and regional businesses for the Gorge Canada Day Picnic.

more about us >

How to Get Involved

To get involved as a volunteer, vendor, performer, or sponsor, please read our FAQs.

A Community Event

Event Map

We've plotted event locations, food vendors, and facilities in a Google map so you can use your smarphone or tablet as a guide.
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Download the event poster!

Share the Gorge Canada Day event with your friends, colleagues, and neighbours.
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Download the event programme!

The programme includes a map (event locations, food vendors, facilities, etc.) and complete event schedule. You can also use our online interactive map on your smartphone or tablet.
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