The Recorder and Times published this article on March 16th, 2017.
World’s biggest rubber duck bobbing into Brockville for festival
April 12, 2016
Brockville’s RAILS TO TRAILS Festival is moving full steam ahead
Initial plans for Canada’s sesquicentennial and Railway Tunnel opening celebration August 10-13, 2017 have been approved.
Needless to say, we are very excited to be working on this historic event and honoured to be entrusted with its execution.
Yesterday, March 1st, 2016, our plans for the Rails to Trails 2017 festival were presented at city hall. Enclosed article was published in the Brockville Recorder and Times this morning.
By Ronald Zajac, Recorder and Times
The official opening of Brockville’s revamped railway tunnel will coincide with Canada’s 150th anniversary and be celebrated with a Victorian-themed carnival, complete with a ferris wheel, carousel and side show, if city council agrees to an event proposed for 2017.
But before that happens, members want more information about an ambitious bash expected to cost more than $490,000.
City council’s economic development and planning committee heard the pitch on Tuesday and referred the matter to city staff for a recommendation later this month.
“This is quite unique and I think we should look at it and investigate it further,” said councillor David LeSueur, who also heads the railway tunnel advisory committee.
The railway tunnel has been deemed Canada’s oldest. In 2013, the tunnel earned Brockville a place in the Canadian Railway Hall of Fame, which honours Canadian achievement in the railway industry. Much like the revitalization of the Brock Trail – a part of which is to run through the restored tunnel – the tunnel revitalization project has progressed more rapidly in recent years.
On Tuesday, LeSueur said the tunnel group will likely know within two to four weeks whether the current phase of restoration work can be done in time for Canada’s 150th anniversary in 2017.
The tunnel group enlisted the services of The Works Events Canada, a locally-based company with roots in the Netherlands.
Kim Buckley and Cor Schreurs of The Works made their pitch for the proposed four-day event, dubbed “Rails to Trails,” that would be held August 10-13, 2017.
“The event will be celebrating the grand opening of the tunnel,” said Buckley, adding its theme would centre on the Victorian period when the tunnel was built.
It would take place in Armagh S. Price Park and the Water Street parking lot, and incorporate both the tunnel and the Brock Trail.
It would include a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the tunnel.
Tents set up on site would accommodate the Brock Trail committee and the Railway Museum of Eastern Ontario, which would bring down a jigger visitors could run on a stretch of track.
A vendors’ area would include the usual type of products, but also spots for hobbyists, she said.
Meanwhile, a kayaking and canoeing feature would link the event to the river.
“What we’re proposing for the Water Street site is a carnival,” said Buckley.
The theme of the carnival, which would include a Cirque du Soleil big top and vintage ferris wheel and carousel, would accord with the timing of the railway tunnel opening.
The carnival portion would also include a Victorian “World of Wonders” exhibit and a sideshow titled “Alive on the Inside,” featuring performing curiosities such as a contortionist, a strongman and racier elements for the adults in the evening. Reviews for the show describe it as “a very artsy freak show,”
Organizers also plan to bring in the Ontario 150 Tour Interactive Theatrical Show, a separate event for which Buckley did not have much information Tuesday.
The event would coincide with RibFest and Buckley said The Works has spoken to organizers of that event.
“It makes so much sense that everything happens on that weekend,” she said.
Holding all these events at once will turn the city into a destination for tourists, requiring them to be here more than one day, she said.
Councillor Leigh Bursey wondered about the more “risque, macabre” elements and whether they would lead to “pushback.”
Buckley said the show has not met such resistance elsewhere and would draw from a carnival following.
“We will be tapping into markets that don’t typically get tapped into,” she said.
Essentially, The Works is hoping the city will lead the event and retain the company’s services.
Councillor and committee chairman Phil Deery was more concerned about the financial implications, with the carnival portion alone budgeted at $288,500. He also needed to be convinced the event will help RibFest rather than compete with it.
LeSueur urged council to make a decision soon in order to benefit from Canada 150 grant funding,
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Image by Recorder and Times.