Morgan Carey, president and CEO of Real Estate Webmasters, is inviting the city and anyone else to support this year’s Victoria Day long weekend celebrations.
Carey and a group of downtown businessmen, including Nanaimo Coun. Jerry Hong, have entered into a joint venture with the Snuneymuxw First Nation and other groups to create Heritage Days, which will replace the former Empire Days celebrations.
To guarantee Heritage Days happen in 2015, Carey has put up $50,000 to finance a parade, fireworks and other events.
“The first thing we dealt with is putting all the negativity of the past behind us. We’re celebrating Nanaimo and everyone’s heritage,” Carey said.
Everyone has a heritage, so the event will celebrate that and Nanaimo, said Carey. He noted that long-standing celebrations, such as Empire Days and Nanaimo Marine Festival, have waned in vitality over the years and he wants to revitalize the downtown celebratory spirit.
Carey, in charge of Heritage Days marketing and fundraising, hopes other contributors will help offset costs. The budget is also higher than previous years.
“We want a great event,” he said. “We want better talent, longer fireworks, more stations, more security, better insurance – all the things that matter and that takes some stepping up, I think.”
Any budget surplus will be held in trust for future Heritage Days and current plans call for the working group to form a permanent society prior to 2016 celebrations. To donate, please take cheques or cash to Rewsters restaurant at 223 Commercial St. where staff will issue receipts.