As many of my blog readers are aware, I was heavily involved in Milton’s 150th Anniversary Celebrations for 2007. It was an amazing time in my life as I got to learn more about our town and its rich history and we got to celebrate the town and the people who made it what it is today.
I can tell you from personal experience that a lot of work goes into planning these events. It started back in 2005 during a selection process where a number of Miltonians signed up to volunteer their time and efforts. We first met with the council committee in charge of organizing the team and after what seemed to be a very grueling interview process, I along with a number of others were chosen to head the master committee.
At our first meeting I was appointed the chair of the committee along with Karin Muller and other volunteers who represented the Town of Milton, Mayor Gord Krantz, Lorrie Ferrante, Janet Davidson and council member Cindy Lunau. We also had members of the Milton Historical Society come on board which included Bruce Carlin. It was back then where we came up with the idea for our core events to mark the amazing achievement of 150 years.
The committee came up with 4 main events to be held during the 2007 year which included a Winter Fun Fair at the Thompson arena, a summertime street party, Canada Day celebrations and the finale of the Amazing Race.
Part way during the spring of 2006 I had to step down as Chair of the committee due to some increased responsibilities at my employer, as well as the fact I had launched my municipal campaign for town council in Ward One (which has been outlined here in the blog). At that point in my life, time was very limited and with the celebration plans underway, I didnt want anything to slip through the cracks. Karin Muller stepped in as chair and along with her hard work and dedication she continued the efforts that were started and brought the celebrations to a reality. I of course stayed on as a member of the master committee and with the rest of the group we came up with a year full of highlights.
Some of the highlights for me include the Canada Day Celebrations where we had created the Milton Walk of Fame. During our several meetings in 2005 and 2006 we wanted something memorable to come from this committee and the idea of honouring the people who made an impact on our town, our province and our country was perfect. With the Town Hall being expanded to include a more modern facility while maintaining its roots, we devised a walk of fame that would bridge the new part of town hall with the older part.
The deliberations for the first inductees to the Walk of Fame were very long as the number of people who we felt made that kind of an impact on Milton were many. Even the most knowledgeable people in town didn’t realize a number of people who had roots in Milton who were a big part of our culture.
From artists like Albert Casson , to high profile members of the media like Susan Delacourt and Ernie “Mr Dressup” Coombs, to political leaders like Senator Betty Kennedy, to many noteable names in town like Jim Dills, Chris Hadfield, PL Robertson and professional athletes like Tiger Jeet and Tiger Ali Singh, Bruce Hood, John Toneli, Leon Stickle and others , the names were many.
On a beautiful Canada Day in 2007 hundreds of Mitonians showed up the the fairgrounds and watched as each inductee was introduced and given the honour of being the first people to grace the Walk of Fame. The speeches were emotional, funny and thought provoking but the main theme of all of them was that they were incredibly proud and honoured for this achievement.
Out of all the events that we organized from the ground up, this to me was the most gratifying. There were other events of course.
The summertime street party in June that brought out thousands to the downtown core of Milton with games, events, fun times, music and most importantly the opportunity to celebrate this amazing town of Milton and its people. The weather was perfect and many people called and emailed the town to find out if this was going to be a regular event.
This past budget the Town of Milton allocated funds to preparing for this summers street party, so stay tuned to www.milton.ca for more information on that event.
Another great time was the Winter Fun Fair where many people braved the sub zero temperatures to join us for a family skate at the Thompson area. We were joined by the legendary NHL hockey player Johnny Bower and the Milton Ice Hawks team had a very brief and very cold game outside as well. Kids were there to enjoy the games and activities in the warmer area and lined up to get their hockey sticks signed by members of the Ice Hawks and Johnny Bower. We knew then that this was going to be a great year.
And it was. The final event of the year was the Amazing Race where many teams registered and showed their town spirit in an event that would take them all around downtown Milton. The teams were, forgive the pun, amazing and very creative. This event was organized by Karin Muller who replaced her dining room furniture and decor with organizational charts and paper to make sure the event went off without a hitch. There were untold numbers of hours put into that event and Karin did an incredible job.
I say all of this because on April 5th at the Granite Ridge Golf Club, the Milton Chamber of Commerce Community Awards Gala will be honouring Miltons volunteers and businesses in one night. In the coveted Presidents Award, 3 integral members of the committee will be honoured. Karin Muller and Bruce Carlin from the Milton Historical Society will receive the 2007 Presidents Award for their leadership on the 150th Master Committee.
Karin “took the ball” as the old saying goes and ran with it to help create an incredible celebration to mark a very significant part of Miltons history. They deserve it for all their hard work. Congratulations!