Salmon Festival touted for Canada’s 150th birthday

Juan de Fuca Salmon Restoration Society backing plan that's expected to include entire community

Juan de Fuca Salmon Restoration Society is launching a major festival in Sooke to celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday next year.

And it’s all about salmon.

The Salmon Festival will run over the course of several months and encompass many activities from a banner contest and parade to possibly a competition for the best smoked salmon.

“Our major purpose is to draw people together for a common goal, working in fellowship towards promotion of both knowledge of salmon and our pride in the history of Sooke and the history of Canada,” said Elida Peers, spokesperson for the Juan de Fuca Salmon Restoration Society.

“We have many events planned, and will be working towards bringing them to fruition as a community of caring people.”

The society is in the process of applying to the Canada 150 Fund, a commemorative grant program under Canadian Heritage, to help fund the program.

Other community groups are also expected to jump onboard with activities.

One plan is to establish a competition for artists to submit designs for a Pacific salmon street banner. Judges will pick four designs that would be displayed throughout Sooke.

“We hope that a parade will be developed, that shops will be decorated, and much more. There are so many exciting things we can do [to extend] the Salmon Festival over a period of time,” Peers said.

One popular suggestion, Peers told District of Sooke council on Monday night, is to host an annual competition for the best smoked salmon.

“With the number of smoked salmon experts in our widespread region, we don’t think any individual judge would be brave enough to choose the best sample, so we’re suggesting a taste-off, with votes being cast by those who participate in the judging,” Peers said.

Also in 2017, the Juan de Fuca Salmon Restoration Society will likely return to council   to ask that Sooke be designated the Smoked Salmon Capital of Canada.

Council backed the society’s plans for the Salmon Festival in an unanimous vote.