by Tristan Turner
Morinville News Correspondent
Murray Knight of the Morinville Historical and Cultural Society has given his last report to Council on the annual Canada Day celebrations operated by the society. Knight has been one of the key figures in organizing the event for many years, planning the festivities, requesting grant money, and being there every year to celebrate with the community.
Knight summarized this year’s celebration, the 150th year since the signing of the British North America Act, as having been a great success, citing great attendance and positive feedback to the fireworks and other events. There was a small cost overage this year, at $895.52, largely due to a decision to add a pipe and drum band celebration is St. Jean Baptiste Park. Council unanimously decided to pay the cost overage, bringing their contribution to $13,395.52. In past years, the group has returned surpluses to the Town. For several years, the society has returned surplus money to the town.
Knight noted that the event is growing every year, and in the future, the Town should expect to pay around $15,000 a year.
Knight explained the society would no longer be operating the event on behalf of the Town due to Murray’s and the society’s board increasing age, acknowledging that it would no longer be possible for them to put in all the work required for the event, particularly with recent health concerns. The society has operated Canada Day since 2011.
Knight was emotional while he shared the news with Council about his and the group’s departure from operating the program, saying that out of his 70 years alive he has dedicated 50 years to his volunteerism and love of community.
Mayor Holmes was quick to offer praise. “Murray, I can’t say how appreciative [we are] for the dedication you put towards [Canada Day], and the fact that you revived such an amazing event to become such a focal point of the year,” she said. “It’s one of the highlights of this community, and you should be so proud. And taking the Historical society out of the mix does not take you out of the mix. So I anticipate that you will be there with the new Mayor to order around all the stuff they do that day…”
Council thanked Murray for his years of service and gave him a standing ovation.