NORTH Vancouver's popular Canada Day parade is marching off into the sunset after more than 100 years.
The annual parade - which in recent years drew crowds of more than 25,000 - won't be happening this year, because nobody had the time or energy to organize the event.
"It's an extremely labour intensive volunteer job to put on the parade," said City of North Vancouver Mayor Darrell Mussatto. "It's not real surprising to me that people burn out. It's a tremendous amount of work."
The continued existence of the parade has been in doubt for the past several years, with last-minute appeals to volunteers saving the event for the past few celebrations.
Ian Forsyth, director of North Vancouver's Arts Office, said the problem has been "an ongoing concern for about five years now. . . ."
In 2012, two of the driving forces behind the parade announced they were quitting after six years on the job, saying they were tired out by a consistent lack of support. Riet Carter, one of the former organizers, said she felt the parade was too much responsibility for a dwindling group of volunteers.
Mussatto said a few people later considered stepping up to marshal the event but eventually backed out.
The city - which usually gives a grant of $5,000 to support the parade - found out about six weeks ago that nobody had applied for the money this year, he said.
Mussatto said city staff put the word out among local service clubs and organizers of other community events but nobody was prepared to take it on. "They came in at the end of the day and said 'This is too much work.'"
In the past, organizers suggested perhaps the municipality itself should put on the parade. But Mussatto said it's the municipality's role to support those events - not to run them directly. "Should we run Caribbean Days? Should we run Filipino Days?" he said. "If you start doing it for one, you have to do it for all. That's not the role of the municipality."
Forsyth said he's hoping the lack of a parade this year might spur others into volunteering next time. The North Vancouver Canada Day parade has been one of the longest running events of its kind in the Lower Mainland. It began in 1907 and has only missed a couple of years in its history.
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