Del-Ko-Brydge Canada Day Celebrations History

The Del-Ko-Brydge Canada Day Celebrations came about in 1982 when Robert (Bob) Doyle of the East London Optimist Club East London Optimists
organized a Committee for the London and Middlesex Area week long series of events to celebrate Canada's 115th year since confederation. Considerable funding was provided through the Government of Canada to hold events at 9 locations, including Glencoe, Parkhill, Lucan, Dorchester and Mount Brydges as well as four areas of the City of London.

The Optimist Club of Mount Brydges was asked to organize the events in the Delaware, Komoka and Mount Brydges area. Joe Reily, President of the Mt Brydges Optimist Club and Dick VanZanden, President of the Komoka-Kilworth Optimist Club were the first organizers for our area. That first year, 1982, the main events and attractions were held on July 1st at the Mount Brydges Park and Arena with fireworks at the baseball diamond. A free pancake breakfast and a large 4' x 8' Canada Birthday cake were some of the main attraction, with well over a thousand persons being served. Live bands performed throughout the day. As these initial celebrations were held over several days the soap box derby races for children were held on Kilworth Park Drive in Kilworth on the following Saturday.

It was agreed that the 1983 celebrations should alternate to Komoka-Kilworth and that more local organizations should be asked to participate such as the Women's Institutes, Legions, other service clubs and church groups and that also led to include a parade. The majority of the events were at the Komoka Community Centre on July 1st, with the soap box derby races again on Kilworth Park Drive in Kilworth on a separate day. The free pancake breakfast, live bands, sports events and fireworks continued and were supplemented by ongoing entertainment and food and refreshments during the day. Again large crowds attended for the pancake breakfast and fireworks.

As these first two local community celebrations were a great success it was decided to include Delaware as well and the Tri-Township Canada Day Celebrations Committee became a reality in 1984. The Delaware Lions Club was asked to join the celebrations' committee and conduct the pancake breakfast at the Delaware Community Centre as they were most familiar with the facilities there.

There was now a full circle of locations to hold the Canada Day Celebrations between Delaware in Delaware Township, Komoka-Kilworth in Lobo Township, and Mount Brydges in Caradoc Township. The three villages continued the rotation as the Tri-Township Canada Day Celebrations until 1998. In 1998 with the amalgamations of Delaware and Lobo Townships into Middlesex Centre Township, and Caradoc Township amalgamating with the Town of Strathroy the local committee changed the name to Del-Ko-Brydge Canada Day Celebrations.

Over the years participating groups and events were added and changed. A key addition (in 1987?) was the hosting of a local Talent Search contest which was to select participants to the Rise2Fame Youth Search held at the Western Fair in London. Patsy Faulds initiated this event and has continued in this role ever since.

Over time the amount of funding provided by the Federal Government decreased and local funding contributions were more relied upon. Bob Doyle's committee continued with some area wide fundraising for a while to help the initial nine area organizations but again over time most of these organizations stopped hosting their Canada Day celebrations. When it was time to disband his committee Bob Doyle approached the Del-Ko-Brydge group to give them the balance of funds they had on the condition it be used to continue with a free pancake breakfast as long as the funds were available. While those funds ran out many years ago, the Del-Ko-Brydge Canada Day Committee has continued with the tradition of a free pancake breakfast for all.

To recognize Bob Doyle for his many years of commitment to our area's Canada Day Celebrations the Del-Ko-Brydge Canada Day Committee honoured Bob with a special presentation at the 2006 celebrations in Mount Brydges. Bob finally succumbed to his weakening health later that year.

HomeClick HERE for HOME page