Planning a Can/Am Event, Canada or Provincial Day?

Fall 2003 CSANews Issue 48  |  Posted date : Apr 25, 2007.Back to list

I'm sure that most of you who are involved in the planning of social events during your stay in the sunbelt are now busy gathering your Canada souvenirs and other items to be used as hand-outs and prizes at your event. I'm often asked for suggestions as to how these 'free' items can be obtained - here are a few!

Let's start by having you contact the marketing/advertising or public relations department of companies who are big-time promoters, such as the breweries, liquor distillers, pharmaceutical, food, etc. First, you have to get by the 'gatekeeper' (sometimes known as the receptionist or secretary) and explain to she/he what you're doing and how important it is to their customers. Put a strong emphasis on the fact that it's Canadians who are out of Canada for an extended stay whom they will be reaching and that this is an excellent way to keep in touch with them. After all, what guarantee does the company have that these consumers will use their product or service when they return to Canada? And find out if their products are available in the U.S. - if they are, do Canadians know this?

A good example of a company which takes advantage of this kind of promotion is Dare Foods, the cracker and cookie people from Kitchener, Ontario. Actually, they have two good reasons for keeping in touch. Two years ago, they purchased a cracker company in Spartanburg, South Carolina and now produce several of their products there for American consumption. So, by participating in our Snowbird Extravaganza in Lakeland, Florida and providing products to me for special events, they reach a sizable market of both American and Canadian consumers in Florida - smart, eh?

If you're looking for Canadian flags and lapel pins, I suggest that you contact Canadian Heritage. This department of the government is responsible for national policies and programs that promote Canadian content and participation to strengthen connections among Canadians. They generally provide six-inch, paper flags and small plastic pins. Contact them at Canadian Heritage, Identity Directorate, room 90, 7th Floor, 15 Eddy Street, Ottawa/Hull, ON K1A 0M5, phone (819) 997-0055. If you're looking for other ideas and information for a Canada Day event, go to www.canadianheritage.gc.ca. Spend some time at this site by visiting the various departments; I'm sure that you'll find something of value for your special day.

Another good source is the local offices of your MP and MPP. They are generally receptive to requests of this kind (or they should be) and can provide pins and other items symbolic of your province. Some of the provinces which celebrate a special day, such as Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia, get good support from their respective governments.

While I'm on the subject of special days, I'm not aware of a special Ontario Day, at least not in Florida, so the folks who organize the Sudbury (Ontario) Picnic have changed the name to Snowbirds of Northern Ontario Picnic and would like to extend an invitation to all Canadians to join them at 11:00 a.m. on Friday, March 19, 2004 at Fort Desoto Park in St. Petersburg, Florida. For more information about this picnic, call Rita or Bernie Chiasson in Ontario at 705-675-5768, or in Florida at 863-669-9733.

One of the best support programs for helping you celebrate a special day, especially a combined Canadian/American event, is to have the 11x17-inch, dinner table place-mats provided by Medipac International and the CSA. The place-mats are very colourful and contain the words to "O Canada" and "The Star Spangled Banner" in large print. They also have the crossed (friendship) flags of both countries. Last year, we provided more than 100,000 place-mats. They are available FREE (starting in November) in quantities of 20 to 400 and are delivered by mail to any address in the U.S. and Canada. For yours, call me toll-free at my office in Auburndale, Florida, 1-877-633-4722.

Have a safe trip south and remember to bring your passports!