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Canada day was celebrated in London on July 1 at Trafalgar Square. It is the second largest Canada Day celebration outside of Canada. Organizing an event is an ardent task, and something that requires being multi-dimensional, having patience and persistence. Toonari Post had the prestigious opportunity to interview the dynamic event Director, Chad Molleken from event company, Rainmaker, about his role in bringing Canada Day to life for British public and Canadian expats.
Toonaripost (TP): There are so many events that are taking place across London this summer, what distinguishes Canada Day from other events?
Chad Molleken (CM): This is our 7th annual Canada day in Trafalgar Square, and obviously this has been a great year in terms of celebrations, there is Queens Diamond Jubilee, the Olympics coming up. Canada day is anything and everything about Canada. We have Canadian music, Canadian sports, Canadian food, and it is our day in terms of showcasing our country in Trafalgar Square.
TP: What types of crowds are you expecting today?
CM: Today we are expecting up to 100,000 people. It is for the first time that we are holding this event on Sunday, which means that we’ll have lot more families and kids, which is fantastic. We always hold Canada day on 1st July, regardless of what day of the week it is.
TP: what can visitors expect from the overall program?
CM: I think Canadians are known for their friendliness and their program of entertaining, and being lively and it will just be a great day out for everyone.
TP: Location is obviously an important factor for events, so why did you choose to host Canada Day in Trafalgar Square?
CM: Obviously because Canada House is right on Trafalgar Square, and it is great way for us to showcase ourselves.
TP: London has been hosting Canada for several years now, are you introducing anything new this year?
CM: Well funfair rides for kids, the additions at north tower, pancake breakfast, these are all new editions for this year. So each year we try to add something new.
TP: This year Canada Day has a lot of competition, there is the Euro Cup Final and Wimbledon, is there a plan to encourage people to stay on at Square from 6pm onward?
CM: The Canadian expats that live in London are more into celebrating Canada Day at Trafalgar Square; our attendees are 60% Canadians, 40% British. I think we are going to have a full crowd here tonight right till 10:30 at night, when Lady in Peace finishes her concert.
TP: Showers are forecasted for much of the day today, if showers persist, will there be cancellations of some of the activities today?
CM: We are eternally optimistic in Canada, and it’s going to be 24 degrees [Celsius], with blue skies all day.
TP: Making an International Day a success comes with unique challenges. What are the two challenges you faced this year with Canada Day?
CM: The entire event is supported by our sponsors; in terms of competition we are dealing with other things happening in economy, and these are one of our challenges. We are a community based event, and everyone in the community came together to make this happen.
TP: What do you see as the future of Canada Day in London? Do you plan on making it even bigger, or would you like to keep it on its current scale and focus?
CM: I think being in Trafalgar Square, you can only be so big, its a community event and we think this is going to be our biggest year yet, obviously we just try to make sure its a great day.
TP: Please tell us bit more about the role you play in ensuring that today’s event runs smoothly.
CM: Sure, our company Rainmaker is behind producing the Canada day. We work all year round in liaising with our sponsors and community members and their local authorities, and we make sure its a fun, safe day for everyone to enjoy.
TP: It’s no simple feat to bring together large numbers of people from different pockets of communities in London. What steps did your Marketing and promotion team take to make sure that people were aware of Canada Day?
CM: We do underground campaign, and we use social media such as facebook and twitter to promote the event. We reach out to all communities, businesses, and community groups to get the word out as far as possible. This has been our promotional technique for the last few years.
TP: No event is complete without its volunteers. Could you please tell us about the contribution volunteers have made toward Canada Day?
CM: We have about 100 volunteers helping us to set things up, to move things around, greeting people and making sure everyone knows where they are going and having a great time. They are an important part of the day.
TP: What are you most looking forward to tonight?
CM: I always look forward to the final ‘O Canada’ at the end of the day, and when I look at the crowd there are 10,000, 20,000 Canadians singing ‘O Canada’ and waving Canadian flags in the background, its a pretty magical moment.
TP: We often focus so much on the day, that we forget people who are driving force behind bringing such events to us. This is indeed a very difficult job, and you have done well. Do you have any advice for new event planners, any hints and tips?
CM: I think the events place is a very difficult one, and its all about bringing your team together with the communication being a key. And just making sure you know what you want at end of the day.
We thank Chad Molleken for his generous time, and we would like to thank Chandel Diebold, communications manager at Rainmaker Global Business Event for her invaluable cooperation.