On May 12, 2018, the Sheraton Vancouver Wall Centre will be host to the 73rd annual British Columbia Military Gala.
The gala started in 1946, and it was a victory celebration to mark the end of the Second World War and return of the soldiers, sailors, and airmen. When they returned home, however, their little girls had grown up while they were away, so it was decided the Gala would include the daughters in the celebration as debutantes.
“It’s obviously evolved from that, but at the time, even when I joined 23 years ago, there was still debutantes, when Officers and Senior NCOs, introduced their daughters to society,” said LCol Cameron McLean, gala chairperson. “That’s now gone by the wayside, and now it’s a gala to celebrate the Canadian Forces within the community.”
This year, LCol McLean said the Gala’s focusing on the diversity of the Canadian Forces in the community, part of what’s called Strengthening the Army Reserve.
“We swore to protect Canada, and we want to represent all Canadians. That’s why to have a culture and diversity and inclusivity is critical because it’s the long-term viability of the Canadian Forces,” he added.
Sometimes the organization may raise additional funds at the end of the Gala and this year, if they have the additional fund, they will donate to Soldier Wellness. LCol McLean said it may be possible with the help of this year’s major supporter, the Bank of Montreal.
“This allows us to also put on an amazing show. It’s not just a dinner, it’s the bands, the audio-visual, the music, the dancing. It’s an entire evening of dinner and show relating to military culture and tradition,” McLean added.
McLean said this year’s attendance will be 365 people.