Canby Planning to Celebrate Historic 150th Anniversary in Fine Fashion this Year

Damn, Canby. You look good for 150.

Our little town was officially surveyed, platted (or laid out, with blocks and streets and such) and named “Canby” in 1870, which makes this year our sesquicentennial anniversary.

There’s a lot planned, with — predictably — the Canby Heritage and Landmark Commission leading the charge.

Canby Economic Development Director Jamie Stickel said the city, working with the HLC, have developed preliminary plans for integrating the celebration into the city’s packed agenda of spring and summer events, kicking off the fun and festivities in March and ending with a time capsule burial ceremony at the end of Canby’s Big Weekend in August 2020.

Carol Palmer, HLC member and project lead for the city’s 150th celebration, shared some of her initial thoughts with the city council at their last meeting.

Much of the early planning has been inspired by looking back at what the city did back in 1970, when they celebrated their centennial. It included a drafting of a commemorative emblem by longtime local resident and historian Gentry Cutsforth, which was later adapted into the city seal that is still used today.

The centennial emblem and city seal both contain the motto that Gentry originally suggested: “Home of the Good Earth.” Back when the city turned 100, they were slapping that logo on everything, according to Carol.

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The centennial celebration included numerous ceremonies, “at least two parades,” the crowning of a queen and court, presentation of keys to the city. Each class at Canby Grade School designed their own “city seal” that was incorporated into the festivities.

Swan Island Dahlia Farm developed their own commemorative bloom to mark the occasion. There was even a visit by then-Governor Tom McCall.

One event that’s already been announced is happening at the Canby Pioneer Chapel at 7 p.m. Monday, Jan. 27. Greg Leo, a third-generation Oregonian, local historian and speaker, will present on “Canby’s 150th Anniversary,” highlighting milestones from the city’s past with compelling photos, entertaining stories and fun facts.

An avid reader of history and advocate of heritage programs, Greg has served as president of Friends of Historic Champoeg and is the current vice president of Friends of Historic Butteville. He is a frequent speaker on Oregon history topics with local heritage organizations, including Sons and Daughters of Oregon Pioneers, Daughters of the American Revolution, Champoeg State Heritage Area, Newberg Area Historical Society, and the Yamhill and Marion County sesquicentennial celebrations.

Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for children and students. You can find them online here.

With how the city has grown and everything we’ve accomplished over the past 150 years, it certainly promises to be quite the party. We’ll be doing some special, historical coverage as well, right here on the Canby Now Podcast. Stay tuned.

Hear our own producer Tyler Clawson try to say “sesquicentennial” in this week’s episode at about the 4:21 mark:

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