Diamond Jubilee fund 'over subscribed' with event ideas

A November report by the Diamond Jubilee advisory committee shows the Heritage department was flooded with applications for money to throw community celebrations to mark the Queen's 60th year on the throne.

Heritage department flooded with celebration proposals for Queen Elizabeth's 60th year on throne

Queen Elizabeth receives flowers as she leaves St George's Chapel in Windsor Castle following an Easter Sunday service. Canadian Heritage's fund for celebrations to mark her 60-year reign has been 'over subscribed' with applications from Canadian groups and communities wishing to plan Diamond Jubilee events. (Sang Tan/Associated Press)

Canada seems to have more monarchists looking for a party than the government thought.

A new document shows the Department of Canadian Heritage was flooded with applications for money to throw community celebrations to mark the Queen's 60th year on the throne.

Companies, schools, municipalities and other groups can apply to a $2-million pot for money to host their own Diamond Jubilee parties.

Canadian Heritage announced two windows to apply for funding. The end of October was the deadline for proposals for events to be held between Feb. 4 and Aug. 31. Early next month is the deadline for events to be held between September and December.

But a report by the Diamond Jubilee advisory committee said that by last fall, the department had already received more party pitches than it could pay for.

"Fund over subscribed," said the Nov. 26 report.

The report showed Canadian Heritage received 232 proposals in the first round, of which 180 were eligible for funding. It did not say how many of those eligible proposals would actually be funded. Nor did it give any examples of the celebrations proposed.

Few applications from Quebec

Seventy-eight proposals came from Ontario. Another 50 came from Atlantic Canada and 49 came from British Columbia, Alberta and the Yukon. Thirty-nine came from Saskatchewan, Manitoba, the Northwest Territories and Nunavut. Only 16 came from Quebec.

The Canadian Press obtained the report under the Access to Information Act.

The government has not disclosed which groups received Diamond Jubilee money.

A spokesman for Heritage Minister James Moore said roughly half the funding has so far been allocated. The rest will be disbursed later this year.

"We will support as many groups as possible with the funds available," James Maunder wrote in an email.

It's also possible groups may receive less money than they applied for.

The head of the Monarchist League of Canada attributed the large volume of applications to a renewed interest in the monarchy and the Royal Family.

"A lot of it has to do with the royal wedding of last year," Robert Finch said. "But equally, people have started to really recognize that the Queen herself is worthy of the celebration.

"It's such a rare event, a Diamond Jubilee. In fact, there's only been one other one. That kind of piques people's interest a bit.

"I'm not surprised. I'm so encouraged by it. I knew that Heritage has literally been overwhelmed by these requests. So it's great news for us."

Feds spending $7.5 million

The local events are part of larger Diamond Jubilee celebrations that have already kicked off across Canada.

The government is spending a total of $7.5 million on the festivities. That includes $2 million for the community celebrations and $3.7 million for 60,000 special medals for civic-minded Canadians.

The Governor General awarded the first 60 of those medals in February.

Canadian Heritage has also ordered more than half a million Diamond Jubilee flags, while a Canadian Forces regiment had a brooch encrusted with 60 diamonds made specially for the Queen.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper's Conservatives have unabashedly embraced the monarchy since coming to power. The Tories restored the word 'royal' to the names of the navy and air force and insisted the Queen's picture be prominently displayed in embassies and at Foreign Affairs headquarters.

Handwritten notes from a meeting of the Diamond Jubilee advisory committee show the government plans to give the Queen a face-lift.

The notes say a new portrait of the monarch may be unveiled in early June to coincide with festivities in Britain.