The annual Canada Day event in Ottawa will take place virtually for the second year in a row amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the government department responsible for the annual event confirmed on Friday.
In typical years, on July 1st, crowds of Canadians and tourists flood Parliament Hill for performances and special guests in the country’s capital.
In addition to the ongoing restoration work on Parliament’s center block, which has restricted access to the lawn, the COVID-19 pandemic has again required that all celebrations take place largely in the comfortable homes of Canadians.
“For the second year in a row, given the current and ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the government’s priority to ensure the safety of Canadians, Canada Day will bring all Canadians together and enable them to share their national pride and honor for one another virtual environment, ”reads a Canadian Heritage press release.
While the full lineup of virtual events is pending, Canadian Heritage said Friday that an evening event called Lights on Canada Day will include artists like singer Jann Arden with presenters Jully Black and Véronic DiCaire.
The Ontario government’s three-tier reopening plan does not allow large outdoor events until the final stage of the framework, when 70-80 percent of residents have been vaccinated with one dose and 25 percent have received both doses.
Ottawa and most other areas of the province stepped into the first step of reopening on Friday, allowing for limited reopenings and outdoor gatherings of up to 10 people. The earliest time for the start of the second phase of the reopening would be three weeks later on July 2nd, according to Ontario’s framework.
Canadian Heritage indicated that virtual programming will be used to address calls to renew the reconciliation efforts with indigenous peoples sparked by the recent discovery of the remains of 215 children in an unmarked burial site in a Kamloops dormitory.
“Canada Day gives us the space to have a truthful, reconciling and inclusive dialogue, to strengthen the connections that bind us and to look to the future of our country with optimism while acknowledging the past,” said the department.
Victoria, BC, said this week that it will cancel the city’s scheduled Canada Day virtual event in light of the discovery and replace it with a broadcast later this summer, in partnership with local First Nations groups.
Northern Ontario’s Keewaywin First Nation announced on Friday that it would recognize Canada Day as “day of mourning” until the federal government commits to investigating all dormitory locations.