Canada Day 2020 will be one of the most unusual celebrations ever held to mark the nation’s birthday.
Minister of Canadian Heritage Steven Guilbeault said back in April that in light of the COVID pandemic, “our government has decided to celebrate Canada Day differently this year, in a way that will allow us to come together virtually to share our pride in being Canadian.”
On the Sunshine Coast, the biggest Canada Day event will still be in Sechelt and it will combine the virtual approach with new twists on the traditional events to allow Coasters to take part without leaving home.
Instead of one big parade, there will be three “drive-by” parades each taking place in a different neighbourhood, starting with a 10 a.m. drive through West Sechelt and The Shores, followed by one that will go through ts'uḵw'um, Davis Bay and Selma Park as well as the main shíshálh Nation lands starting at 10:50 a.m.
The final parade, through Tuwanek, East Porpoise Bay and Bayview, starts 11:40 a.m.
People who don’t live in Sechelt can watch the parades on Eastlink Community TV.
Route details and registration information for people who want to participate in the parades are online at: www.sechelt.ca/Canada-Day
The Canada Day events downtown and in Hackett Park that typically draw thousands will be replaced by street performers strolling the waterfront paths in Davis Bay and downtown Sechelt between 1 and 4:30 p.m.
Sechelt is also going to release Sechelt, Stronger Together, a video tribute to Sechelt’s essential workers, July 1, via its YouTube channel www.youtube.com/user/SecheltMedia
“Featuring over a dozen local musicians, this heartwarming video is our way of saying ‘thank you’ to all of the workers who keep our community healthy and safe,” the district said on its website.
Canada Day will wrap up just after the 7 p.m. salute to health-care workers with an online shíshálh prayer and welcome song by Angeline Valerie Joe and kwayimin Andy Johnson, followed by a bilingual version of O Canada performed by local music teacher Sara Douglas.
Organizers are hoping residents will sing along from their windows, back decks, and front yards.
Gibsons, which typically marks Canada Day with a small event and a cake-cutting ceremony at Winegarden Park, has decided not to hold any events this year. There are no events planned in Pender Harbour either.
In lieu of the usual big concert and fireworks on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, the federal government is holding two online shows with hosts Serena Ryder and Pierre-Yves Lord.
The second show will end with a montage of the best Canada Day fireworks from past years.
Canadian Heritage has also created on online “celebration kit” to help people mark this very unusual Canada Day.