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Canada Day party goes virtual amid COVID-19 restrictions

No live fireworks, no star-studded concert on Parliament Hill, and no crowds of tourists: Canada's official birthday celebrations on Wednesday for the first time ever will be completely online. Ottawa is usually home to the country's largest Canada Day party, with tens of thousands of foreign and domestic tourists descending on the capital to celebrate with live music and family fun, capped off with a dazzling fireworks show.

Reuters | Ottawa | Updated: 01-07-2020 17:11 IST | Created: 01-07-2020 16:31 IST
Canada Day party goes virtual amid COVID-19 restrictions
Representative Image Image Credit: ANI

No live fireworks, no star-studded concert on Parliament Hill, and no crowds of tourists: Canada's official birthday celebrations on Wednesday for the first time ever will be completely online.

Ottawa is usually home to the country's largest Canada Day party, with tens of thousands of foreign and domestic tourists descending on the capital to celebrate with live music and family fun, capped off with a dazzling fireworks show. But in-person festivities have been canceled amid COVID-19 restrictions, with organizers instead offering an online show featuring Canadian pop stars including Alanis Morissette and Avril Lavigne, along with other artists.

The night will end with Canadians holding their mobile devices to the sky to watch a virtual fireworks show. "Canada Day won't look like previous Canada Days, but there are fun ways to get out and celebrate," said Jantine Van Kregten, director of communications for Tourism Ottawa.

Bike paths and beaches have opened in many regions, and Canadians are encouraged to have barbecues within their social bubbles and even a drink on a restaurant patio, while being mindful of social distancing guidelines, Van Kristen said. "Everybody wants to do this in a safe way, so we can get back to a more regular way of life sooner rather than later," she said.

Cities across the country are adding their own flair to online Canada Day, from social media pancake breakfasts and live-stream magic shows to virtual dog parades and fun runs. But Canada Day is facing push back from Indigenous groups, which have organized #CancelCanadaDay marches across the country and will host an online counter-celebration on Wednesday featuring indigenous artists and activists.

"We will not celebrate stolen Indigenous land and stolen Indigenous lives," organizers wrote on the Idle No More website.


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