Three parades provided home delivery in Sechelt for Canada Day.
Despite public health restrictions in effect due to COVID-19, the District of Sechelt preserved its reputation as the Sunshine Coast’s nexus of July 1 festivities with three “drive-by” parades in West Sechelt and the Shores, Ts’ukw’um, Davis Bay and Selma Park, and Tuwanek, East Porpoise Bay and Bayview.
Festivities met provincial health guidelines for events taking place during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the district. Mayor Darnelda Siegers told Coast Reporter her biggest concern wasn’t traffic or health, but “losing stuff” like the Canada flags she’d stuck to her car. “I’m hoping people actually enjoy it … and kind of come together in a socially distanced way,” she said.
Kindergarten student Emilie-May, who watched from Davis Bay with her family, said the drive-by was “so good,” before nailing the two most noticeable changes: “Last year we were on a different road, that’s for sure. And there [were] way more people than this.”
Modest floats, sirens and honks filled residential neighbourhoods. Laughter punctuated the din as a few regular cars inadvertently joined, waving their hands out the window all the same. Organizers estimated 45 official registrants. “It doesn’t get much more small town than this,” said one resident.
In West Sechelt, families and seniors crowded in driveways to marvel at the first-ever Canada Day parade on Jasper Road. “This is kind of really neat,” said one resident, adding it was the first time neighbours socialized – at a distance – since pandemic restrictions took effect in March.
For those who didn’t get a drive-by, Eastlink Community TV broadcast the morning parades that evening.
Also released July 1 was a video tribute to Sechelt’s essential workers, and a welcome and storytelling from members of shíshálh Nation, both of which can be found at the district’s YouTube page: www.youtube.com/user/SecheltMedia
Another inversion came by way of street performances. Normally, thousands congregate at Hackett Park following the parade for live musical performances, games, food and vendors. This year, performers ambled down the Davis Bay waterfront and the boulevard walkway in Sechelt.
Celebrations were scheduled to cap off in the evening – online – through an O Canada singalong, shíshálh prayer and song, following the usual 7 p.m. salute to health-care workers.
Neither Gibsons nor Pender Harbour held formal events this year, though a group of kayakers and canoeists did form a small flotilla in Gibsons Harbour, waving flags and singing.
– With files from Sean Eckford