Canada Day celebrations in Port Moody will be going online because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Tuesday, council’s committee of the whole directed staff to begin planning for the July 1 virtual event which could include pre-recorded concerts by local musicians, family art activities and a community art project. It will take the place of the usual festivities at Rocky Point Park that were cancelled by the city last month.
Port Moody’s manager of cultural services, Devin Jain, told councillors the celebration “will be on a smaller scale, with a modest budget” of about $1,000. The pre-recorded elements would be available on-demand on the city’s website throughout the day so families could spend time outdoors if the weather is nice and then drop in on the virtual event as it suits their schedule.
Jain said the musical performances would be produced and recorded by the musicians themselves to minimize gathering in the same physical space.
He said an idea for the community art project could involve challenging families to gather red and white items in their home to be grouped together in a photo. The photo would then become an element in a larger online composition by the city’s resident artist, Sarah Graham. Once complete, it would be viewed online where viewers could zoom in and pick out the individual photographs that were contributed.
Coun. Zoe Royer said the virtual celebration will be a way to “keep our community engaged, united, and on a shoestring budget.”
Coun. Amy Lubik said, based on her own online experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic, “it’s amazing how connected you feel even through the computer.”
The decision to move Canada Day celebrations online follows a similar move by the city of Coquitlam, an event which usually draw a crowd of 70,000 people but which will be moved fully online this year to prevent the transmission of COVID-19.
Other summer events in Port Moody that have been cancelled include Golden Spike Days, RibFest and Car Free Day. Jain said it hasn't yet been determined if any other events might be able to transition to online while the public health emergency continues.