Some ways to celebrate Canada Day this year on Vancouver Island

Get ready to party — virtually — as the events, festivals and fireworks usually experienced in person on Canada Day go online and on TV.

The COVID-19 pandemic and the need for social distancing has led to cancellation of all the usual community events in Victoria and across the country. There will be online events instead.

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The federal government is hosting daytime and evening events with live entertainment by Canadian artists, followed by fireworks.

During the day, join Serena Ryder and Pierre-Yves Lord on a trip to meet artists from Yellowknife, Calgary, Winnipeg, Sudbury, Montréal, Québec City and Moncton.

The evening show features Ryder and Lord hosting original artistic collaborations from all over the country with stops in Halifax, Toronto and Vancouver. Artists include Alanis Morissette, Avril Lavigne and Sarah McLachlan.

The day ends with a “greatest hits” montage of previous fireworks over Parliament Hill.

The daytime show runs 1 to 2 p.m. Wednesday, while the evening show starts at 8 p.m., followed by the fireworks at 10 p.m. The program can be found on CBC and Radio-Canada as well as on CPAC and Canadian Heritage’s digital platforms. Go to for more details.

In Victoria, the city has put together Victoria’s Canada Day, a one-hour virtual celebration.

Musical performances will be interspersed with crowd-sourced content throughout the show.

The show will have members of Pacific Opera Victoria performing Pop Up Opera, featuring a soloist or duet accompanied by recorded tracks created by pianist Robert Holliston.

Fireworks — with video from a past Symphony Splash — close off the evening.

The one-hour broadcast will be available starting at 7 p.m. on, the City of Victoria’s YouTube channel and CHEK TV.

The pandemic has meant the cancellation of the Gorge Canada Day picnic, but residents are being encouraged to celebrate in their own way. Some suggestions: Decorate your deck or patio, chalk your front walk, host a backyard barbecue, go for a hike or picnic, or join in for a region-wide O Canada sing-along at 7 p.m.

Nanaimo residents are also being encouraged to make their own Canada Day fun. Ambassadors will be on site at four parks demonstrating random acts of kindness and handing out Canada Day-themed items.

The ambassadors will be travelling throughout Bowen, Maffeo Sutton, Westwood Lake and Neck Point Park.

In Sidney, the Mary Winspear Centre is hosting an online event with local performers, a flag ceremony, messages from the community and a look back at past Sidney Canada Days.

The event starts streaming at 3 p.m. at facebook/marywinspearcentre.

For those with an artistic streak — or those who wish they had one — the Bateman Foundation is giving away free sketchbooks as it launches a new project, Bateman’s Sketch Across Canada, at the Bateman Gallery of Nature.

The national campaign encourages people to take the time to stop, look and sketch nature. The foundation’s core belief is that sketching nature promotes knowledge, understanding and connection to our environment. Sketching can also be a useful tool for managing anxiety and depression, it says.

The foundation will distribute 33,000 sketchbooks for free to community centres across Canada.

People can collect their free sketchbook from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Wednesday at the Bateman Gallery of Nature, 470 Belleville St.

> What are your Canada Day plans? Send a photo of how you're celebrating along with a short description to Be sure to put Canada Day in the subject line, and include your first and last name and the community where you live. We'll share some of our favourites in the paper and online.

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