Victoria cancels Inner Harbour Canada Day festivities

You can forget heading down to the lawn of the B.C. legislature for a big Canada Day celebration this year.

With provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry ruling out large gatherings, Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps confirmed Tuesday that the usual July 1 festivities will not go ahead as planned.

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Instead, she said, the city is looking for other ways to mark the country’s birthday. “It’s more important now than ever, as we are coming together daily as a community and a country to support each other, that we take the time to reflect on and celebrate what it means to be Canadians,” she said.

Helps said she has written federal Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault asking about a “virtual national celebration” and how B.C.’s capital city could assist with such an event.

More broadly, Helps said, she’s asked staff to investigate how the city might be able to help people come together in other ways this summer.

“One of the things that makes Victoria Victoria, essentially, in the summertime are the community events and the festivals that we have,” she said. “We’re going to be looking at ways to continue to celebrate in smaller gatherings, to continue to support people maybe in block party formats or other things.”

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