Celebrating Canada Day During a Pandemic

As we know 2020 has been a unique year and we had to adapt to navigate through the challenges of planning Canada Day during a global pandemic. Smithers usually celebrates Canada Day on July 1st by crowding the downtown core, we knew our plans would have to look a lot different for Canada Day 2020 to align with guidelines and precautionary measures put out by the Province of British Columbia. Due to COVID-19 the Town of Smithers had to make a decision between two options; to postpone the event date of celebrating Canada Day, or to get creative and modify the event to organize a virtual celebration for the Bulkley Valley. The Town of Smithers decided to adapt to a “new normal” and the Recreation Coordinator and the Smithers District Chamber of Commerce Manager collectively worked together to expedite a virtual plan. On July 1, 2020, the valley was able to enjoy a virtual concert with three fantastic headliners and take part in virtual contests with prizes provided by Smithers Local Businesses.

The Sunday prior to Canada Day, June 28, 2020 we had secured a private venue to pre-record the 2020 Canada Day concert for the Bulkley Valley. As organizers of the event we ensured there was a COVID-19 Safety Protocol Plan for all attendees at the event. The plan included physical distancing, providing a sanitization station, as well as personal protective equipment for each of the performers, technical crew and dignitaries. It was mandatory to have this location kept private so we could ensure there were fewer than 50 people attend to align with the public heath officer’s prohibition on mass gatherings. We had secured a fantastic lineup of headliners; Ewh Hiyah Hozdli Drum Group, Mark Perry and Alex Cuba. We had speeches from the Matriach Chief, the Deputy Mayor, the Skeena-Bulkley Valley Member of Parliament and the Regional District of Bulkley Nechako Rural District Area A Director.

We celebrated Canada in a whole new way, virtually, to bring the Bulkley Valley together with festivities, musical performers and acknowledgement speeches to promote our rich linguistic and cultural diversity, as well as our country's arts and heritage sectors. We are thankful for the talented local headliners we were able to secure, as well as all of our sponsors, helpers and dignitaries for making this virtual experience such a success. The grant we received on behalf of the Minister of Canadian Heritage helped immensely in carrying out the Bulkley Valley's virtual Celebrate Canada activities. The contribution provided to the Valley during these unique times was a true testament of what it means to be Canadian!

Click here to see more exciting coverage of the 2020 Canada Day Virtual Celebration.